Monday, October 3, 2022

Wenger on the gap in Ozil’s game

Arsene Wenger maintains that Mesut Ozil can influence even more matches by improving the standard of his finishing.

Last weekend’s win over West Bromwich Albion saw the Germany international make his 100th league appearance for the Gunners and notch his 36th assist – a record that has only been bettered by Eric Cantona (39).

However, it’s in front of goal that the boss expects his record signing to take his game to the next level. The 28-year-old midfielder has already shown a marked improvement in the final third this term scoring nine goals in 23 appearances – topping his previous highest Arsenal tally (8) for an entire season.

“He is, of course, a huge player,” Wenger told the media ahead of Crystal Palace’s visit on New Year’s Day.

“I always defended him in press conferences. He has improved his commitment. Physically, he works much harder than people think he does.

“Personally, I believe he creates more chances for himself than ever before because he runs more behind. I still think there is a gap between his potential finishing and the way he finishes.

“In training, he finishes much better than in the games. I’m convinced that his potential in finishing will go up in the coming months and he can have a huge contribution to the team not just through his passing but also his finishing.

He added: “He works hard but I think he had one or two games this season where he was frustrated. The one that comes to my mind is the Man City game where he was criticised after. Overall, if you a look at his contribution this season, for me, he has been absolutely fantastic.”


Related articles



newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Ozil at 2010 world cup really mesmerised me….I had yet to see that Ozil since then.


I think he is better now than he has ever been, although still a bit inconsistent. Scored some outrageous goals this season. Just needs to do it a bit more often.


TV broken is it?


Guys don’t let Ozil become our Wayne Rooney! The guy is class, hands down the best number 10 in the world right now. He really is one of a kind. Enjoy him and don’t let him be our scapegoat.

Bould's Eyeliner

That’s because the current Ozil is better. And if you don’t think so, you only have to look at the responsibility he’s given. In 2010 Germany, he had the world’s best and experienced feeding him and supporting him, letting him go rampant. In 2016, Ozil is masterclassing and dictating 21 other men on the pitch, shifting the dynamic of the game to wherever he goes.

You tell me which one is the better measure of a player.

Bounds Green Gooner

This will be popular but here goes. Ozil is a luxury player. Keep Sanchez at all costs and bring Jack back to play at 10.

Kevin Beckford

Disagree. Sanchez wants to leave, he does not like England, and he ( correctly ) feels he should be making 250k/wk. Swap him for Icardi, who is a true, 3 dimensional striker.


Sanchez has said he’s very happy in London. And what even is a 3 dimensional striker!? A guy that can shoot, head and take on a man? Err have you watched Sanchez?! Jeez. His contract is up in 18 months, he’s in the form of his life, he’s one of the main men at Arsenal, so why wouldn’t he want to get paid? The club buys these players for tens of millions but make double that if not more over the course of the contract. It’s no coincidence Arsenal’s worth hit the £2 billion mark after we signed Özil, Sanchez… Read more »


Perhaps he can levitate over the pitch

Godfrey Twatschloch

Everything just looks so much better in 3D. Gotta have it!


Also with 3D printers we can just print ourselves another striker.

Bould's Eyeliner

No no… he’s onto something here. Giroud can only jump or fall, so he only exists in 2D. It explains also why every shirt tug that pulls him forward disrupts his play. Alexis can only exist in 4D with his insane time-warp capabilities in direction change. Truly, we need an xyz-no-name with average capabilities all-around to fulfill the most precise definition of a three-dimensional striker.

Lord Bendnter

I would never swap Sanchez for Icardi. Our entire attack revolves around Sanchez at times. He is a must keep player. That is why I think we could just give him those wages.


I agree he should be kept but not by all cost.


This made my top 10 bullshit comments on arseblo g


Ok, what has Jack done to deserve this statement and Özil’s place? I’ve been following Arsenal for 4 seasons and i wish to know because these words are a mystery for me.

James's giant peaches

4 years? Ok then, jack had one good game against Barca when he was 18. Therefore at some stage he will be amazing because it’s not like anyone has every had an amazing game without actually being amazing. I mean even Emile Healey had a couple of games where he was unstoppable.


