Mesut Özil: An Artist or a Scapegoat?
Mesut Özil is one of the most creative players to ever play the game. The German's ball control, vision, passing, link up play and his ability to unlock the defense is second to none. One area of football which Özil really lacks is his defensive contribution to the team. Whenever his side loses, he is always carped for not tracking back, not tackling and absolutely for everything he does on the pitch. Even his passing is called into question that he is making too many sideways passes.
With a total of 61 assists (Premier League & European competitions) in the past five seasons (2013-2018), a number only bettered by Ronaldo (65), Di Maria (67) and obviously Messi (79), Özil is fourth on the list despite his struggles to adapt to the English game initially. During the same period, he also contributed with 37 goals which is not a bad return for a player whose main job is to create chances rather than scoring them. Other than Goals and Assists there is something more to Özil’s game which is underestimated. His understanding of the game.
His defensive work-rate may be questionable and he might not be able to add this to his traits anytime soon considering he’s into his 30’s, but we cannot deny the fact that he understands the game so well and he makes football look easy. Pairing this trait with his Vision he’s one of the best attacking midfielders out there. Former Spanish midfield great Xabi Alonso described Özil as "the kind of player you don't find these days, He understands the game, sees things, combines and thrives between the lines, unlocking teams." Whereas his former Germany teammate Phillip Lahm said "His vision is the best I have ever seen. He is a dream for strikers”. Özil positions himself well in the field which makes it easy for his teammates to find him. His interplay with his teammates and his quick one-two passing in the final third is phenomenal.
However, in recent times Özil has attracted lots of criticism for his playing style and his on-field behavior. He has always been the same. Even during his earlier Werder Bremen & Schalke days or during his fantastic career with Real Madrid, where he broke lots of records, he was used to the same style of play. Nowadays, he is made the scapegoat for his team’s failure, most of the time due to his style. He was not a combative midfielder and never will be, but he's an artist who decorates Football. It’s better to enjoy his arts when its displayed rather than blaming him for what he doesn’t.
Is Özil treated unfairly? Is he made a Scapegoat when his team fails? Let us know in the comments section below.