Tuesday 22 August 2017

Mesut Ozil focus

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil disappointed against Crystal Palace
Arsenal's Mesut Ozil disappointed against Crystal Palace

Much of the frustration for what has so far been a disappointing season for Arsenal has been directed at Mesut Ozil, their club-record £42.5million signing.

Manager Arsene Wenger retains faith in him and repeatedly makes him the focal point of his team, even if many believe the German has not justified his loyalty.

Here, Press Association Sport analyses his performance in Monday's 3-0 defeat at Crystal Palace.

ROLE

Ozil often strayed into deeper and wider territory, perhaps in an attempt to avoid the threat to his space posed by Palace's defensive midfielder Luka Milivojevic. Alongside Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny in central midfield, he was required to take responsibility for dictating Arsenal's tempo, but they were both sluggish and uninspired with him rarely appearing capable of lifting those around him. Palace's midfield too often looked comfortable, which contributed much to their overall control.

CREATIVITY

For such a talented player, blessed with great vision, perhaps the way in which Ozil is most often disappointing is often with how little he creates. At his best, he is a fine ball player, who if not delivering the final pass can consistently stretch fine defences. Even if Palace's organisation has improved under Sam Allardyce, it does not explain the way Ozil too often conceded possession with stray passes under minimal pressure and despite having space. He did so, rather embarrassingly, while both defending and attempting to attack.

OVERALL INFLUENCE

Poor, and it would be difficult to conclude otherwise. The German once tested Wayne Hennessey with a well-struck shot mid-way through the first half, and played a dangerous cross Mamadou Sakho succeeded in clearing, but beyond that offered little beyond some accurate deliveries from corners on an evening when Arsenal almost never appeared likely to score. Aaron Ramsey or Jack Wilshere, the latter presently on loan at Bournemouth, would have been upgrades on Ozil's performance at Selhurst Park.

Press Association

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