Comments like yours don’t deserve to be dignified with a measured response, but here goes: Jack had more than one good game; he was excellent throughout that whole season. And he’s looked good at times for us since (e.g. our draw against Man City at the Emirates in the fall of 2014, when he scored a great goal (the game Debuchy got injured in)), as well as being England’s best player throughout Euro 2016 qualifying. So the boy has lots of quality, just needs to steer clear of injuries and find his best position in a team that values his… Read more »


This guy’s opinion about selling Ozil is of course completely wrong, but if you’ve only been following Arsenal for four years then naturally you’ve never seen Wilshere at his best. For the record, I’m pro Mesut and pro Jack.


Jack is not the issue right now and both players can’t be compared.

Bould's Eyeliner

This in a nutshell. Wilshere will play a role in this squad by completing the box-to-box role–its the only place where his talents will fit alongside ozil and a dm/deep-playmaker.

Same deal with Ramsey..

An interesting problem, but I would hazard a guess that Wilshire knew this hence his push for a loan.

The Golden Wrigglesworth

Wilshere this season (Bournemouth only): PL: 12 starts (+ 2 subs), 0 goals, 1 assist, 1.4 Key Passes p/game. Ozil this season: PL: 16 starts (+ 1 sub), 5 goals, 3 assists, 2.6 Key Passes p/game. CL: 6 starts, 4 goals, 3 assists, 2.2 Key Passes p/game. Such luxury. Based on these stats, we should (i) immediately release Ozil on a free transfer, (ii) recall Wilshere from loan (ignoring PL loan rules and prior agreements with Bournemouth, resorting to kidnapping if required), and most importantly (iii) employ Bounds Green Gooner to handle all future transfer and contract negotiations. Clearly the… Read more »


Fair point, but it doesn’t reflect poorly on Jack, who’s contributing to Bournemouth’s attack without assists and goals. He’s much more of a Santi than an Ozil.

The Golden Wrigglesworth

Agreed. Actually, like yourself, I’m pro-Ozil and pro-Wilshere. Think Tim Stillman and others are right to suggest that, had he stayed, Jack would probably have had a valuable role to play in a deeper position in Santi’s absence. However, given that he has been operating primarily as a no. 10 for Bournemouth, I do think the stats comparison is telling (that said, Wilshere is leading AFCB’s Key Passes and Dribbles p/game stats, so is clearly adding something to the team, as you say – will be interesting to see if Howe gives him some more opportunities deeper in midfield).


Agreed, though I think his nominal position is less important than his style of play and what he brings to the team’s performance: as your stats suggest, Jack is bringing good passing, and, even moreso, excellent dribbling, helping their team transition from deep midfield to high midfield (as Wenger would say)by carrying the ball past their opponents’ first line of defense. In this way he’s like Santi, but an even better comparison is Rosicky (still my favorite Arsenal player of the last ten years), who didn’t really rack up the goals or assists but was incredibly valuable to the fluidity… Read more »


Such a pleasure to hear a measured opinion backed up with data


Bring back Jack to play at No 10? Why? Is Özils assist record or goal tally worse than Jacks? Or is it purely because Jack displays more fight? Don’t understand people calling Özil a “luxury” player, I mean what does that even mean!? Everyone gets so creative when it comes to criticising Arsenal. Lest you forget, Özil has been a regular starter at Real Madrid and for Germany. Arguably the two best footballing teams the past 5-10 years. But now, because he’s at Arsenal, in his prime I might add, he’s suddenly over rated and shit? Unbelievable. The days of… Read more »

David C

Wilshere has 1 assist this season starting every game for Bournmouth, he’s hardly found his old form…


Assists and goals don’t tell the whole story. See my comments above.

The Only Olivier is Giroud

Times like these where one can take stock of the nuance, the finer points in discussion, the more subtle aspects of debates and absolutely BIN IT and just fucking agree that thank christ guys like Bounds Green Gooner aren’t in charge of running things.

Make mine a Swiss miss

hahaha, you answered that much more amusingly than me!
Harsh but so deserved.

