“The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits”, the words of visionary Albert Einstein. Every industry, every era, every culture has the strata of individual that goes against the curve, revolutionising the perceived beauty of their field. With a vision comes its critics, and with critics come an onslaught. Mesut Ozil, the man destined to be slaughtered to second he graced the red and white of the famous Arsenal jersey.
The German is a silent assassin, evidenced in his stealth like movements on the pitch, and his radio silence off it. The 28-year-old is a difficult man to track down, after all, they call him a magician for no reason. That was, until the Gunners number 11 had enough. His genius had been ridiculed, disregarded and disrespected for far too long, so the German took a stand. Well, sort of. In typical Mesut fashion, he wanted the spotlight to remain as distant from him as possible, prompting his ambush on criticism to be launched on social media. Going after Arsenal legends and media like (the two sadly had to distinguish nowadays), he defended his genius, the clubs values, and his values. The question prevalent from all cordons of football is whether the response was warranted…
Thierry Henry, irrefutably the best player to bless an Arsenal shirt. His punditry skills? Not quite as mesmerising as it was to watch him craft his magic on the Highbury and Emirates canvas. According to the Frenchman, “When [Mesut Ozil] plays in an Arsenal shirt, sometimes it is not up to the standard of Arsenal.” How true does such an accusation lie? Do players have bad games? Of course, Thierry would know that himself, some games you aren’t up to it *cough cough, every cup final*. Despite that, no one refutes Henry’s genius, nor should they, he is one of the best to grace the beautiful game. The accusation labelled at Ozil is his failure to step up in big games. Yet, the informed football fan will know this argument to be nonsensical. In a Gunners shirt, Ozil averages a goal contribution in a ‘big game’ roughly every other game (0.44), and only Mata and Coutinho have better minutes per goal contribution in big games that the German maestro. Mesut Ozil is the oil of the Arsenal machine. Failure to understand the influence the German has on any game, big games included, is failure to comprehend genius.
Often referenced is the German’s exemplary spell in Madrid, in a dire attempt to smear the poetry he has woven in England. Once again, the illusion of disillusionment has held the media captive. In 17 more games, the German has created 103 more chances, completed 66 more take-ons, and had 55 more shots, in the process creating a chance every 25.5 minutes [Per Squawka]. If anything, the German has polished his game, ironing out inadequacies, improving his output in the process, all whilst surrounded by inferior players. Mesut Ozil adapted to the Premier League a long time ago, the Premier League is yet to adapt to Mesut Ozil. In Madrid, rushing on to delicately placed through balls were Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Gonzalo Higuain and Angel Di Maria. In his time in a Gunners shirt he has crafted his magic behind Sanogo,Walcott, Giroud and Welbeck. With the latter two, no disrespect is intended, they work inexorably hard for the Gunners, with the Frenchman in particular delivering numerous clutch moments. But, the reality of the matter is that you do not get the best out of Mesut Ozil if you surround him with sub-par players.
In Alexis and Lacazette we may well come to see the media finally perceive the class that the German has always oozed. However, this is not definitive. Already having created 15 chances this season (the most in the division), the 28 year old is yet to register an assist. The shining light being an O-L-A front three is yet to be tested. That said, if another year goes by without the art being crafted by Ozil being polished off by the Gunners forwards, it may well be the case that the visionary from Germany will forever be misjudged, misunderstood, not receiving the accolades he warrants.