The Özil Effect

Today a guest post by Tim Head


Mesut Ozil, one of the all-time greats …

Throughout the summer we heard calls for a marquee signing, and a suggestion that Arsenal under Wenger could not only not compete at the high end of the transfer market but actively didn’t want to do so. Some fans suggested that was because Wenger and the Board were trying to fleece the loyal supporters in order to feather their own nests, whilst others maintained that the reason was a dithering out of touchness with the realities of modern life. It seemed fashionable at the time for the media to portray The Arsenal as a once great club whose stubbornness and old-world values would confine them to forever play second fiddle to the truly great and lavishly funded new-era mega clubs. The views of some fans were even less charitable.

And then came Özil, and for a while everything changed. He was the greatest midfielder in the world, Madrid were mad to sell him, The Arsenal were back, he was the signing of the summer. All these sentiments and more were expressed with varying degrees of sincerity and politeness on TV and in the papers while the Twitter world was awash with pride and envy. All through the Autumn a newly confident Arsenal eased the ball about the park, with Özil’s orchestrations seeing an inexorable rise to the top of the table and Champions League qualification. The memories glow and linger: the ball plucked from mid-air and delivered on a plate to Giroud; the first time drive and assist to destroy Napoli; the brace against Norwich; the telepathic combination with Ramsey before passing the ball into the Tigers net, and always, always vision and grace, even when juggling gum. The Arsenal had found their man, and although clearly not genuine title contenders, they were at least able to provide a different narrative for the press and compelling evidence that despite the inexplicable stumblings of the heavyweights, the Premier League was the best in the world.

And all of this was fine for the vested interests (so ably served by their punditry puppets) in October and November, because although top of the league, Arsenal could not win the title. They needed a striker (despite Giroud’s top form), their defence was still vulnerable (but it took an example several seasons’ old to illustrate this), there was no back up to Giroud (but step forward Lord Bendtner), Wenger doesn’t do tactics (oh really?), December’s run of fixtures would see them slip (almost but not quite, and if it hadn’t been for schedules and prehistoric refereeing, then not at all). So here we are, on January the whatever, and still The Arsenal are one point clear at top, having played everybody at least once, just like all the other clubs. And does this make everyone happy? Are the League Bosses pleased? Are the TV companies delighted? Are all the Arsenal fans ecstatic? Strangely – indeed bizarrely – it would seem very much not.

So now cue the most insidious whispers of all: Özil is not the player everyone thought he was. He is lazy. He goes missing. He was only good because of Ronaldo. He doesn’t tackle back. He isn’t really cut out for the hardest league in the world. He is another Arsenal pretty boy. He wasn’t worth the money, because he isn’t a match winner. And do you know what, people who have played and watched football all their lives (and some who have played at the very highest level) choose to believe these vile slanders. And because they pass on these ideas, so to do all the young Twitter warriors, and, no doubt in time, so will some of the supporters, who will inexplicably start to doubt and to jeer and possibly to create an atmosphere where one of the greatest players of all time loses confidence and decides that playing for The Arsenal isn’t such the great idea it seemed back in October. And that will be job done for those who can’t bear the thought that success might be honestly earned and planned for, for those whose snouts are firmly in the oil-fueled slush bucket, for those who for their own strange reasons want to see a change of managerial regime at The Emirates. It is called misinformation and as Orwell predicted, whole sections of the media are devoted to saying the opposite of the truth. I leave you to guess at the reasons for this.

But these lies can and must be resisted. Believe me, Özil is one of the all-time greats. He does something that very few can do, for he takes the opposition out of the game. Good players look as if they are everywhere and create the impression that their side are playing 12 against 11. Great players make it seem like 11 against 10, for their vision reduces defences as surely as if a red card has been issued. Özil is a space maker and a game changer. He makes good team mates into great ones: great ones into legends. He is unique, and he is ours. Bother to look at him properly and you will see what Arsene saw, but what Jose only glimpsed. Savour every moment, shout his name out loud, defend him against the doubters and above all be proud. He is very, very special, and if you can’t see that you either don’t know your football or you have sold your soul.

And perhaps most importantly, my daughter Katy, all 10 years old of her, wanted an Özil away kit for Christmas more than anything – and I seriously wouldn’t recommend getting on the wrong side of her….

Tim can be found on Twitter @foreverheady .

Comment navigation

Newer Comments →

113 comments on “The Özil Effect

  1. According to Le Boss, Theo’s surgery went well and his outlook for the future is very positive. Nacho didn’t break a metatarsal, he merely twisted his right ankle. Rosicky will have to wear a Zorro mask. The trio of Arteta, Ramsey and Vermaelen will all be available for the FA cup match against Coventry.


  2. Check this out, Fin.


  3. Nice. The Little One, heh. It all makes sense now.

    Rosicky vs. Dortmund

    Dortmund put his shirt from their 1-2 victory on display in their museum, but I don’t think they kept the shirt from the second game 🙂


  4. Excellent post, comments and links


  5. even spuers fans get it:
    why can’t some of our own.

    oolwich have been beating Spurs for fun for years, but in the last few seasons – the odd inevitable humiliation aside – we have been getting closer to them. We’ve even won the odd game, on Saturday night though, the gulf was as wide as ever.

