Ozil Justifies Selection As Arsenal Return To Winning Ways
Mesut Ozil marked his return to the Arsenal first eleven with a performance to remind coach Emery of his importance in the team. While it wasn’t a commanding performance by any imagination, his influence in the final was the difference between both sides in a game that almost descended into wrestling atimes.
His pass for Arsenal’s first goal was a beauty and brings to the fore while the German is regarded as a generational talent and possibly the best playmaker of his generation. Receiving a short pass from Lacazette at the edge of the Burnley area, any other player would have picked out the easy pass, which was to Aubameyang, but Ozil instead floated a ball to Kolasinac who raced onto it without breaking stride to reverse the ball back to Aubameyang who side footed home.
Ozil’s presence though couldn’t cover all of Arsenal’s problems, evident in the second half when they almost let Burnley back into the game. The team hasn’t found an alternative to Xhaka and have struggled whenever the Swiss isn’t in midfield. Burnley’s beat period of the game came when Arsenal reversed to three at the back and Xhaka dropped deep into to become the third CB. That led to Burnley having the initiative and threatened to get something out of the game until Iwobi restored Arsenal’s two goal lead.
Arsenal are better with Ozil, going forward at least, but still has a lot to do defensively if they want to get into the top four.