Wenger’s legacy is fundamental. Free flowing, attacking football by a club with integrity and class.

The Stupid Scapegoating Of Mesut Ozil

Slowly but surely some Arsenal fans, especially the self-appointed pseudo experts who dominate the podcasting and video-blogging sphere, are back to their old habit of finding a convenient scapegoat for the difficulties that face the club.

With Arsenal passing through hard-times, the opportunists and attention-seekers cannot help themselves. This is the perfect opportunity to point the finger of blame at a convenient target.

The club is going through its worst spell in decades. After 25 matches in the EPL season we are 10th in the tables with 6 wins, 13 Draws and 6 Losses. It is the worst series of draws by the club in over a hundred years. Although it is universally accepted that the quality of football has improved under new manager Mikel Arteta, results are yet to catch up with performance. After six EPL matches under the new boss the scorecard reads 1Win, 4 Draws and 1 Loss.

Never let a crisis go to waste

A certain powerful, scheming American politician once said “You never let a serious crisis go to waste.” Thus it was not surprising to me when a certain podcaster finally voiced something he had been hinting at for weeks, i.e. Mesut Ozil is the reason why we are not winning games and the club should move him on. Apparently because Ozil has only one assist so far this season he is the problem.

Seems to me this podcaster and his cohorts are of the belief that, because he is the highest paid player, Ozil should be the “Roy of the Rovers” type of midfielder carrying the club on his back. Thus apart from being our best passer, he should be a ball carrier, box-to-box phenomenon and goalscorer. The fact that the German has always been a technician who excels in finding space, receiving the ball and then making the perfectly weighted pass does not seem to matter.

Decimation of the Arsenal midfield

Yet this is the crux of the matter. Over the past 18-months the Arsenal midfield has been decimated, eviscerated by Unai Emery and his boss Raul Sanllehi. When Wenger left at the end of 2018, the active midfield comprised Ozil, Ramsey, Mikhitaryan, Xhaka, Iwobi and Elneny with Maitland-Niles on the fringes. Cazorla and Wilshere were out with long term injuries and Jeff was on loan. By the beginning of the 2019-20 season the only ones left of that group was  Ozil, Xhaka and AMN. All the others had been sold or let go on a free. Among the losses was the football crime of the century, i.e. the failure to make a penny from the loss of a certain Welshman, who was among the best box-to-box midfielders in England.

Without a balanced team that comprises a phalanx of excellent midfielders, who will allow him to float into space and receive the ball, Mesut Ozil cannot excel. This is a historical fact borne out by Ozil’s record of assists in the EPL since he joined Arsenal at the beginning of the 2013-14 season.

The clear impression from the data is that Ozil excelled during the Wenger era. Even when the club struggled to 5th and 6th place in the Frenchman’s last two years, even when Ozil struggled with a chronic back injury in 16-17 and 17-18, he still finished in double figures when you combine goals and assists; 9 assists/8 goals and 8 assists/4 goals respectively. In contrast ever since the Unai Emery/Raul Sanllehi era, assists and goals have have plunged cliff-like to 2 assists/5 goals and 1 assist/0 goals over the past two seasons to date. In the era of Emery’s “respectball” the midfield was treated like China since the  corona virus, a place that may be important but to be avoided as much as possible. No wonder Ozil’s production has dried up just as it has in China.

Just to amplify the point about Ozil needing a supporting cast around him, especially in midfield, this was more than evident in 2015-16 when he had that phenomenal record of 19 assists and 6 goals. In that midfield was the following:

7      Tomáš Rosický

8      Mikel Arteta (captain)

10    Jack Wilshere*

11    Mesut Özil

16    Aaron Ramsey*

19    Santi Cazorla

20    Mathieu Flamini

34?  Francis Coquelin*

In contrast, the 2019-20 midfield is no comparison in terms of talent and experience:

11    Lucas Torreira

34    Granit Xhaka

29    Mattéo Guendouzi

8      Dani Ceballos

28    Joe Willock

15    Ainsley Maitland-Niles

77    Bukayo Saka

10    Mesut Özil

Of the current lot only Ozil and Ceballos are designated attacking midfielders. Compare the current class to Rosicky, Arteta, Cazorla Ramsey and Wilshere who could advance the ball with either their passing or dribbling thus finding Ozil in space.

Frankly I doubt none of the facts I have raised above matters to the scapegoaters. They are very much the same people who convinced themselves for many years prior to his departure that Arsene Wenger was holding back Arsenal and any replacement would make us better. Just look where that got us.

Stupidity is incurable

An American writer, Robert Heinlein, said about humanity, that “stupidity is an incurable disease”. The full quotation is worth posting:

“Stupidity cannot be cured with money, or through education, or by legislation. Stupidity isn’t a sin, the victim can’t help being stupid. But stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death, there is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity”.


  1. pedantic George @arseblaggerFebruary 10, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    That Arsenalvision podcast is an affront to our intelligence.

  2. Nice one Shotts

    On George’s blog Tim mentioned these rare Almost extinct creatures called Journalists.