    We lost on all fronts at the Emirates and we had to endure Arsene Wenger outsmarting yet another Spurs boss with all the ease and disdain of a chess grandmaster forced to play a five year-old at draughts.

    Wenger’s team was more committed, half a yard a quicker, better on the ball, took more care of possession when they had it and ultimately beat us comfortably. For half an hour after their second goal, they took their foot off the gas and let us come at them, yet we still barely created a chance of note.

    With a couple of exceptions our team looked beaten before we started. …
    We lost on all fronts at the Emirates and we had to endure Arsene Wenger outsmarting yet another Spurs boss…
    Team and mate are the key words. The biggest difference between Spurs and Woolwich is that they attacked and defended as a team. …

    Frankly, it could have been another massacre …

    I was amazed how many pundits seemed to think Spurs would win. On the back of a jammy win at Old Trafford.

    What we must realise in the aftermath of this defeat is we can’t blame Sherwood – most people would have played pretty much this team – or the players. He and they are the victims of massive hype. I was amazed how many pundits seemed to think Spurs would win. On the back of a jammy win at Old Trafford.

    Nobody who had seen both us under Tim (think West Brom and West Ham) and even a little of Woolwich over recent weeks could have thought we were favourites.

    We were told we’d signed The Beatles at the start of the season. Maybe. But if so, they haven’t met yet and John Lennon’s still playing his mum’s banjo. Mesut Ozil is the rare exception – a player who debuts in the Premier League as if he’s been playing in it all his life – but he is world class.

    We have bought some decent players and one or two of them may go on to be world class. Whether it will happen at a club with such a short-term mentality as Spurs I don’t know.

    I hope a few of them will be around next year to give us a chance of finding out. Because let’s be clear, Tim has an incredibly difficult job just to get us close to Champions League qualification. If we’re still seriously in the hunt come Easter he should be manager of the season.
    We were told we’d signed The Beatles at the start of the season. Maybe. But if so, they haven’t met yet and John Lennon’s still playing his mum’s banjo
    As it is, how will Levy view coming 6th or 7th? Does Tim really have it in him to be a Premier League manager? As with all those signings we’ll just have to cross our fingers and hope. It’s got to be better than yet another hasty decision.

    So Spurs fans brace yourself. Woolwich will win something this year and we’ll be top six at best. We could learn so much from them if we wanted to – how to turn players into a team, how to keep the ball when you have it, how to press when you haven’t, how to play fast, slow, long or short as appropriate, how to bring on young players, how to buy players when you need to, how to move grounds. We might even come to learn the importance of the first touch.

    Meanwhile, normal service has been resumed. We have our Tottenham back. Unfortunately not the Danny Blanchflower incarnation.
    (c) Jim Pollard fightingcock.co.uk


  6. i honestly dont get what makes spurs fans think they can be part of the elite…..honestly….they talk as if their team should be right up there with the arsenals citys chelsea bayerns milans etc etc…what a bunch of deluded know nothing cunts…


  7. Well, it’s like a round robin in the Arsenal medical rooms, in they come, out they go. We’re a little thin for the coming week or two as Aaron and Ox and probably Gibbs will not be quite 100% match ready and fit even if cleared physically. Tomas, depends, 2 weeks probably and a Zorro mask for another 2 or 3. Nacho, 3 weeks, maybe 4 at a guess. NB, month-end? Mikel and TV inside the next 2 weeks or so, it seems.

    With a little lady luck, into Feb we are back to almost full strength minus Theo, nada, so a few fixtures to navigate without a full squad between now and then.

    Lukas should by now be 100% ready. Giroo looks ravenous. Flamini is always hungry. Mesut and Jack seem fired up. That’s already strong. The bench will be a little bereft. Coq is back. He might be needed.

    All in all, I hope Yoo beat Chelsea and give them a nice set-back, but not very likely with both Roon and Robin in the nursing home.


  8. I suspect that one or two of them are closer to full fitness than that. For all the difficulty of the December fixtures, January seems to be giving us a bit of a breathing space. Is Cocquelin really back?


  9. btw, two players from our youth team who i think could have made it here if they have remain patient are merida and denilson. they have the skill set to play for arsenal and the physical strenght to play in the epl. another one i can think about is stil with us. bendtner.


  10. le coq de ox est tres ozil mon flam

    what do you think of my deutchsprache?


  11. Yes, Coq seems to be back from loan. It didn’t work out.


  12. ZimPaul

    Young Arsenal central midfielder forced to play out of position for half a season.
    it has a familiar ring to it.

    Hopefully Coq has taken some positive learning experiences from the loan.
    Coq is more comfortable in CM – perhaps beside Flamini in the cup game?
    Otherwise he is still useful as left side midfield cover.

    I can imagine young Frimmy is really now in the last chance saloon – one more loan for him, and I have heard St. Etienne are interested.


  13. Hunter
    I was hoping folks here would read the bit about spuds learning how to do things the Arsenal way and the Wenger way. (I know that will never happen) but I have read far worse shit about our own club from some of our expert ‘superfans’.

    Even a spud knows Ozil is world class.


Comment navigation

Newer Comments →

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: