When Ozil arrived at Madrid, he immediately took over the position that was tailored for Kaka in 2010 and never looked back. In 103 league matches for Real Madrid he has scored 19 goals and added 55 assists. He was a huge part in Real Madrid winning the title in 2012, and pretty much anything good that's happened over the last three years, which mostly ends up being second place and a Champions League semifinal.
Since we all know about the incredible genius and his qualities, I've decided to show some guts and come out with some of his weak points. I'll get straight into his weaknesses and how the German can become (even more) better.
I tried to point out Ozil's quite visible weaknesses last season and how poorly he played in some games. But the argument and debate didn't go far as Ozil was instantly defended by phrases like " A number 10's job is cursed because when he does not have an assist to his name, his performance is ultimately labeled as bad". If not this, then suddenly someone appears with his assist numbers and makes it as a pointer of his powers.
I think this argument is flawed. So to take this discussion further, I'm gonna set Juan Mata of Chelsea as the bench mark because for me Mata is the best Number 10 in the world (and I'm a huge Arsenal fan btw). Ozil having more assists than him doesn't automatically make him a better player in my opinion. Firstly, one could argue that Ozil has had one of the deadliest attacking players in front of him (includes Ronaldo ofcourse) for the last 3 seasons so he was inevitably gonna have those numbers. Similarly you can't have this arguement for Mata because he was feeding Torres for most part of the season. So there is obviously gonna be a difference in assist numbers.
You see the place where Mata edges Ozil for me is his incredible consistency and his ability to constantly take control of the midfield. He is also a much better finisher , which is yet another problem for Mesut. His lack of ability to convert chances. Give him the chance to set someone up for a goal? He'll almost always deliver the right pass. Give him the chance to score one on his own? While he is granted plenty of opportunities in the very aggressive Real attack, he rarely converts at the rate he should be.
Ozil missing open chance against Dortmund. via img.bleacherreport.net
The reason which I think Ozil had a poor last season was because of his games in which he was MADE to look anonymous. The thing we saw with Ozil was that he was easily bullied of the park and hence had no control over the game. Ozil wasn't poor because Benzema or Ronaldo were missing chances, it was because Ozil couldn't make himself more involved in the game. In most of his bad games you could see that Ozil was wandering around for most of the match because he was either marked or he couldn't collect passes from Alonso and Khedira. Which leads us on to the next section.
Not being part of the Transition
Alonso being closed down by Dortmund players.
We saw all too often last season, especially against teams like Dortmund and United, that once Alonso was closed down, all of Madrid's flow was literally thrown out of the window. The game and passing and fluidity almost suddenly seemed to stop with the suffocation of Alonso. Because everything, whether attacking to defending, seemed to go through him. He was the only link between the defence and the attacking third. And that is why once again I would refer to the style and influence on the midfield of Juan Mata. One thing which Mata (and Modric too for that matter) is extremely good at is that you can't take him out of a game, because of his constant involvement with the midfield. When he isn't receiving the ball, what Mata does is that he drops deep to collect the ball and then dictate the game from there. The other thing which he is good at that even though he is small and lightweight like Ozil, he can get away from his markers quite beautifully. That is another ability which I personally think Ozil lacks. Also I would like Ozil to drop deeper when he isn't receiving service and try to dictate the game from there instead of constantly trying to thread killer passes by roaming in the final third of the pitch. That for me was a constant persistent problem last season.
The Arrival of Isco
The arrival of Isco has brought great excitement to Madrid this season. Or a problem depending how you see it. Isco might be a threat, but that depends on Ancelotti. Isco is faster, more physical and can play in more positions than Ozil. The question is how Ancelotti takes care of the tactical end. Will he play with wingers like Real Madrid did during the Mourinho years, or will it be the approach we saw during his time with PSG and AC Milan, which uses more central-oriented players, who drift wider according to the opposition - similar to Kaka and Clarence Seedorf playing together.
Isco and Ozil might work together, but it wouldn't be surprising to see the two competing for the same role, and Isco being the one moved around. With Callejon gone and Angel di Maria proving to be not as trustworthy as in the past when it comes to his fitness and ability, the right side is open for takeover. Isco, unlike Ozil, can also play in a more central role if necessary, which he has done a few times for Malaga. Also Isco's versatility and Ozil's ability to play on the right flank may also help in easing the problems. Ozil might be favoured to start in the middle, but he can interchange positions with Isco within the game without any of them losing effectiveness in their impact on the match. Also this will keep the opposition guessing and make our midfield more difficult to mark and close down.
Is Isco in general a better player? Too soon to tell, but it would be safe to proclaim that his previous season was better than the one Ozil had. Will it cost Ozil his place in the lineup? Too soon to tell as well, but that option can't be counted out.
Now before all the ‘Ozillators' start bombarding me :p, I would like you reaffirm that I'm a Madridista just like you all and I want nothing else but the best for our beloved Mesut. Pointing out his problems can only make him get better. That is also why I would like you guys to reply to this if you have different views so that we can discuss it further.
Thanks for reading.