Arsenal are going to need a lot out of Mesut Ozil, and that means he will have to stare down the headlights coming right for him.
Arsenal ‘s upcoming match against Liverpool is a massive test, and they are going to need all hands on deck to keep this one interesting. And by all hands on deck, that includes arguably their most important player – Mesut Ozil .
When you stick a guy at the No. 10 role, you are essentially telling him that he is the central piece of any given attack. Wingers only have their flank to worry about and strikers stay forward, but No. 10’s are the hinge between harmless, midfield passing and dangerous attacking play.
Ozil is that hinge. He wants to be that hinge, even if he traditionally struggles when too much of the spotlight is on him. But there are a different set of lights coming at Ozil this time. These are headlights.
You often hear the analogy of looking like a deer in the headlights. The deer freezes and doesn’t know what to do so, inevitably, it gets hit by the car.
Liverpool is that car. And their headlights are going to be glaring right at a wide-eyed Ozil as he takes to the pitch today, desperate to not be subbed off early this time around, because I’m not sure he can throw two tantrums in a week.
Not all deers freeze and take then hit though. Some scamper away, untouched, off to live another day. Off to prance around and do magical things, like setting up Alexandre Lacazette for a fantastic game-winning goal.
The point is, Ozil can be fantastic or he can be problematic.
In the past two matches, we’ve seen both sides of the coin. Against Leicester, he’s never been better. Against Crystal Palace, he was anonymous, and that central hinge to the attack was rendered useless.
This crippled the team and gave them significant problems moving forward.
Liverpool won’t allow Ozil to be a passenger in this match. They are going to put the pressure on him and try to keep him frozen in those headlights for as long as they can. It’s up to the German to dance out of danger and make something of it, and needless to say, we kind of need him to.