Ozil must up his game

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iol spt mar12 Mesut1

Reuters

After a bright start to life at Arsenal, Mesut Ozil has fallen way off the pace recently, looking alarmingly disinterested. Photo by: Kai Pfaffenbach

At £42.5million, Mesut Ozil is the most expensive export in the history of German football. Last night you wouldn’t have paid two bob for him.

There should have been something special about returning to the country where it all started for the Arsenal midfielder.

But behind those eyes something is going on with Ozil because he is not right.

In a 45-minute spell that passed him by before he was substituted with a leg injury at half-time, he had just 21 touches of the ball.

To put that into perspective Thiago Alcantara, in the heart of Bayern’s midfield, had 66. Want more? Bastian Schweinsteiger 47, Arjen Robben 33, Franck Ribery 33.

Ozil, the highest-paid player at Arsenal, is nicking a living.

In the Allianz Arena, against the world’s best club side, he had a face on him like a slapped backside. He was lucky to get to half-time.

We have been here before with Ozil, notably at Manchester City when Arsenal lost 6-3, and again in the 5-0 defeat at Liverpool.

So what if he scored the first of four goals in an FA Cup quarter-final at home to Everton last Saturday? That’s a sticking plaster. There is a wider issue here and it is down to Arsene Wenger to find out what is wrong with one of the most talented players in the game.

The exuberance has deserted him just when his team-mates are looking to the former Real Madrid ace for inspiration.

His time at the Bernabeu has gone and he must look wistfully at the team who beat Schalke 6-1 in this competition recently.

The days when he drifted in and out of games with Real are behind him. Now he just looks like a lost soul, lazy and uninterested.

A week ago, in the Stuttgart Stadion, Germany fans were on his back in their victory over Chile.

He had set up the only goal for Mario Gotze but it still wasn’t enough.

Three weeks ago in London, it was all too much for him after he had missed the chance to put Arsenal ahead from the spot.

His great friend Manuel Neuer saved the penalty and Ozil’s game fell apart. This was another limp contribution, a player going through the motions as Arsenal inevitably went out of the Champions League in the first knockout round.

The match passed him by.

Stationed on the right, where he often plays for the national team, his first meaningful contribution was a corner in the 31st minute. It was met by the head of Olivier Giroud. Neuer did well to save it.

After this, it is down to Wenger to rescue him. – Daily Mail


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