Mesut Ozil's Round of 16 Disappointment Shows Lack of Game-Winning Influence

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistMarch 11, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 18:  Mesut Ozil of Arsenal in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Fulham at Emirates Stadium on January 18, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

As the most expensive German export in football, £42.5 million Mesut Ozil was heralded as the precursor of a new age at the Emirates Stadium when brought to the club last summer.

However, the Gunners' big acquisition has failed to step up to the plate precisely when his side have needed him most in recent weeks, the two legged Champions League loss to Bayern Munich being the most painful demonstration of the midfielder's shortcomings in individual impact.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 19:  Mesut Oezil of Arsenal misses from the penalty spot during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Arsenal and FC Bayern Muenchen at Emirates Stadium on February 19, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Tuesday saw Arsenal bow out of this season's European competition, losing 3-1 on aggregate to defending champions Bayern. The Times' Oliver Kay confirmed in the fallout that Ozil will be absent for "a few weeks" now with a hamstring issue:

It's a disappointing turn for Arsene Wenger's side, assuredly, a team who not long ago were in flying form and looked as if they might challenge for several titles this season and are still realistically capable of doing so.

However, having initially made great strides in his Premier League career, Ozil-Mania appears to have waned somewhat, and it's no surprise that the playmaker's drop in playing standards is at the root of that issue.

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - MARCH 01:  Mesut Ozil of Arsenal takes his seat on the bench prior to the Barclays Pemier League match between Stoke City and Arsenal at the Britannia Stadium on March 1, 2014 in Stoke on Trent, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Ozil caused a huge stir upon arrival in North London, netting four goals and making eight assists in his first 13 league appearances for the Gunners, per Transfermarkt.

In 2014, the German has made just three assists and scored a single goal. With only one of those contributions coming outside of the FA Cup, his score against Everton over the weekend was his first goal for the club since Dec. 8.

At Real Madrid, Ozil was used to thriving alongside a healthy crop of some of the world's other finer resources. In a squad that boasts so much attacking potential, teammates can sometimes make up for the holes that exist in the games of their colleagues.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 18:  Mesut Oezil of Arsenal in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Fulham at Emirates Stadium on January 18, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

At Arsenal, things aren't turning out as fortunately for the 25-year-old, it seems. Wenger's club spent big on a player who they thought would be capable of bringing in points and silverware almost single-handedly at times, but recent months have shown that Ozil may not possess that kind of value.

The New York Times' Jerrad Peters points out the player's lack of consistency over Twitter:

In his 45-minute cameo against Bayern on Tuesday, Ozil completed just seven passes, failing to take on even a single player, according to Squawka figures. Of course, one can't over-analyse the outing too much; this was arguably the best team in the world that the German was up against, after all.

But it was a similar story in the first leg, an encounter that showed Ozil to be slightly wimpish in his manner, and if a youngster like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can summon the courage to go up against's Europe's best and impress, why can't the same be expected of the club's biggest-ever investment?

The Daily Mail asked a similar question having analysed Ozil's heat map from the second-leg display against Bayern:

Technically, Ozil of course has all the talents necessary to be considered one of Europe's strongest individual talents. This is still a player who recorded an average of 18 La Liga assists during his last two seasons at Real Madrid, per Transfermarkt.

That being said, there may be underlying issues at hand here that Arsenal should be concerned about. Whatever the case, the Premier League title contenders can and should be expecting more out of their man on the individual level, because what's being produced right now simply isn't up to scratch.