So, pre-season has finally started at Arsenal and one player I’m happy to see getting a full pre-season behind him is Mesut Ozil. In his four years at the club, Ozil has had a good spell with highs and lows like any other player, but I feel this season could be his best.
In his first four seasons with us, the German has only had one full pre-season in 2015 and that year was by far his best in an Arsenal shirt so far. That season saw us finish 2nd behind Leicester which is still annoying but on an individual level, it was a very good year for our player of the season for the 2015/16.
That year, his goal output wasn’t as balanced as last season but his contribution was still staggering. He almost matched Thierry Henry’s record of 20 Premier League assists in a season but fell just short. However, not reaching that record isn’t entirely his fault as he created 144 chances in the league that year despite only picking up 19 assists. If you cast your mind back too there was a spell when the team had a significant drop in form which was shown through Giroud’s dry patch in which he didn’t score for a few months.
Another point that has to be understood for Ozil’s amazing year is that Alexis wasn’t even playing up top like he was last season. Making 19 league assists with basically one option up front, as Welbeck was injured for a large part of the season and Walcott spent the majority of the season on the wing is a great feat and this season and can see him going a step further.
Going into the 2017/18 season it’s starting to look much more encouraging in terms of attacking options that will surround Ozil than a couple of years ago.
Starting with someone we know is going to be at the club this year, Danny Welbeck, or Dat Guy Welbz if you like. Like Ozil, Welbeck is getting a full pre-season behind him and that can only help him find his rhythm as the season comes closer. With the pre-season games taking place in Australia and China it’ll be interesting to see whether Wenger plays him to the left or more central but surely he and Ozil will be able to strike up some sort of connection in these games which would help at difficult points in the season as its fair to say Welbeck might be more of a rotational option.
Now it’s time for the guys we know are here now, but whether they’ll still be here come deadline day we’ll have to see. First is Alexis Sanchez. A player who already seems to have a good understanding with Ozil but unlike in that 2015/16 season, will probably be playing more centrally in that 3-4-2-1. Playing just behind the main striker and alongside Ozil, all I can see for Alexis if he stays this season is goals. Whether that’s picking up loose balls off the top man or Ozil feeding him passes between the lines for him to finish, this partnership has been cooking for a while and I’m ready to see it come to a boil.
In Olivier Giroud’s case, as we all know, he benefits from Ozil in a different way. The big man who is almost at 100 Arsenal goals helps to show the range in Ozil’s passes mostly making the most of the five-time German player of the year’s crosses which is a great option to have for when games aren’t quite going our way, as we saw on many occasions last season. But hey, with Everton and West Ham interested, maybe it’ll be a different Frenchman that’ll be benefiting from Mesut’s playmaking.
As I’m writing this nothing has been confirmed by the club, but the move seems to be done. You’ve probably guessed who the Frenchman I’m talking about by now… Yes, it is Alexandre Lacazette. Reported to be our new record signing, I can only see him forming a great partnership with the man whose record he’s breaking. Lacazette, unlike our other striking options, has an almost complete array of talents to lead the line and with a maestro like Ozil behind him, the two should be able to create a hatful of goals.
With this deal looking to be completed very early, it’s an encouraging sign. Hopefully, Lacazette will be able to train and play on our pre-season tours and begin to create a bond with our number 11. With Ozil having one of the sharpest minds in the league I’m sure he’d be able to learn Lacazette’s characteristics on the pitch very quickly to create as many chances as possible for him next season, whether that’s threading balls in behind defences for him to run onto or playing clever short passes.
Seeing that all these guys are Arsenal players by deadline day, I’m very confident that Ozil can make the most of this season. Having his second pre-season at the club to get his conditioning right as well as syncing his play with more attacking partners than before is looking very encouraging going into next season. And with Ozil adding goals to his game last season who’s to say that he can’t keep that going next year.
But as we all know anything can happen at Arsenal so nothing is guaranteed and this might not be the case, either way, I hope you’ve enjoyed this and even more so I hope Ozil and co. prove me right, but if not it’s not the end of the world.