October 23, 2018

Player Feature: Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil steals the show versus Leicester

Most Prolific German in Premier League History

Full Name: Mesut Ozil

Birthdate: October 15, 1988

Place of Birth: Germany

Football Club (Currently): Arsenal

Position(s): Midfielder/Winger

Playing Years: 2006 to present

Formative Years Football Career:

After working his way up at the youth level for several clubs including a five-year spell with Rot-Weiss Essen, Mesut Ozil transferred to the youth academy of Schalke 04 in 2005. He was immediately positioned as a midfielder after starting as a main attacking midfielder, substituting for the suspended Lincoln in Ligapokal fixtures alongside Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich. Upon being promoted to the first team, he was often described as “the next big thing.”

Werder Bremen and the 2010 FIFA World Cup

In January 2008, Ozil signed a contract with Werder Bremen, keeping him in the club until June 2011. He became the key player of the club during the 2009-10 season, and was regarded as the best player of the first leg of the 2009 season of the Bundesliga. He spent his entire stay at Werder Bremen, securing victories for the team. By the end of his last season in the club, he was acknowledged as ‘the best player of the first half of the season.’

The German national was also included for Germany’s squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, starting in all matches. He helped secure the victory that ensured Germany’s advancement to the second round as the group winners. By the end of Germany’s stint in the World Cup, FIFA declared that he included in the list of players nominated for the Golden Ball.

Real Madrid

Due to his remarkable performance during the 2010 World Cup, he guaranteed his place among Europe’s finest young talents. He was also sought out by numerous top-tier clubs with the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Arsenal. Ozil also managed to wow English striker Wayne Rooney, to the point that he asked Manchester United’s then manager Alex Ferguson to sign the German midfielder. In 2010, Real Madrid officially announced the signing of Mesut Ozil, making his La Liga debut for the club playing as a substitute for Angel Di Maria in a match against Mallorca. He finished his debut season for Real Madrid with 25 assists to his name, the highest number of assists for any player in a major European competition during the season.

The next season, Ozil became part of Real Madrid’s first team and eventually netted his first goal against Barcelona in an El Clasico fixture in the first leg of the 2011 Supercopa de Espana. He was also among the shortlist for the FIFA Ballon d’Or award. He finished the season with excellent performance, helping Real Madrid become the first club in the Spanish top flight to ever gather 100 points in one season, while also becoming the youngest player to be featured in the top 10 for the UEFA Best Player in Europe.

Arsenal and the 2014 FIFA World Cup

In September 2013, Mesut Ozil moved to English side Arsenal in a five-year deal. He made his debut for the club in a league away match against Sunderland, assisting Olivier Giroud’s goal as they went on to a 3-1 win. Three days after his club debut, he made his first appearance in the Champions League in a match against Marseille. In October, he was once again included among the players shortlisted for the FIFA Ballon d’Or award, and was featured in the UEFA Team of the Year.  

Mesut Ozil played a vital role for Germany during the 2014 World Cup. He started in all seven of the national team’s World Cup fixtures, also helping Germany make history by being the first ever European to win the World Cup in South America. He ended his world cup stint as Germany’s top scorer. He returned to club training in the middle of the 2014-15 season after participating in Germany’s World Cup victory, eventually making his first appearance of the season in a match against Everton. In October, he suffered a knee injury to the season’s international break, ruling him out of the remainder of Arsenal’s Champions League group fixtures as well as four international matches.

In January 2015, he returned to Arsenal’s starting team and scored a goal in a match against Brighton during the fourth round of the FA Cup. He finished his second season with Arsenal, netting 5 goals and providing 9 assists in 33 appearances all throughout the season.

In the 2015-16, Ozil set a new Premier League record by being the first player to assist in six succeeding matches, even extending the run to seven consecutive games before he scored his second Champions League goal of the season. In December 2015, he acquired a total of 9 goals in total, the most number of goals in a single Premier League game by any player in the course of the campaign. He ended the season with 8 goals and 20 assists in all club matches which earned him the Arsenal Player of the Season award.

Ozil struggled due to his knee inflammation at the beginning of the 2017-18 season. Despite this, he was able to record a goal and an assist against Everton in a 5-2 victory, then provided another assist the following week later against Swansea City.

He further secured Arsenal’s win against Huddersfield in a 5-0 match win, then another in back-to-back weeks, first in a win against West Ham, then a draw with Liverpool. He spent the entire season securing victories for Arsenal against the likes of Crystal Palace, Milan, Watford, and Ostersunds. With his performance, he became the fastest player to reach 50 assists throughout the competition, breaking the record of Eric Cantona.

With his agility, creativity, versatility, and technical abilities, Ozil has been regarded as the “assist-king” by the media. As of recent events, Mesut Ozil showed one of the best midfield displays in this season’s Premier League as Arsenal overpowered Leicester City to bag their 10th consecutive victory in all competitions with Mesut Ozil becoming the highest-scoring German in the history of the Premier League.

German National Team Controversy

Mesut Ozil retired from the German National Team as a form of protest against members who have alleged ‘racially discriminating background backgrounds.’

By @EliaasMJ

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