Make mine a Swiss miss

well the reason it might not be popular is it’s completely wrong.


Wenger took Ozil and Sanchez to another level. That’s why he is special.

Bounds Green Gooner

Yes it was popular but completely wrong? So you do not agree that we should keep Sanchez at all costs? No need for sweary responses thanks. My first match was in 1977 so I have seen a few players in my time. You?


1977? And so what? Does this make you a better connaisseur in football? I met a singer who had been singing in a choir for 20 years without learning how to breathe. Was he better than me after my three years of practice but with a good technique?


Not sure really. Maybe you can attach some audio or video clips so we can decide

Sideshow Mo

How about some stats? 😉


Its amazing that he was able to sing at all without breathing.


I agree that we have to keep Sanchez at all cost. But Sanchez and Özil are a good team, and preferring Jack to Özil is like wanting to drive a Ford instead of a Porsche. Jack isnt skilled enough and mainly he is too injury prone.

Make mine a Swiss miss

I started going in the early seventies. The fact that we’ve been going a long time isn’t the point.
To me, yes you were completely wrong.

Costa Gooner

He started by saying this wilarlll be popular. WRONG

Bounds Green Gooner





These debates about Mesut are beyond ridiculous now. I keep on reading he doesn’t track back and so? Are Haazard, de Bruyne, Silva, Zlatan, Ericksen, Payet (who NEVER defends whether it is for West Ham or for France!)… tracking back more? No!
When Özil steals the ball to a City player, nobody mentions it… and btw, i can show you 5 minutes per game of Sanchez walking on a pitch and in the same game 5 minutes of Mesut running…

James's giant peaches

It’s not the tracking back for me. It’s the ducking out of every physical challenge. I don’t hazard, Dr bruyne and definitely not zlatan ducking every time there is a header to be challenged for. Watch him for the entire game next time. Ball goes up, if an opposition player goes for it, ozil ducks or doesn’t move the 2 yards to where the ball will land. Never seen anyone do that with such regularity as Ozil. I don’t have any other qualms about him. But he’s getting paid so much money to help the team win he should be… Read more »

Bobby P

You say ozil ducks out of every aerial challenge and I see a player with 2 headed goals this season. How many headed goals do debruyne, hazard, pogba etc have?

when the opposition have much more of the ball is it any wonder our playmaker doesn’t look good?


KdB, Silva and Ericksson definitely do more defensively than Ozil in general, though Ozil is apparently very good at winning the ball high up the pitch. He’s under more scrutiny here because of the Everton and City games where he was subpar by most standards. I do think that, if our defence are going to sit deep like they did against City whenever we’re under the cosh, Ozil has to drop into midfield proper and make it a 3 like those other no.10s do. We’re getting totally outnumbered in midfield while defending and it’s exasperated when teams press high against… Read more »


Sometimes i think people have short memories


Very shorf


Lets just get rid of all our best players and replace them with players who are not as good

Grampian Gooner

My issue with Ozil is he doesn’t take players on. Even without the thrust of Kante or the focal point of Costa, Hazard was gliding past players on Boxing Day


I’ll get thumbed down to fuck here because too many people can’t handle the truth, but all Ozil is, is a luxury player that given space can create chances galore against average teams. But 42 mill is silly money for that. His performances against the big teams, with a couple of exceptions in home games have been abysmal. Sure, the team as a whole tend to shit themselves when faced with a top six opponent, but players of that price tag should be rolling up their sleeves and dragging their team kicking and screaming into the big matches. Ozil is… Read more »


Wow, you’re such a brave truth teller. A hero, even. Other people can’t handle the truth, or would be afraid of getting thumbed down on an internet website for telling it like it is. But not you. What. A. Stud.


Are you alright mate?


