John Giles: If Mesut Özil is Footballer of the Year, I’m a Dutchman
Published 14/01/2016 | 20:21
Arsenal star Mesut Özil went “missing” when he was most needed during the 3-3 draw with Liverpool according to John Giles, who questioned the widespread praise the German international is receiving this season.
Arsene Wenger’s side looked set for victory at Anfield last night until Joe Allen scored the sixth goal in a thrilling encounter to ensure a share of the spoils.
Özil has been in impressive form for the Gunners this season, with 16 assists and counting as the Londoners look to mount a serious title assault.
One point could easily have been three for the visitors, but Jurgen Klopp’s side dominated the final 15 minutes at Anfield with Allen claiming the final act in a dramatic encounter.
Giles believes the inability to retain possession was ultimately the Gunners’ downfall.
“It was the last 15 minutes that they collapsed,” he told Newstalk’s Off The Ball.
“That was down to dropping back and Liverpool being Liverpool and having a go at them. They need somebody, particularly in midfield, to get hold of the ball. The best you can defend is having the ball.
“The player that let them down most was the player that is getting a lot of publicity and going for Player of the Year, [Mesut] Özil.
“He was the one that had the talent to get hold of the ball and do what was needed to be done to take the pressure off Arsenal.
The 27-year-old was replaced by Mike Arteta with three minutes remaining and the RTE pundit and Herald columnist says the talented play-maker was marked absent when he was most needed.
“Özil was taken off," he added.
“If he’s Footballer of the Year this year, then I’m a Dutchman.
“When they actually needed Özil, which they really needed him at the particular time [last 15 minutes] he wasn’t there. None of the midfield players they had could do what needed to be done. Özil had the ability, but went missing.
“He was taken off when he should have been the most influential player.”