By Noah Davies @http://blue-note.co
Mesut Ozil’s mega-money move to the Premier League in 2013 was greeted with considerable delight from Arsenal fans who felt the creative German midfielder was the calibre of player that the club should be signing to end their long wait for a league title. Although the 27-year-old showed early glimpses of true quality in his first six months at the Emirates Stadium, Ozil has ultimately failed to hit the heavy heights that fans and pundits alike expect of a player with immense talent and creative ability.
This has not been for the want of trying or effort on his part, but when Arsene Wenger paid £42.5 million to bring Ozil from Real Madrid where he was the leading assist maker in three consecutive years at the Santiago Bernabau, more was expected from the Gelsenkirchen-born midfielder. However, the German international has came into his own this season with a number of superb performances that have not only set the stage alight, but also seen Arsenal installed as favourites across bookmakers highlighted on Bookies.com to end their twelve-year wait for a Premier League title.
The pressure to perform is nothing new to Ozil as he has developed into an integral player for club and country, but the former may need him to remain at the top of his game due to the growing injury problems at Arsenal. With Alexis Sanchez, Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin all sidelined, and Theo Walcott only just returning from another injury lay-off, it may come down to Ozil to continue being the focal point for his team and putting his superb vision and range of passing to effective use. It could be argued that Ozil should contribute more in the goals column given how sharp his creative instincts are and willingness to support every attack, but keeping him fit and injury-free will undoubtedly be the most important thing for Wenger and Arsenal.
His form could be decisive for those considering backing Arsenal as dark horses with Coral to win the Champions League, but punters could also double it by making the most of their favourites tag to lift the Premier League trophy aloft in May. The Gunners certainly have the quality to stand a good chance of success in both competitions, but although fans may believe that they must strengthen the squad during the January transfer window in order to achieve their goals, having Ozil play with the swagger and confidence that he is currently exuding is great to see.
Although Ozil may still have some way to go before silencing all of his critics, this season’s statistics prove that the German international has truly hit top form. He has recorded twelve assists in just fifteen Premier League games – four more than any other player across the top five European leagues, with Ozil also creating the most chances for his team-mates as his passing game has really came to the fore. A sublime pass which took out five defenders in the build-up to Arsenal’s first goal against Olympiakos in their crunch Champions League tie epitomises the quality that Ozil has produced, as records have continued to tumble this season. Not only has he broke Cesc Fabregas’ consecutive assists record by setting up at least one goal in seven straight games, but Ozil also currently tops the chart as the player who has set up goals most often in Premier League history with an assist every 2.71 games. Both go a long way towards dispelling theories that Ozil does not work hard enough or deliver when it matters most, and if he continues to put in high quality performances, then he would be a leading candidate in the Football Betting stakes to be awarded 2015/2016 Player of the Year.