Ozil's Form Will Become a Headache for Wenger
Mesut Ozil returned to action for the Gunners in Sunday's home match at the Emirates verse Stoke City.
The German World Cup winner replaced Olivier Giroud in the '73 minute, and at 3-0 to the good, it was the perfect low-pressure scenario to reintroduce Arsenal's record signing.
The crowd rose to their feet, offering a welcoming but tepid ovation, a communal gesture filled with uncertainty and hope, as the former Real Madrid playmaker finally returned to the pitch.
Ozil is clearly not match fit after so many weeks off. It is only fair that he be given a run of games before criticism is directed his way. However, Ozil's performances in the weeks ahead may become a major headache for Arsene Wenger. The French manager may soon be facing one of the most violent ticking time-bombs of his career.
Personalities could be set to collide.
If Mesut Ozil does not put in the necessary work-rate for the team during matches, Alexis Sanchez will take issue with his lack of engagement. The chance of an on-field explosion, leading to an extreme division of the locker room, could fester at the Emirates.
The Hatfield-McCoy feud will look like small potatoes compared to the damage an Ozil-Sanchez conflict could cause; therefore, Wenger must not allow Mesut Ozil to become undroppable.
Arsenal supporters can expect the big-money signing to be given a run of games over the course of the next six-weeks. This is reasonable considering the amount of money the Club has invested in Ozil; and there is still a sliver of chance that Ozil can spark the team to a run of consecutive victories, and erase the up-and-down nature of the team's performances thus far in the campaign.
But the facts remain.
There is a sample from last year, and the start of this season, that can be analyzed and used to predict Ozil's impact on the squad and long-term success in England.
The data doesn't look good for Mesut Ozil.
He is hesitant to dig in and defend, to work to regain possesion when a dribble or pass doesn't come off, his athleticism is a concern, and it's safe to assume that his lack of commitment to sustained fitness will lead to another injury before the season concludes. In the mean time, with Aaron Ramsey ready to return, the emergence of Francis Coquelin, and the outstanding play of Santi Cazorla, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Tomas Rosicky it's going to be painful to see who Wenger choses to sacrifice for the German.
Undoubtedly, in the coming weeks, Ozil's form will become a major headache for Arsene Wenger, if it hasn't already.