    Football Journalist’s in particular the failed novelists like Mmmmm Ronay are the worst, an absolute shower of the human specimen, but they’re not far ahead of The Journalists.

    In general we experience these vessels (can’t really say that they have souls, can we?) as orifices that regurgitate that which they are paid to excrete upon the wider population. usually with enough repetition to drum the message home. through the drum beat of repetition. That’s usually how it all works.

    So at best: The blaggers are just the echo chambers of the Football Journalist. That’s right. The football blagger who aspires to be like Alan Partridge. Yes? I’m not making this up!

    So then, evidentially, the blaggers are the worst of the lot.

    Andrew Jennings is a true reporter and writer. We can say it an investigative journalist:
    he spoke truth to power but it was say twenty years after he started his work and only then when the powers that be chose to allow his story to be covered, that is when the rest of the English media broke his story of FIFA: Blatter blatted off the wrong people in the end, and had to go to for upsetting some of his Masters.

    Same old same old.
    Small mercies for Arteta. But it makes you wonder when the only big Arsenal blagger willing to question don Raul can only snigger like a child because they are too scared to directly repeat what we have been saying here and on George’s blog since BEFORE Raul was even appointed so you can only question their integrity or intelligence as they were only capable of hopping on board with our understanding unforgivably a year and a half or even a decade too late.

    Never mind Andrew Jennings eh? Or Arry Redknapp. Or the fact that the likes of aftv and the other club “fan” Youtubers are funded by INVESTORS! And that as described by artists writers and football lovers of all hues and persuasions over the decades in works like the Damned United these people know nor care anything about the Football. They only care about the money.

    And, with their record and epitaphs we can throw these blaggers into the same bin as that which was proscribed for them by the likes of Clough and Wenger.

    for sure that’s the truth that the WOBs and these blagging wankers will all eventually have to digest my matter how much it hurts them.

    the tools that they are.

    I’m here to watch
    Arteta’s R&W Army! As he’s following in the footsteps of Clough, Wenger (not sure about Young Pep yet, not quite the in their league?)

    • Most of these bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers and their followers are irredeemably stupid as Robert Heinlein observed. It is not a sin, just a defect in human nature. That is why the few rule over the many for centuries. If the Arsenal hierarchy fall for this chronic stupidity the club will go to the dogs. Wenger always said he had clear ideas how football should be played and he didn’t give a damn what the media, fans and others thought. Now that was a genius who would not be swayed by stupid people with stupid ideas. Thank you Arsenal for giving us Nesut Ozil.

      • Even if he’s past his best I am intrigued by how some avoided acknowledging the fourth or fifth best post war spell for the club that coincided with his arrival. Bit like how they avoided talk of Kozza’s and Per’s true quality till long after they’d gone.

        But the fans always sang songs for these players. Even this season at the peak of the Xmas crunch under both Freddie and Mikel before the schedule caught up with his legs the fans were singing for Ozil. Go figure?

        I mean I’ve been impressed by how Luiz coped starting so many games, Xhaka too. But then again they’d had recent breaks so look the less fatigued. Conversely Mustafi and Auba’s recent returns showcase how rusty players can get with just a short break. Who’d be a football manager? Luckily for us it is Arteta.

        Let’s be brutally clear.

        After the Don’s decimations lauded at the time by the aforementioned Idiots do even Everton mown have a better midfield? Perhaps not if we’re only discussing the ideal first choice three but over the course of a season…:

        I think everyone knows the answer.

        To be clear there are good plundits out there at all levels. Even on Talksport!

        Clarke is top top, top, quality as we all know and hopefully continues to operate in his mainstream work as he has done, to continue to be his own plundit: as long as he steers clear of the dreaded couch? Heh. You can only wish him well.

        Arsenal Column the blogger
        Many others

        Even some of the youtubers who have always been upfront about being hacks do not induce vomiting. The wretch bag can rest easy on occasion.

        And that’s just from an Arsenal fan’s perspective.

        There are more.

        But the influence of the bigger broadcasters and media is, well, it is big!
        Including those meek and alleged INVESTORS in “fan accounts”.
        Profound analysis I know.

        Never mind bags no sewer is big enough for such content.

        trying to veer back to the football the story ahead looks interesting. Once we sail smoothly past fourty points the pressure is off hehe and I hope we get a cup run or two.

        Of course there may be some or one at the club hoping for worse…

        • Shotts

          Are we asking too much from people who can’t even simply acknowledge what we can all see on the pitch, the statistically proven excessive kicking that Arsenal Footballers receive in the PL?

          I suppose we are.
          In which case, thanks for this football blog!

  3. Mikel “Daniel” Arteta

    Into the Lion’s Den
    Here’s hoping he finds some useful tools in his Arsenal


    • Rosicky@ArsenalFebruary 16, 2020 at 5:05 am

      Great analysis Shotta .Hope Ozil will prove the critics wrong once again as Arteta implements Wengerball and his players adapt to the system.


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