He is one of the players who ran the most [in the Bayern game]. He’s a very offensive player and he’s not used to doing so much dirty work but he did it and I’m very proud of him because he gave everything until the last minute. Everyone is behind him and, like I said before, he’s one of my closest team-mates. We do everything together here and I feel close to him. On the pitch and outside the pitch. Everyone is very happy to have him here because he’s such a talented player and I don’t understand why people are hard on him.”
The attacking midfielder missed a crucial penalty in Wednesday's 2-0 Champions League defeat against Bayern Munich and was rounded on by Mathieu Flamini and Jack Wilshere in the second half for failing to track forward runs.
And Ballack fears his compatriot has not been completely accepted by the rest of Arsene Wenger's team.
"With his quality he should be untouchable and bring out so much in the team. But it looks like he does not have the acceptance of the team," he told Sky Sports.
"When he came to Arsenal there was so much expectation with the quality he has. The first games he looked good, played well and was comfortable.
Bayern captain Lahm has been almost exclusively used as a holding midfielder by Pep Guardiola and is the lynchpin of the Bavarians’ side. Most of their play starts with the 30-year-old but on Wednesday he will also be tasked with shackling Arsenal’s most potent attacking threat, Mesut Ozil. It is not a case of stop Ozil and you stop Arsenal but if Bayern and Lahm can shackle the playmaker, as Borussia Dortmund did in London in the group stage, they will go a long way to preventing service to Olivier Giroud and co. Lahm and Ozil, of course, are Germany international teammates and will know all about each other’s games. An intriguing battle awaits.
The captain of the German champions, who knocked Arsenal out of the Champions League at this stage of the competition last season, says Ozil is a "very intelligent player" and went on to sing his praises.
"Many of the players at Bayern know exactly what Mesut is capable of - he has been one of the best central midfield players in the world for many years now,"
Take a look at Ozil’s heat map and you can see, he tried his best to influence the proceedings. He scythed pass to Oxlade-Chamberlain opened up the Liverpool defence completely leading to the second goal for the Gunners.
The German playmaker, 25, showed glimpses of rediscovering his best form in the 2-1 Emirates win.
MIDDLE MEN: Mesut Ozil battles with Steven Gerrard [EPA]
Ozil admitted to Germany's Bild newspaper that it hasn't been all plain sailing at Arsenal. He said: "I'm going through a test of character here. "I have so much self-confidence as a player that I am ready now to take the next step. "But first you have to get used to the intensity of the Premier League."
“I’m a guy who loves these games. I have huge respect for Bayern,” the
25-year-old attacking midfielder told German daily Bild.
“They have got even better in comparison with last year, but we won’t hide
from them. Anything is possible over two games.”
Aside from the Gunners’ quest for the Champions League and Premier League
title -- they are second a point behind Chelsea -- Ozil’s personal goal is to
win June’s World Cup in Brazil.
“Anyone who has ever played at Real will always want to win titles,” said
“When you’ve prepared so hard and intensively for a World Cup as we have,
then your goal isn’t to finish second or third.”
5. Big commercial value This is not just about shirt sales, which have been huge since the German’s arrival, but Ozil also makes Arsenal attractive to advertise with.
He’s a young, exciting and very saleable star player who will be heading the club’s new kit deal with Puma. He can help Arsenal grow in different regions of the world – plus help pay for his transfer fee.
3. Good numbers – in context Ozil has been branded a flop already, but despite the player yet to fully dominate and run a match, his numbers are actually pretty good.
Especially when you compare them to other play-makers during their first season. In his opening 20 matches, Ozil has four goals and eight assists. Compare that to David Silva, widely considered an instant success, it took him 30 matches to reach four goals and seven assists.
2. Matched Arsenal’s philosophy It’s difficult for any new player coming to the Premier League to adapt and understand a new team’s style, but Ozil has not had his issue.
He’s immediately become comfortable with the pass-and move style and has bought into the developing of young players and the efforts of the club. He needed a quick telling off to go and clap the fans after defeat at Man City, but now firmly understands what it’s like to be a Gunner.
1. Influence on others Arsenal were a good team last season, but the squad was not strong enough to battle for the title – probably even with Ozil’s arrival.
But not only have his goals and assists helped keep the Gunners up there, but his mere arrival has boosted the whole squad. After seeing such a top player arrive, the squad now believes it can battle for honours and that’s given everybody a huge buzz.
‘If Ozil is playing here we must be good,’ has been the chatter around London Colney. And that extra belief has been invaluable on a squad that has been hugely criticised in the past.
While Mesut Ozil has been subject to a press shellacking for the contrast in his recent performances against those he returned when he first started striding out in an Arsenal kit, the German's most recent outing, versus Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium earned him the man of the match ball.
Had box-to-box midfielder Aaron Ramsey or wing wizard Theo Walcott not been occupying the physio's room and were instead on the pitch on Wednesday evening, then Ozil's creativity, his ability to control the ball, get away from any United man closing him down and play in a man running through may well have been rewarded with an assist to a goal, rather than a chance.
As it was, Ozil only really had Olivier Giroud to target, which thus limited his options for the killer blow. Regardless, Ozil still created seven chances, with six of those leading to a shot which struck the target. It took the entire Manchester United eleven on the pitch to accumulate just four chances which led to two shots on target.
It’s fair to say that Mesut Ozil did not have the greatest of days as he was hauled off after an hour in Arsenal’s 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Liverpool.
His recent poor form has not gone unnoticed by Arsenal fans and there were some opinions raised upon the German midfielder over Twitter come the end of a game to forget for Gunners’ fans.
We pick the best Tweets on display about Arsenal’s record signing. We’ve tried to keep it clean… ５－１で完敗したリヴァプール戦、60分で交代となったエジルには決して良い出来ではなかったと言えるだろう。 ここ最近の彼の不調にアーセナルファン達が気付かないはずがない。 試合後、ガナーズファン達にとって忘れてしまいたい試合の後、エジルに関していくつかの意見がツイッタ―上に寄せられていた。 いくつかのツイート拾っておくことにする。
But what do the stats suggest? Was Ozil as bad in this match as he has been made out to be?
Ozil did actually complete 89% of his passes to knock suggestions that he was of a sloppy nature, but with just one key pass in 60 minutes is well below his average as failed to make a significant impact.
And with Arsenal being overrun by Liverpool, he made just the one tackle to aid his team, while he failed to make a single defensive action.
The icing on this rather inedible cake however is two defensive errors that directly led to a goal as he was caught out for Liverpool’s third and fourth goals, with no player having made two in a game so far this season.