Arsenal FC manager Arsene Wenger has back Mesut Ozil to be back to his best after putting up a good show against Everton.
Mesut Ozil has had a fairly mixed season far in the Premier League. His much talked about transfer lifted the mood at the Emirates and visibly transformed the Arsenal side into title contenders as the players around him seemed pushed themselves to a higher level. He settled down fairly quickly and racked up assists in the first half of the season, but his performances seemed to have been hampered in recent weeks, especially since the New Year. The German international, who is used to winter breaks in during his time at Germany and Spain, was feeling the effects of being over played during a congestive part of the calendar.
Ozil came under a lot, at times unfair, criticism from fans and pundits alike as people not only began to question the heavy price tag on his shoulder, but also his place in the German national team ahead of the World Cup. Following his crucial penalty miss against Bayern Munich in the first leg of Arsenal’s round-of-16 clash at the Emirates, he was criticized both by the English and German media, and was even booed by German fans during the midweek friendly.
Arsene Wenger meanwhile rested Ozil for the match against Sunderland and kept him on the bench for the game against Stoke in the following week. He was started in the match against Everton in the FA Cup and the former Real Madrid midfielder showed signs of being back to his best in that game as scored the first with a wonderful finish and set up Olivier Giroud with a lovely little assist for Arsenal’s fourth. The rest seemed to have done wonders for him, and for a player who is playing his first season in this league, that is perhaps expected as well.
Arsene Wenger has now revealed that the penalty miss left a mental scar for Ozil and that the German international took time to recover from it. Wenger also praised his performance against Everton and believes that he can become both the provider and finisher for the Gunners.
“He was absolutely in a different physical shape, even if he played nearly 90 minutes on Wednesday night against Chile.
“It was quite a tough game but sometimes when you have two tough games like that it helps you to recover.
“I like the way he finished, calm in a convincing way. He made great runs and he was absolutely outstanding from the first to the last minute.
“[The missed penalty against Bayern] affected him mentally too much. It was not only physical, it was mental. He had the feeling he let the team down at a very important moment. That affected his performance very much.
“Psychologically sometimes the wound is like a physical one. You can talk and talk and talk, but it takes time. You just have to leave it to time. I think he is over it. He has a good opportunity to show on Tuesday night how good he is.
“I would like him to find the right balance between being a provider and finisher. At the moment the balance is a bit detrimental to the finishing. His strong side is providing.
“But he is pacy, much quicker than people think he is, and with that technical quality and pace, if he gets into the right areas and with the service he has, he can score goals. He wants to score more goals, I am convinced of that.” – The Arsenal manager said.
As they travel to face Bayern Munich with a nearly impossible task in hand, if there is one player who can propel Arsenal towards a memorable European result, it is Mesut Ozil. Wenger will hope that the Everton game would have restored the confidence in his star man ahead of this trip to Germany.