Has Mesut Ozil got his magic back?


View gallery

After Mesut Ozil scored a goal and claimed an assist in Arsenal's 3-0 win over Newcastle, Squawka ponder what it means for the playmaker.

- - -

Arsenal recorded a comfortable 3-0 victory over Newcastle United at the Emirates stadium on Monday night, with this season's scapegoat, Mesut Ozil, producing one of his most impressive performances of the campaign.

The Germany international arrived in North London amid an unprecedented level of fanfare last September given his status as one of Europe's most coveted players and a reputation as an assist-generating machine, but he has largely failed to deliver during his debut season in England's top tier.

However, despite his perceived poor form, The Gunners have now all but assured a place in next season's Champions League as they have opened up a four-point gap ahead of rivals Everton with just two games remaining and need just one more win to make fourth place mathematically safe.

So much was expected of Ozil when he arrived from Real Madrid last summer and he has at least now given fans hope that he will flourish in his second full season at the club with a good performance against the Magpies.

The 25-year-old scored his fifth goal of the season last night, although it was a hugely fortuitous effort and little more than a tap in. Striker Olivier Giroud, another Gunner who is desperate for confidence, scuppered two glorious chances when he could have squared to his team-mate, only for the rebound to deflect into Ozil's path, leaving the midfielder with a simple finish.

But Arsene Wenger did not opt to make Ozil the club's record signing of £42.4 million for his goalscoring threat - rather his creativity. Although Ozil has missed 12 games he has still created 69 chances - more than any other Arsenal player - and carved out another six last night.

View gallery


His assist for Giroud's strike and the team's third goal was from a pinpoint cross from the left flank and his delivery was dangerous all night, including from corners, although he shared set piece responsibilities with Santi Cazorla.

His passing was outstanding overall, with 94% accuracy and just three failed attempts during his 73 minutes on the pitch.

In truth the Magpies were kept at arm's length throughout the game and never suggested that they could knock Arsenal out of their crisp, incisive, passing stride.

View gallery


Wenger's men have missed a driving figure throughout the second half of the season with Aaron Ramsey sidelined with injury and it is no coincidence that the Welshman's return has coincided with a return to form for the whole team.

Ozil definitely benefits from Ramsey's presence as it is the Caerphilly-born midfielder who dictates the side's play and rhythm. Ozil has been expected to fulfil such a role but does not possess the power or personality to be a team's talisman.

However, he completed four take-ons against the Tynesiders, the most in the side, with Cazorla the only other outfield player that managed to complete a take-on in the game. Arsenal had so much time and space they could often opt to pass around their opponents rather than take them on, but Ozil's performance shows that he is far from unwilling to attack his opposite man.

View gallery


One memorable piece of skill came in the first half, highlighting Ozil has not lost any of his undeniable skill throughout a difficult season in which he has been seriously questioned for the first time in his career. A poor first touch took him wide and towards the byline but a neat step-over enticed Yoan Gouffran into going to ground and Ozil was able to side-step his man and pass the ball calmly back to Bacary Sagna.

It is difficult to judge Ozil's impact against such a poor side - Alan Pardew's men are truly shocking at present and rarely looked like scoring let alone committing men forward. Although Ozil delivered last night, once again it was Aaron Ramsey that brought presence to the side.

The marquee signing of Ozil cast him as a talisman and he has not coped thus far as the biggest star in the team, but his class cannot be questioned. Granted the win was vital in the team's quest for a top-four finish, but it is on the big occasion that Ozil has failed to deliver and he will need to step up to the plate from the word go next season.

View comments (31)
Write for Yahoo Sport
  • Bell steers England to victory, hosts take 2-1 Ashes lead

    Bell steers England to victory, hosts take 2-1 Ashes lead

    Ian Bell guided England to an eight-wicket victory over Australia in the third test at Edgbaston on Friday to put the hosts 2-1 up in the series with two matches to play. Bell (65 not out) and Joe Root, with an unbeaten 38, anchored the chase after England were set to 121 to win on the third day at Edgbaston where a dominant performance banished memories of a heavy defeat at Lord's. England lost Alastair Cook (7) and Adam Lyth (12) to set a few nerves on edge but Bell, dropped on 20 by Australia captain Michael Clarke, made his second 50 of the match to spark raucous celebrations after Root hit the winning runs. More »

    Reuters - 5 hours ago
  • Lambert leaves Liverpool to join West Brom

    Lambert leaves Liverpool to join West Brom

    Liverpool offload Rickie Lambert after just one unproductive season at Anfield More »

    Reuters - 3 hours ago
  • Serie A - Confusion as Stevan Jovetic joins Inter

    Serie A - Confusion as Stevan Jovetic joins Inter

    Inter Milan have signed Stevan Jovetic from Manchester City, although there were conflicting reports as to whether it was a loan or permanent switch. More »

    Eurosport - 5 hours ago
  • Can we ever trust Fifa again? Football writer Jonathan Wilson and Copa90's Eli Mengem investigate

    Can we ever trust Fifa again? Football writer Jonathan Wilson and Copa90's Eli Mengem investigate

    Can we ever trust Fifa again? Who replaces Sepp Blatter? These key questions and more are answered on this week's episode of The Rail, as Spencer is joined by football writer Jonathan Wilson and Copa90's Eli Mengem. More »

    Copa90 - 5 hours ago
  • No snow no problem as China's financial might lands 2022 Games

    No snow no problem as China's financial might lands 2022 Games

    The snow will be fake, but the very real financial muscle China boasts proved decisive on Friday when Beijing won the right to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. Games officials meeting in Kuala Lumpur voted for the Chinese capital over the lure of a winter wonderland offering from Kazakhstan's Almaty, in a clear sign that the International Olympic Committee is craving solidity and security after a series of problems and headaches. While Rio scrambles to make up lost time in its building for the 2016 Olympics, and Tokyo is embroiled in a stadium drama the allure of a megacity with a cast-iron financial guarantee proved irresistible. More »

    Reuters - 6 hours ago