There’s no denying that there’s a whiff of the undesired when you look at the Europa Leagues. During the early stages of the tournament before the dream of claiming victory to qualify for the prestigious Champions League, the implication could be that players requested to appear in a match are not in favor with the manager in terms of his first-choice of 11 players.
With that in mind, it wasn’t unexpected that Mesut Ozil started for Arsenal after Unai Emery named him for the squad. This was the first time since the 26th of December 2018 during their 3-0 win when they faced BATE Borisov in the Europa League round of 32.
The never-ending saga of Mesut Ozil’s career at Arsenal remains intensely curious and is something that would make absolutely no sense to anyone that is unfamiliar with the inconsistent nature of football. A little over a year ago, Mesut Ozil signed an attractive new contract with Arsenal. However, since Unai Emery took over from Arsene Wenger, Ozil’s stock has fallen.
However, this match witnessed him back in the squad, taking the number 10 role, just behind Aubameyang. This provided the perfect chance for Unai Emery to give Mesut Ozil another opportunity on the field. The match was not as important as other games. However, after a 1-0 defeat at the hands of BATE during the first-leg, there was just enough danger to suggest that he was getting a serious opportunity.
“It was such an amazing feeling to walk on the pitch again,” Mesut Ozil stated on Twitter following the match. In an era where social media is analysed and over analysed thereafter, it was quite refreshing to see his words point to a statement that essentially said: “Great to be back in the game, it’s about time.”
Even if Unai Emery was not impressed, Ozil is still an immensely popular player in various quarters once his name was announced before kickoff. Ozil was greeted by welcoming cheers from his home fans, and it provided an extra layer of excitement to the game in the process.
The Match Against BATE
From the previous performances provided by Ozil in the last five years with Arsenal, perhaps the recent game where he was featured for a full 90 minutes proved why. Mesut Ozil is one of the best players in the world but had little impact in his recent game. This is the main reason why he is a frustration to fans and his manager.
Ozil was predominantly in the background for most of the match, occasionally making an appearance to provide a neat pass or pleasantly combining with Alex Iwobi. However, there was nothing more from him when he made his debut for the first time in 2019.
Ozil played well, and he was exceptional throughout the game. However, when you have a manager that is looking for more than just fine, it’s certainly not good enough.