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v. Sunderland, 2017. : Gunners

Mesut lacks pace, and rarely attempts to beat defenders with Pepe-style dribbling anymore. More than anything, his game seems to rely on teammates moving off the ball. This is part of the reason he was so deadly as a pair with Sanchez, a player who was ALWAYS moving, and also part of the reason that he’s not been at his best the last few years. Even just a simple forward run, like Bellerín makes here, can be all that’s needed for Özil to do what he does best. But Emery’s reign was defined by sitting back and trying to wait, wait, wait for the opportunity to attack, and the lack of movement did Özil no favors. Under Arteta, things look better, but Arsenal still lack the kind of personnel that carried him to his peak. Our current midfield doesn’t have Wilshires and Cazorlas, players with the energy to forward, make runs, and generally offer support. Some will say the fact that Özil has to be “carried” at all is a detriment, and you know what, I kind of agree. But it’s important to keep in mind when saying “he’s no good anymore” that the reasons why Özil has fallen off are not entirely his fault.

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