Google the name of Mesut Özil right now and you see a man who is under fire in the media, by Arsenal fans and his own manager. Özil’s performance on Wednesday night in the Champions League clash with Bayern Munich was less than stellar and his stock is quickly falling.
It was obvious to anyone watching that Özil lost all confidence after he missed a penalty kick in the seventh minute of Wednesday night’s match. Even Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger stated as much: “Özil’s head dropped and he was affected by it,” Wenger said. “He wanted to do so well tonight and it affected him. Five or 10 minutes later on the pitch and he was shaking his head still.”
This is not a good sign for the man that Wenger paid £42 million for this past summer which made him the most expensive German footballer of all time. Even fellow countryman Michael Ballack, never one to mince words stated: “Özil did not look confident; he walked to the ball slowly, so maybe there is someone who wants it more, but there wasn’t”.
Of course Özil is not the only one to blame for Arsenal’s loss. Wojciech Szczesny being sent off before half-time for fouling Arjen Robben in the area did not help matters even though David Alaba clanked the penalty kick off the post. There is also enough blame to go around which includes the manager. Wenger, knowing that Özil was struggling after his penalty miss could have substituted him instead of Santi Cazorla as Lukasz Fabianski replaced Szczesny in goal.
All players lose confidence or hit a stretch of bad form in their careers. It is a part of the game that will always be there. Sometimes it can be as simple as scoring a goal or a great pass that sets up a goal. Özil has had a bad couple of months but this is no reason to count him out. If Arsenal had came back and scored or held Bayern Munich to a nil-nil draw, would we then be crucifying David Alaba for his missed penalty?