In Premier League history there have been players that have characterised their teams. Cristiano Ronaldo was the symbol of Manchester Utd during his time there, brilliant, quick and ruthless. Chelsea had Drogba, a powerhouse with a winning mentality and if there’s one player that sums up Arsenal since his arrival, it’s Mesut Ozil.
Arsenal can be brilliant to watch on their day but face regular questions about their defensive capabilities and mental strength. The same can be said of Ozil but on Saturday afternoon against Tottenham, the World Cup Winner showed just how talented he really is.
In this form it’s easy to understand why Ronaldo labelled him “The best number 10 in the world” and publically voiced his displeasure at being allowed to leave for North London. Ozil was everywhere, gliding across the pitch with elegance. His touch was flawless, his weight of pass perfect, his decision-making intelligent. Ozil marked the game with his 45th assist since his arrival at the Emirates, a league high during that time.
The biggest criticism that has been thrown at Ozil is his work rate, often accused of lacking the desire to do the dirty work for his team. None of that will be said this weekend, although some may wonder why such performances have been few and far between during his time at Arsenal. Today though, Ozil worked tirelessly, stealing the ball back from Dembele and Davies early on. His relentless pressure on the Spurs defensive line forced them to play long towards Kane and Alli but with little affect. When the ball did pass him, he tracked back quickly into position to support the midfield pairing of Xhaka and Ramsey.
Ozil left the field to a standing ovation when he was substituted late on and deservedly so. This was perhaps his best performance in an Arsenal shirt, but with his contract running down and January approaching fast, it looks like being another game closer to his last.