Why Mesut Ozil Has Only Changed Arsenal's Mentality

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Why Mesut Ozil Has Only Changed Arsenal's Mentality
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Mesut Ozil's performance against Southampton was markedly better than the relatively mediocre displays he has put in throughout most of his recent games.

The £42.5 million man was frequently involved in Arsenal's more promising passages of play. He linked up with his fellow forwards to orchestrate intricate attacking moves that came close to breaking down the Saints' stubborn resistance.

Ozil's mild resurgence was most likely due to the rest he received during the international break the last two weeks. Sickness and a vast amount of game time have slowed him since he transferred from Real Madrid on transfer deadline day.

Clive Rose/Getty Images

Despite his improvement, one still has the feeling that Ozil has attained the same form at Arsenal as he did at Madrid when he became one of the top few attacking midfielders in the world.

While Ozil has had a noticeably positive impact on the team's performances, he has not yet shown that he was worth the club record-shattering amount the Gunners paid for him. Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla have largely outshone him.

In fact, much of the impact Ozil has had on Arsenal is mental.

When he arrived, he changed the very nature of Arsenal Football Club. Ozil's signing was a statement of intent that was heard by players and fans alike.

Arsenal's players knew the club needed to sign at least one big name to reinforce a thin squad that obviously did not have the requisite quality to win trophies. Ozil has certainly been a large part of the Gunners' resurgence.

Interestingly, though, his greatest impact has been off the pitch.

Sure, he is tied for second in the Premier League in assists despite not playing the first couple games of the season. But there is no denying that the Ozil, who became one of the best attacking midfielders in the world at Real Madrid, has not yet shown up at the Emirates.

One should remember, of course, that even legendary players like Robert Pires took a significant amount of time to acclimate to the Premier League, which is the most physically demanding in the world.

And Ozil probably will eventually grow into his intended role as the fulcrum of Arsenal's attack—a player with his extraordinary ability can adapt to just about any situation.

He has not yet, though. The German has also been struck by illness and fatigue from playing so many high-intensity minutes in so many games, so there are multiple reasons for his failure to achieve peak form.

Luckily for Arsenal, the players on the payroll before Ozil's arrival have improved so much that the team has not suffered from Ozil's relative lack of production.

But he has produced a belief within the squad that the Gunners are truly a big-time club capable of winning things. His presence gives the entire team a lift because every player knows that he can turn a game around in an instant.

The fact that Ozil has not yet actually done that should not detract from the other half of his impact on Arsenal.

But one should not be blind to the fact that he has achieved only half of his potential in North London. This is somewhat disappointing but should also encourage Arsenal fans: Ozil has already had a significantly positive influence on Arsenal—just imagine the force he will be when he reaches his peak.

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