Arsenal’s record signing Mesut Ozil had a mixed first season at Arsenal. When he was on fire, he earned praises from fans but when his form dipped a little, fans and some media pundits like Michael Owen turned on him. All through the trying period, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger stood resolutely behind him, declaring that he would come good by next season. Now, he has been backed in his claim by his German teammate Philip Lahm though the Bayern ace saw things from a different angle.
The Bayern Munich versatile defender provided the perfect recipe that will bring the best out of him, Arsenal need to provide him with a pacy striker to play with. I can’t but agree with Lahm. Ozil is a very intelligent player that exploits the pace before him to wreck havoc on defences. At Real Madrid, he had the likes of Ronaldo, Di Maria and Benzema before him but that was a sharp contrast to what he had to play with at Arsenal. The only pacy attacker Arsenal had last season was English speedstar Theo Walcott and the Gunners had to do without his services for the bulk of last season no thanks to little niggles and the big injury he suffered in January that ruled him out of the remainder of the season and the World Cup. Both Giroud and Sanogo might be physically strong and aerially dominant but offered nothing in terms of pace and that affected Ozil’s performance. Whenever the German spotted a space to exploit, there was no striker with enough pace to run behind the defence and stroke home the chance.
Now that the season is over, Wenger is in the market for a new striker and one key ingredient that Wenger is keen for his a striker with his pace and the strikers that he is targeting are strikers with pace; Benzema, Costa and Balotelli. That is key to getting the best out of Ozil.
Besides landing a pacy striker, Wenger should also make signing a defensive midfielder a priority. It is fact that Ozil plays better with a defensive midfield lynchpin behind him. Arsenal have been linked with a move for Southampton’s Morgan Schnerderlin, Javi Martinez and Leverkusen’s Lars Bender. Should he land either of them, Ozil would have enough protection behind him when it comes to winning back possession and he won’t have to bother himself with marking. He would only have to concern himself with spotting holes in defence to exploit.
Lahm cannot be wrong, he knows Ozil more than most people after playing with him for many years at the German national team. It is not a surprise that Ozil is always in fantastic form for the German Machines because they are not in dearth of sturdy defensive midfielder and pacy strikers. Wenger should get the right players for him to play with and then, only then shall we see the best of Ozil.