Mesut Ozil’s vanishing act a real worry for Arsenal

Trailing 2-0 from the first leg of the Champions League last 16 tie against holders Bayern, it was the perfect stage for Germany playmaker Ozil to deliver a grandstand performance. What transpired, however, was a brief cameo as Ozil vanished at halftime with a hamstring niggle after being virtually invisible for the opening 45 minutes in the Allianz.



By (Agencies)

Published: Thu 13 Mar 2014, 10:54 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 10:41 PM

When Arsenal paid a club record 42 million pounds ($69.84 million) for Mesut Ozil last August it was with nights like Tuesday in Munich in mind.

Trailing 2-0 from the first leg of the Champions League last 16 tie against holders Bayern, it was the perfect stage for Germany playmaker Ozil to deliver a grandstand performance. What transpired, however, was a brief cameo as Ozil vanished at halftime with a hamstring niggle after being virtually invisible for the opening 45 minutes in the Allianz.

Arsenal eventually bowed out after a battling 1-1 draw - Lukas Podolski equalising with a rocket shot after Bastian Schweinsteiger had put Bayern 3-0 up on aggregate - and there season is in danger of fizzling out. After setting the pace in the Premier League Arsenal are now seven points behind leaders Chelsea with a game in hand after registering only one league win in their last four.

Their best bet of ending a nine-year wait for silverware rests with the FA Cup where they face second tier Wigan Athletic in the semi-finals. Manager Arsene Wenger will point to long-term injuries to Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott, while Jack Wilshere is now also sidelined with a broken foot sustained on England duty. He also highlighted keeper Wojciech Szczesny’s red card in the first leg against Bayern as a turning point in the tie.

Ozil’s worrying loss of form will be as perplexing for the Frenchman as his likely three-week lay-off. He has not scored in the Premier League since before Christmas and, more tellingly, his ability to influence games with a range of passing that made him “king of the assists” earlier in the campaign has waned.

His penalty miss against Bayern in the first leg at the Emirates appeared to drain his already fragile confidence and the way he was jeered by Bayern’s fans on Tuesday summed up a horror tie for the former Real Madrid man. Paying so much money for Ozil was always going to be something of a gamble but when he began the season in scintillating form it looked as though the investment could spur Arsenal to silverware.


More news from Football