With all the injuries. The hiccups of the Premier League (including the Boxing Day hammering at the hands of Southampton). Mesut Ozil has been a constant. A constant level of just sublime assistery to almost any Arsenal player in the final third of the field.
Three weeks ago, jokes were abound as Twitter responded to David Moyes claim that ‘the jury was still out’ over the signing of Mesut Ozil. I personally have a lot of time for David Moyes but this really was an incredibly misguided soundbite from the Scotsman. Ozil may have taken a little time to settle in the Premier League but this season he could be what Robin Van Persie was to Manchester United when they last one the title, or Hazard last year to Chelsea. He could be the difference between the Champions and the rest.
Against Bournemouth Ozil was again in superfluous form. One goal and one assist made it 16 goals or assists in 12 games for the German. The level of vision and passing accuracy was immense. Whilst his critics claim that the enigmatic German is lazy, such a claim is just unfounded as Ozil ran (or more accurately glided) over 11.5km during the course of the game. He might not embody the visible work ethic of Alexis Sanchez but the Arsenal fans know that instead of frenetic energy, the calmness and grace Ozil has on the field is one of their greatest weapons. So could Ozil be a one man title winning machine for Arsene Wenger?
Essentially no but his importance to the task at hand should not be underestimated. Arsenal do to some extent have depth to their squad, as proved by their ability to cope without Alexis Sanchez, their stand out performer of last season. The combination of Joel Campbell, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlin constantly provided the threat of pace that can so easily terrify any full back. The return of Aaron Ramsey recently as certainly led to a balance in the midfield that has continued to allow Ozil to flourish and Giroud’s ability to bring players into the game leads to Arsenal having a really potent attacking threat. The signing of Cech is clearly reaping rewards, and whilst there continue to be moments of rash defending, Cech’s assurance as a world class goal keeper has certainly helped Arsenal in the big games. But could anyone replace Mesut? Wenger seems to think not.
After the Bournemouth game, Wenger said to the press that Ozil is now comparable to Dennis Bergkamp in regards to his creative importance to this Arsenal team. Such hyperbole from Wenger is unusual but the Frenchman knows that with Ozil on this form, coupled with the difficulties at United and Chelsea, the title is more than likely to be decided between themselves and Manchester City. With that in mind, Mesut Ozil could be in the process of doing something the likes of Fabregas never could do, and that is bring the title back to North London.