I made the mistake of tweeting:
BTW, our best player is out injured.”
I meant Ozil and was immediately inundated with tweets telling me how stupid I was and how Sanchez is easily our best player .
Well? Is that a fact?
No it’s not a fact, it’s an opinion and not one I concur with. Not yet anyway.
Before we go any farther let me say I think our shiny new toy is an exceptional player, truly world class. And a good argument can be made to say he is indeed our best player.
I suppose it comes down to what you like in a player. What qualities you admire the most and to which you personally give most weight .
Alexis has some outstanding qualities. Pace, fight, determination, bravery, composure, and work rate to name just some. But is he a complete player? He isn’t far off, but it’s far enough for me to still see Ozil as a better player.
I suppose it’s the same as when people tell me Henry is Arsenal’s greatest ever player. Because for me that would be Dennis Bergkamp, by a country mile, and then some.
Football is a team game. It’s played by individuals, but if they don’t play for each other the whole will always be less than the sum of the parts.
Bergkamp and Ozil are first and foremost team players. Individual glory does not come into their thinking or play. The right pass is played at the right time with the team in mind. It’s no good having a 30 goal striker if 30 goals is all the team gets. It’s not about how far they run or how quickly they run there, it’s about what contribution the runs make to the team.
People bang on about Sanchez work rate without really understanding that there is more than one way to work on the field. If the runs a player is making are always in the direction of the ball, it stands out. If (like Mesut) the runs are made into space, less so.
We notice people making runs off the ball if they are attempting to get in behind, but do we really see a player just gliding into space?
Alexis is mostly running towards the ball, whether to ask to be given it, or to retrieve it because he has just lost it. We see that.
Ozil is running into space and often away from the ball, plus he hardly ever loses it , so doesn’t have to chase to get it back.
The reality is that Ozil will normally cover more ground in a game than Alexis. That is usually ignored.
The most effective teams are balanced teams. That’s what Mesut brings to the table. He has vision for others while generally Alexis has his own vision in mind. What he is going to do himself.
But as I say, balance in a team is the key. A team of Ozils would be no good, nor would a team of Alexis. Lucky for us we have both.
So, if you think Sanchez, Aaron, Jack or anyone else is our best player, fine. That’s up to you. But for now I will stick with Mesut, a man I see as the perfect team player.