The German disappointed again, right when the Gunners need him most, but who’s at fault..?
Arsenal have been knocked out at this stage of the Champions League for the past four seasons, but there was great optimism that this same fate could be avoided when they were drawn to AS Monaco in the last 16. Yet, once more, the Gunners’ stars failed to perform – and none more so than Mesut Ozil.
Having missed three months because of knee ligament damage, a dip in form could be understood, but the Arsenal faithful are still waiting for magic from their £42.5m signing.
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Ozil has showed ever so slight moments of brilliance since his arrival, with his highlight of this season coming from the magnificent touch to set up striker Olivier Giroud to score against Aston Villa.
But this is not enough – take his substitution in the FA Cup final last May – albeit the Gunners came up trumps – however this was his signature game for Arsenal and his performance was below-par.
Not to mention the huge last 16 Champions League clash with Bayern Munich last season, which saw the former Real Madrid star miss a penalty, and take weeks to recover from.
On Wednesday night against Monaco, his passing was amateur, his body language was offensive, and when growing frustrated, he disappeared into the shadows.
Nonetheless, this is a player who won the 2014 World Cup and finished top scorer in the competition for his country. There is of course undeniable talent and ability within the midfielder, which begs the question: are Arsenal at fault?
When his departure from Real Madrid was announced in September 2013, none other than the World Player of the Year, Cristiano Ronaldo, declared his anger that the Spanish giants had allowed the attacker to leave, saying: “The sale of Ozil is very bad news for me.
“He was the player who best knew my moves in front of goal… I’m angry about Ozil leaving.”
The German left Real with the record of the highest number of assists in Europe since joining in 2010, which makes his performances for the Premier League giants all the more worrying.
Perhaps Ozil joins the list of players damaged by a sizeable transfer fee. But only the player himself can answer such a question.
It must, however, be admitted that his showings in an Arsenal shirt have just not been good enough. He is simply playing on reputation, and there would certainly be no noses turned if Wenger avoids naming the 27-year-old in the starting XI for the second-leg at the Stade Louis II.