5 Reasons Why Mesut Ozil Makes Arsenal a Top 2 EPL Team
Mesut Ozil is a Gunner. If you're not aware of that by now, then I hope that rock you've been living under is mighty cosy.
The German's signing is not merely significant because it takes the club in an entirely different financial direction and effectively ushers it into the modern transfer era. Ozil is the sort of player who can transform a football team by himself.
Perhaps he is even good enough to hoist Arsenal into the top two teams in the Premier League—a position they have not been in at the end of the season since 2005.
Here are five reasons why.
A persistent argument that has gained a certain amount of traction at several points during the past few seasons is that Arsenal are finding it difficult to crush beatable opponents on a regular basis because they have simply lost their intangible intimidation factor.
It's not an entirely invalid argument. If a team knows it is facing a side under a tremendous amount of pressure due to its eight-year inability to win a trophy, a nugget of belief emerges in their minds.
There is no way John O'Shea and Mobido Diakite are not quaking in their boots at the prospect of stopping the creative freight train that is Mesut Ozil on Saturday.
That plays a very important, if unquantifiable, role in team psychology.
To understand how much Ozil can contribute to the team in various parts of the pitch, it is best to compare him to the man who heretofore was arguably Arsenal's best player.
Like Santi Cazorla, Ozil is able to slot comfortably into either wing, in addition to his natural spot in central attacking midfield.
While I have argued that the Spaniard is more lethal in the middle of the pitch, he has so excelled on the left flank that Arsene Wenger often keeps him there when Lukas Podolski is fit.
Ozil will almost assuredly serve as the tip of Arsenal's midfield.
But if injuries or suspensions necessitate shifting him around, the Gunners are significantly boosted by having an outstanding player who can play in various attacking roles.
That leaves aside the other crucial fact: Other teams will find it much more difficult to anticipate and plan for what Arsenal will do.
He Fits with What Arsenal Already Have
I'm not a quiet 6'6" German defender with the calmness of the Buddha and am therefore not qualified to make declarative statements about Per Mertesacker's mind.
I suspect, however, that his integration into the Arsenal team of his time was more difficult than Ozil's is going to be.
The latter German's familiarity with two of his compatriot teammates is not the only reason why. Everything about Ozil's style is simply more consistent with the way Arsenal play.
He's quick, slight of build and derives his value from superb technical ability—does that sound like an Arsene Wenger-type player?
Even if Ozil has not gained an understanding of and bonded with his new teammates just yet, he already adheres perfectly to Wenger's footballing philosophy.
He's Everywhere at Once—and That Lessens Others' Burdens
The diversity of places in which he popped up to lend a helping foot to his teammates is truly remarkable and indicates that he is the epitome of the "team player."
The benefits of all this activity are twofold. Most obviously, Ozil is able to lend his world-renowned technical proficiency and creativity to the team in the most possible areas of the pitch—clearly a good thing.
More subtly, though, Ozil relieves much of the burden on his teammates by constantly serving as an extra—and extremely capable—body in often-crowded areas on the wing when defensive pressure is being applied.
Arsenal fans are accustomed to seeing other teams park the proverbial bus when they come to the Emirates Stadium. Ozil's omnipresence will help eradicate this nagging problem.
He's an X-Factor
This is really what everything comes down to, right?
Arsenal have not had a midfielder who can inspire fear in any side in the world since the departure of Cesc Fabregas.
Perhaps Santi Cazorla qualifies, but he—like Fabregas before him—was not afforded a suitable companion with whom he could theoretically slice apart any defence in the world.
Now the Gunners can play with two men whose inventive abilities are absolutely, indisputably world class, in addition to outstanding young footballers such as Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere.
Even if Arsenal do not have enough strikers to bring off the bench at the end of close games, players and fans will know there is a man in the team who is eminently capable of altering the outcome of a match against any opponent with a single flick of his boot.
That alone justifies the £42 million Arsenal spent to bring him in.