Does Mesut Ozil still have something to offer Arsenal?
The Earth turns on its axis, bringing change with every rotation. Completely beyond our control, the sun rises and sets. Even royalty must accept an end to its reign. No king [or queen] rules forever. Sooner or later, the throne sits empty until a new monarch is anointed. The king is dead, long live the king. Arsene Wenger. Unai Emery.
Adaptation to life under a new leader is never easy. Calls still come for a second Brexit referendum. Americans still use the hashtag #notmypresident. Transition between managers in football is difficult, too, on fans but especially players. Each new boss has his own philosophy and method, a particular football they want to play. Wenger's style devolved into pure finesse. Emery likes to flash style but can also mix in a bit of physicality.
Arsenal players needed time to adapt to change. As it turned out, not too much time. A nine-game winning streak suggests the squad has accustomed itself to life under the Spaniard. All, except maybe Mesut Ozil.
The German is a brilliant player. Emery inherited one of the best midfielders modern football has to offer, one who has an eye for a pass only few can rival. A single hit on the ball creates a scoring chance, dismantling a defence in the blink of an eye. He can score, too, adding 40 goals to the 71 assists he has for the London club across all competitions.
A player with his ability should impact any squad but Ozil hasn't thrived under Emery. He's yet to register an assist this season, although he logged three goals in 570 minutes played over eight of Arsenal's 11 matches. That's right, he's no longer a regular starter. Recent sub-par displays from the German leave many concluding his contribution is no longer needed.
That sentiment was reinforced when he didn't play a minute in the Gunners' 1-5 shoot 'em up against Fulham at Craven Cottage. The team played brilliantly. No one can say Ozil was missed. The defence was tight, midfield strong and the sharp attack became only cut deeper when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang stepped onto the pitch for Danny Welbeck.
Although Ozil's absence wasn't felt, factors having nothing to do with his absence made an impact. Goalkeeper Bernd Leno made his first Premier League appearance. Replacing Petr Cech in goal, his support visibly improved Arsenal's play from the back. Rob Holding got the nod ahead of Sokratis, further enhancing the build-up. And the attack rounded things up.
On the other hand, Auba and Alex[andre Lacazette] were in full song without their music director.
Why is Ozil not performing well under Emery? The obvious answer is he's in poor form despite his three goals. Whether that's due to irregular use or his issues with the German national team, one must believe it's a temporary condition. His ascendance will impact the team. Laqcazette and Aubameyang can't ride the crest of their current wave forever. They'll need more support, especially if Aaron Ramsey leaves in the winter window. The Welshman has promised to remain despite the club allegedly pulling a new deal off the table when he had pen in hand.
That said, it's on Ozil to correct his form or he won't find a place in Emery's Arsenal. It's too early to predict whether or not he will. For all the abuse his tendency to disappear invites, he's too good a player for Gunners faithful to wish him well and truly gone.