Former Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann has come out with an open plea to Mesut Ozil ahead of the new Premier League season.
Ozil signed for the Gunners from Spanish giants Real Madrid in a deal worth more than £42 million in 2013. The deal was supposed to be the clincher in many ways for the club. After so many years of being priced out of players by competition, Arsene Wenger got this one right. The signing of Ozil was accompanied with so much of hope and expectation from the fans, the moment it was announced.
The German world cup star had a difficult start to his life in North London but soon overcame the cobwebs. Slowly, he became an integral part of the squad and was also revered by the fans. His fellow German and former national keeper Lehmann though, has a word of advice.
Lehmann thinks that if Ozil can perform more consistently than what he is doing, it would add a new dimension to his game. He believes that Ozil needs to produce in the ‘big games’ too if he wants to take the club to the next level.
He went on to add that Ozil can’t afford to be seen as a mediocre player in the big games. Lehmann was quick to add that he strongly believes that Ozil has the capability to do so and it is just a matter of time before he improves.
The comments may sting a section of the supporters but it is a criticism that Ozil receives more often than not. His contribution to Real Madrid when he was in Spain was marred by his non-performance in big games including Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
Ozil may have to start stamping his authority on high-profile matches. His arrival at the club not just galvanized the fans, the performance on the pitch also improved. Arsenal went on to win consecutive FA cups. Ozil featured in a major way in both the triumphs.
This is not the first time that Ozil has been criticized for his absence in big games. Club legend Thierry Henry was critical of his performance against Chelsea on 26th April. Henry singled out his frustration at the inability of Ozil against any of the top four teams.
Ozil can do well if he can start taking Henry and Lehmann comments, for the next season. It could be a season where Arsenal are back in the mix competing for the title. And for it to happen, every Gunner has to contribute – including Ozil.
What do you think? Is it justified to comment that Ozil fails to shine against top clubs?