One Arsenal player who made a consistent impact in the north London derby was Mesut Ozil. The German midfielder played across the breadth of the pitch, and it was his diagonal ball that set up Kieran Gibbs’ equalising goal in the second half.
To call Ozil the leader of the current Arsenal side won’t sound out of place. And that is exactly what Gunners’ manager Arsene Wenger considers his star midfielder to be. Ozil, the most expensive Arsenal player ever, has been in phenomenal form this season, and his assist against Spurs was his eighth in six games.
6 – Mesut Ozil is the first player to assist goals in six consecutive Premier League games. Master.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 8, 2015
“He was outstanding again,” was Wenger’s assessment of Ozil after the Spurs game. That Arsenal suffered against Spurs for long periods of the game was put into irrelevance by one swing of Ozil’s left foot. The World Cup winner was visibly playing at a higher level than his peers, making the most passes, and creating the most chances and to the casual observer at least, it was Ozil and goalkeeper Petr Cech’s heroics that denied Spurs a famous win.
“He has grown into a very great player as he has added commitment, leadership qualities and responsibility and I’m very pleased with his development.”
Wenger is right to be pleased with Ozil’s impact. The 27-year-old has long been criticised for hiding in games, shirking responsibility and not showing enough desire in the past. But this season, Arsenal good league form can be attributed mostly to the genius and work rate of Ozil. They are well-placed for a title challenge, and Ozil’s direct contribution in half of their goals scored in the league this season is testament to his influence.
Arsenal have a favourable round of fixtures after the international break till the time Manchester City come to town just before Christmas. Their four games before facing City are against West Brom, Norwich, Sunderland and Aston Villa; all winnable games and Arsenal will hope Ozil comes back from international commitments in shape.
Ozil’s Germany will take on France and the Netherlands in two prestige friendlies in the coming days, their last two games before next summer’s Euro 2016. With Ozil growing into an indispensable cog of the Arsenal machine, here’s hoping that he comes back from international exertions without any knock or bruise.