For a seminar task we were asked to produce a 600 word opinion piece on a controversial topic of our choice. This is what I produced.
Arsene Wenger claimed in 2013, “If you don’t enjoy watching Mesut Ӧzil, you don’t love football.”
The German midfielder, now 28 years of age, has flourished over the last two seasons at Arsenal, finishing the 2015/16 season as the Premier League’s top assist maker.
And with three goals already in the league this season, has Ӧzil finally become the world’s most complete playmaker?
Sky Sport’s Charlie Nicholas described Ӧzil’s most recent Champions League performance as “different class” following his piece of individual brilliance which completed the Gunners’ comeback away to Ludogorets.
“He comes from another planet that no other Arsenal player has found yet”, continued Nicholas, who’s opinion does come with a degree of credibility.
According to Squawka’s performance ratings, Mesut Ӧzil was Arsenal’s highest performing player of the 2015-16 season with a score of 1,304; over 230 points above fellow attack minded teammate Alexis Sanchez.
In fact, Squawka’s performance score statistics for the German make him the highest scoring Premier League player across all 20 teams for the season just gone; 370 points above the PFA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez
Ӧzil finished 2015-16 in record breaking fashion no less creating 144 chances, the most in Premier League history and more than Steven Gerrard and Ryan Giggs ever made in a single season.
The most recent Premier League campaign saw the German make 19 assists, one off another Premier League record but still enough to make him Europe’s top assist maker.
But despite the stats, Ӧzil failed to be appropriately recognised at the end of last season.
Although being rightfully nominated for PFA Player of the Year, the playmaker failed to make the PFA team of the Season; Dimitri Payet, Dele Alli, N’Golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez made the midfield ahead of him.
The recent Balon D’or nominations also saw Mesut Ӧzil miss out on a recognition; fellow playmakers Kevin de Bruyne of Manchester City, Athletic Madrid’s Koke and, once again, Payet and Mahrez being nominated ahead of him.
There are many perceived aspects of Ӧzil’s game which leave him open to such negligence from the award givers.
Firstly the German’s laid back playing style provokes accusations of him being lazy and more of an individual rather than a team player.
In fact, only Aaron Ramsey covered more distance for Arsenal last season, with Ӧzil also covering more distance than Alexis Sanchez; a player at the Gunners who is widely recognised for his energy.
Another Mesut myth is that the midfielder goes missing in games against the big teams.
But the stats show that the German provided more goals and assist against the Premier League’s top five last season than any other Premier League player, making the ‘Missing Mesut’ case a very difficult one to back.
His contribution to two goals against Manchester City was accompanied by four against Manchester United, one against Tottenham Hotspur and two against Champions Leicester City.
On the biggest stage of all during the 2016 World Cup the German provided a vital assist against Ukraine during the opening group game, alongside another big game contribution with a goal against Italy at the quarter-final stage.
Overall stats are crucially important in football and show the true quality of a footballer that may not be obvious to the naked eye.
The sheer quality of Mesut Ӧzil is one which cannot always be recognised by those who simply want a screamer from the edge of the penalty area or an overhead kick in the last minute.
The German’s ability to change the way a game pans out, switching from defence to attack in one pass, is what sets him apart from the rest of the pack.
And with the current season seeing him adding goals to his game, the evidence is there to prove he is an example to the play makers of the world.