Agree Ozil is a luxury player in the sense that, yes he’s best when we’re on top and have possession. And if we don’t have possession he can totally disappear. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t show for big games, he’s done very well in a lot of them. The issue is that when he’s played badly, most of the team have also played badly. I’d say that’s got more to do with our tactics/mentality in big games than any one individual performer


Truth is Wenger is soft and lacks the strategic capability to find the proper game plans to handle top teams and their elite level managers. We can’t handle physical teams that press high and pack the bus with five or six players in the box over 90 minutes. Great managers are able to consistently find ways to dig out wins or grind out draws in the big games not blame referees who sometimes get things badly wrong! Under different management these same boys would and should be winning silverware’s WENGER to blame not Giroux or Ozil after all he… Read more »


we MAY be winning silverware with different management. We may also end up signing Fellani. Have to be careful with these things


Ozil and Sanchez are arsenal most in-form players at the moment, Wenger do all you can to keep them. What is news about Mustafi?


Mustafi is back from injury as reported. May be too soon to start him right away.


Ozil is a fantastic player.The only flaws to his game is his physicality. He needs to toughen up. That is one of the atributes a player requires in EPL. Wenger should be helping him or affraid of letting him know that is the problem.


You can daydream all you want, and moan about Ozil’s shortcomings (name a player without any), but point to a demonstrably better, available, and affordable player. Same with Sanchez. Who’s out there who’s better, right now? Being potentially better does nothing for a title run. Either you replace two world-class players with better players, or you don’t replace them. And just how do you replace world class with better? Well, that’s just it, isn’t it? Ozil (and Sanchez) are not perfect. But the side clearly depends on them. Enjoy them in their prime, wearing Gunner’s kit.


Well honestly Dimitri Payet would not be a bad choice if Ozil had to be replaced. Defensively they are about the same but offensively Payet has much more in his arsenal. Two footed, can dribble pass players, run with the ball, dangerous from free kicks, can create his own goals, good crosser, more clinical and confident in front of goal and can also create for others. And does it on weaker teams (West Ham) and stronger teams (France). So if Ozil had to leave and we got Payet I for one would not be sad about it especially as he… Read more »


I think it’s clear now that Wenger doesn’t consider Ozil as a Midfielder anymore, but as a forward/support striker even.


And how have you reached that conclusion? A “support striker” is just an advanced midfielder, you know?

In any case, what Wenger has done is improve Ozil’s game from strictly a provider to a finisher because he has the qualities to finish.


A support strikers one triquesta (I can tell spell it) really isn’t a midfielder. This season Ozil hasn’t effectively been a CF behind striker/false 9 Sanchez. It hasn’t freed him up to get into the box more and score more, as hes now effectively forward. The downside is we now effectively play with a 2-man midfield, the very thing Wenger tried Ron move away from when he left the 4-4-2 formation. We basically play some kind of 4-4-2, with the downside being our midfield can now easily get overrun. Like with all players, Ozil brings his strengths and weaknesses. As… Read more »


Interesting to read some of the comments by Ray Palour on the issue of Ozil, after the City and the WBA games: “Ozil is a very influential player. I look at yesterday’s performance and it was something from Ozil or Sanchez that was going to change it,” Parlour said.“I didn’t really see a lot else that was going to change the game. I thought Ozil or Sanchez had to do something special to win the game and Ozil put in the cross.”“Obviously the talk is that in big games he goes missing. The problem is, you need possession of the… Read more »


The constant criticism of Ozil is a worry.

Then again, it (the majority of it at any rate) does have a wonderful way of revealing who actually knows a damned thing about football and who doesn’t.

He is a genius on the pitch. (Could be off it too, wouldn’t know).


I agree. Sometimes, when Ozil hits them, its almost like he doesn’t believe he can score them. He has to hit them with a bit more conviction and he will be assisting a lot more into the net. He’s a fantastic player to have. Last game, he increased his off ball out put and there is a mark difference when he does so both for the central midfield pairing (Coquelin and Granit are both a bit more shy going forward) and can be dissconnected from the front if Ozil doesn’t drop back sufficiently or press in concert with Giroud and… Read more »

Turi Gooner

The thing with Ozil is that since he doesn’t contribute much in a physical sense and is frankly fairly lazy when we don’t have the ball, he should make up for this by scoring more goals than he is, which I think is the point Wenger is trying to make.

Share article

Featured on NewsNow

Support Arseblog

Latest posts

Latest Arsecast

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x