The World Cup winner started in midfield as the Gunners looked to build on their 0-0 first leg draw with Besiktas in the Champions League play-off round at the EmiratesMesut Ozil was picked to start against Besiktas on Wednesday evening as Arsenal looked to seal their place in the Champions League group stages for the 2014-15 campaign.
And although the Germany international turned in another underwhelming display for the Gunners, it turned out to be decisive.
|PERFORMANCE AGAINST BESIKTAS|
Having only just returned from his post-World Cup exploits, Ozil’s performance is best examined under the proviso that he is yet to return to full fitness.
Nevertheless, this was a display in which he again struggled to impose himself on a vitally important game. In the first half, in particular, Ozil rarely made himself available and even appeared to slink into the background as attacks built around him.
The one moment where he did get involved saw him create Arsenal’s winning goal, making his previous and subsequent anonymity all the more puzzling.
It may be that he has simply not yet recovered from his exertions in Brazil but he must improve if he is to justify the indispensable status he has been given.
Collecting a deft pass from Jack Wilshere, Ozil returned in kind with a dinked first-time ball into his midfield counterpart on the edge of the box.
The Englishman touched it on to Alexis Sanchez and the Chilean promptly scored his first goal for the club.
The assist may not be credited to Ozil, but he created the chance and unlocked a previously stoic Besiktas defence.
It seems harsh to pick out a passage of play that involved a superb piece of skill, but, having skipped past one challenge superbly, the £42.5 million man completely misread the run of fellow big-money signing Alexis and simply gifted possession to Besiktas.
With the score at 0-0, groans audibly rang around the Emirates and for such a price-tag one would expect far better decision making from the World Cup winner.
|WILL HE FEATURE AGAINST LEICESTER?|
Yes. The Germany international is one of few guaranteed starters – fitness permitting – in Arsene Wenger’s starting XI and that is unlikely to change against the Foxes, despite his patchy display on Wednesday.
Likely to be deployed in a midfield also featuring Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and Wilshere, Ozil will fancy his chances of making a significant impact against the newly-promoted side.
It is worth remembering, however, that Leicester drew with Everton on the opening day and pushed Chelsea to the wire at Stamford Bridge.
As such, Ozil may need to be at his best in what could prove to be a tricky away trip for the Gunners.