5 Big games where Mesut Özil proved his worth at Arsenal
Arsenal go into Thursday's Europa League Round of 32 clash with BATE Borisov a goal down. Stanislaw Drahun's goal before half-time was enough to secure a 1-0 win for the Belarussian outfit.
It was a lacklustre display from the away side, creating little opportunities and looking short of ideas. They had gone into the tie as heavy favourites for the clash, having won 4-2 and 6-0 against BATE last season in the group stage, but they couldn't translate their superiority on the pitch.
The Gunners are in need of a big performance at the Emirates if they want to keep their Europa League dreams alive. To make matters worse they will be without talisman Alexandre Lacazette after the Frenchman picked up a late red card in the closing stages of the first leg.
It seems this has given Unai Emery the perfect opportunity to switch back to playing a one striker system against Belarus' league leaders. If the Spaniard opts to do so, it would be the perfect opportunity to reintegrate star player Mesut Özil.
Özil has been in and out of the side in recent months, only starting three out of Arenal's last 12 games. He has missed over half of their games this season through injury, sickness or 'tactical reasons', but will be hoping he can play a part in a comeback to progress to the Round of 16.
Question marks continue to loom over a potential rift between the German and his manager, but it would be ludicrous to leave out the silky playmaker from a must-win game, especially given Arsenal's recent dip in results.
The attacking midfielder has come up with the goods when Arsenal have needed him to before, and there's no reason why he can't do that again. Here is a look back at five instances when Ozil rose to the occasion in the red shirt of Arsenal.
1. Arsenal 2-0 Napoli, 1st October 2013
Just four weeks after joining the North London club, Özil played his first European game at the Emirates in a crunch clash with Italian giants Napoli. Expectations were at an all-time high as the hype for Arsenal's then record signing was at a fever pitch.
He had just come off the back of a number of memorable performances. The Gunners' faithful had already become accustomed to his delicate ball control and notable eye for a pass.
The German international delivered the goods in a memorable 2-0 win for the home side. Özil took the game by the scruff of the neck, scoring the opener and setting up the second within the first 15 minutes.
His goal was a typical Özil finish, one that possessed both finesse and exquisite technique. He volleyed the ball, cushioning it past Pepe Reina in the Napoli goal.