Arsenal: The Ozil vs. Emery Battle Has Just Started
Many people, including fans of the club, have criticized Ozil's play in recent times, and with good reason. It can be frustrating to watch your best player play ineffectively and get subbed off for poor performances. As the Gunners put in efforts to bring about the change of fortunes that has so eluded them, one would expect all the senior players to give 110%. Ozil, it seems, has been giving a little over half that, and he doesn't even look positive, to begin with.
This just gives rise to the battle that, as unspoken as it might be, has probably started. Two games into the season, the fans can sense a passive clash between Emery and Ozil. Emery is clearly expecting a higher work rate from every player in his hire, including Ozil. The German, on the other hand, has been conditioned to give the exact opposite.
No, it's not that he can't give 110%. It's simply not Mesut Ozil. It isn't in his nature, as he is more of a visionary player.
At the Bernabeu, alongside some of the best players in the world, he excelled because he wasn't needed in every area of the game. Emery's plan for success, on the other hand, requires a busy attitude from all eleven players, something Ozil cannot give. While Ozil is willing to pick out the perfect pass, he's not going to chase an opposing winger down. Now that he's almost 30, it's not realistic to even think he'll change his style.
Yet, something has to change. Someone has to change. It's the case of the irresistible force against the immovable object. It isn't possible for Unai Emery to get what he's looking for from Ozil, and Ozil refuses to change. It is also highly likely that it isn't possible for Ozil to remain the same and remain in the team. They each want something on opposing sides of the spectrum, and they can't be symbiotic.
It doesn't help that Ozil has committed himself long-term to the club, seeing that he might never fit in. Emery could change his plans for Ozil and place focus on what makes Ozil tick on the field. That, I think, is easier than demanding more work rate from Ozil's matches. Yet, no manager wants to be in the position where he cannot make decisions he believes will help the team as a whole, rather than one Star player. Maybe Ozil will, over time, build on his work rate and increase his input and output for Arsenal.
One last eventuality is that Ozil is sold. It isn't the greatest option but it isn't so crazy either. But at this point, it is not possible to be sure Arsenal would be willing to go that far. It would likely cause a rift between player and club, and either party will end up being not so happy about anything. At this point, all the fans can do is wait and watch.