How did Mesut Ozil’s Arsenal return go?

Mesut Ozil returned to the Arsenal starting line-up against Cardiff on Sunday after missing last weekend’s victory over West Ham.

Ozil missed Arsenal’s first win under new manager Unai Emery amid reports of a training ground bust-up, but Emery said Ozil was absent simply due to illness.

Here, Football Paradise assesses the midfielder’s performance in south Wales.

Creativity

Ozil made a bright start, threading some precision passes and looking hungry for work as Arsenal overcame some early defensive issues to take an 11th-minute lead through Shkodran Mustafi’s header. Ozil epitomised an Arsenal team often comfortable in possession, and was also at the heart of their counter-attacking game, linking well with Alexandre Lacazette and being involved in approach play for his team’s second goal.

Chances

Cardiff City v Arsenal – Premier League – Cardiff City Stadium
Arsenal goalscorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in action against Cardiff (Nick Potts/PA Wire)

Nothing in the way of clear-cut opportunities, and he was far more content to create chances for the likes of Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who were a handful for Cardiff’s defence all afternoon. At times, Ozil glided through the game, ghosting in behind Arsenal’s chief attacking threats, and a midfield combination with Aaron Ramsey largely worked well.

General play

Chelsea v Arsenal – Premier League – Stamford Bridge
Mesut Ozil returned to the Arsenal starting line-up against Cardiff (Victoria Jones/PA Wire)

Arsenal were rocked by Cardiff’s first equaliser – their first Premier League goal this season – on the stroke of half-time, and Ozil stepped up to the plate as the visitors looked to reassert early second half dominance. On occasions, his final pass just failed to find the intended target, but his involvement and work-rate will have impressed Emery during an 84-minute contribution.

Overall

Arsenal were twice pegged back by a resilient Cardiff outfit seeking a first victory over the Gunners since 1961, and while Emery’s charges often looked vulnerable at the back, Ozil’s work-rate could not be faulted as he marked five years as a Gunners player. It was a game that required high energy and persistence, and he was at the heart of it as Lacazette netted a late winner to secure a 3-2 verdict.

Stay updated with the latest news, gossip and football stories by following us @Football_P

identicon
Football Paradise Staff Reporter

Serving quality football news from around the globe. No click-bait.

Newsletter