How to kill a player


By Walter Broeckx

After the world cup in Russia in 2018 Özil was the scapegoat of the German media and the fans. He was blamed for all that went wrong. And we know how the media report things is how the more ignorant football supporter will look at the game and will look at players.

Now we also know that the influence of Bayern Munich in German football is very big. And that many pundits and football opinion makers are former Bayern Munich players. So when things go wrong they tend to protect Bayern players and put the blame with non-Bayern players.

Germany had to win  their last match against South Korea at the world cup. But they lost 0-2. Two goals in injury time when Germany was throwing everyone forward sealed the fate of Germany and they were sent home.  Immediately the German media closed ranks and put all the blame at the feet of Özil, while the cold facts showed another story. When other (non Germans) made a deeper analysis of the match they found out that a certain German player created  at least 11 chances for his team. At the time some even called that a world record in a world cup match.

But alas for this creative player all the chances he created were missed. Özil was that creator. And Muller, Hummels and other Bayern players were to blame for the misses. So the Bayern press quickly turned on Özil who as a result gave up on international football. This has clearly hurt him a lot.

And when we look at the way Özil is now treated at Arsenal we see that he gets no more chances to play. It is a somewhat similar position to the German situation. Part of the media has always been against Özil in the last years. Every bad performance (and yes every player has bad performances) has been analysed and the media had a field day in showing how bad he was. When he provided assists and scored goals they found it natural and made no big fuss about it.

Now after half a year we can conclude that Emery loves hard working players. Players that run around (even if it is occasionally like headless chickens) for 90 minutes are mostly in the starting line up. Özil even when fit hardly makes the bench. Now if all this running around were to result in a rise of performances and in a better position compared to last season one could say that Emery has a point. But when we analyse the situation of last season with now we see no real progress. Last season we even went to the league cup final and the Europa league semi final. As things stand we will have a big task next week to beat Bate Borisov as we must make sure we score at least 3 goals.

But with all the defensive minded players we play (who can run around a lot) we hardly create anything in front of the other goal. Emery wants runners in his team and fighters. Now that is fine and the manager has the right to want such players in his team. But the lack of progress doens’t bode well for the moment. Even the fact that Özil usually is a player who runs  a lot on the field doesn’t seem to help him getting in the team. Maybe because the running Özil does is not defensive running around but attacking running around. Özil runs a lot to create room and space for himself and his team mates in order to attack and to create chances.

Now one could say that Özil has to adapt to the wishes of the manager. So Özil should start running around and defend and tackle. Even if he can’t do these things from his natural game. But from what I have learned from following football is that wanting a player to play in a different way usually doesn’t improve the player. I know Wenger could change the way a player played and this improve him. But taking away the creativity of probably one of the greatest creators in our team doesn’t make Özil a better player or helps the team.

I could take the example of Pogba. Mourinho didn’t like the attacking and adventarous way Pogba has been playing all his career. (I could have taken Hazard as another example). Pogba is a player who plays in waves, as I call it. You don’t see him for a while and suddenly he pops up with something unexpected and changes the match. Özil has always been such a player.  And the more Mourinho was trying to change the way Pogba was playing the poorer he became.

And when Mourinho was sacked the first thing (I think) that Solsjkaer told Pogba was: go out and play your game. We all have seen the result. A reborn Pogba has been impressive under their new manager. Because this manager played to his character and to his strengths. 6 goals and 5 assists in some 10 matches or so. Solsjkaer let the Pogba beast go. And he delivered.

I fear that Emery is not playing Özil to his strenghts. I fear that Emerey is trying to change Özil as a player. And as a result (just as with Pogba) you get a player whose performances drop to a scaring low level.

If you have a creative player you have to let him play in a creative way. If you don’t do that then the player becomes useless. Emery wants to see Özil fight and work. Özil probably can’t do this and stay creative at the same time. Because he has to play against his nature.

Now looking at the last matches where we can’t really reach our strikers in a decent way the question is how can we solve this lack of creativity in our attack?

Özil is a player who can create something out of nothing. But you have to give him the freedom to express himself. And without that freedom you get nothing. Özil’s trademark is creating chances (mostly of good quality). If the manager doesn’t to use this creativity we have to be open about it.

We could send him to China and try to free up wages so that the manager can bring in new players next summer. We then would know that we should not expect a lot of this season anymore. Prepare for next season one could say. Or we could play him and let him do what he knows and does best: be creative.

Making a raging bull of Özil is useless. We have more than enough raging bulls on the field. Probably too many in fact. And in lower league football they usually use raging bulls on the field and can be succesful with it. But if I want to see that kind of football I would watch lower league football.

For me the fact that we play a very boring football (despite being the fourth top scoring team in the Premier League – thanks to our good scoring strikers) is because we are not using Özil in our starting line up. Even when we score it is seldom born out of beatiful attacking football. It is more based on luck at times.

But will a player that has been made clear that he is unwanted still want to perform at the top of his game? I can imagine that he is down and feels unnapreciated.

I fear we have killed a top player that could have added a lot to our game this season.

Footnote: This article does in some way challenge the slogan that has been on our masthead for some 10 years – “supporting the manager”.   In a further article we’ll look at whether it is time to reconsider Untold’s long held position of supporting the club, the manager and the team.

25 Replies to “How to kill a player”

  1. I’m with you on this one, Walter, and it makes me very sad. Someone once said Arsene Wenger sends his players out with the words: I trust you. We need more of that.

  2. Lol, are you guys for real? Welcome to Le Untold. I remember someone asking when Wenger was sacked, that how long will it take for untold to turn on the new manager, well, it seems the answer is “half a season”. Good one Walter, welcome to the AAA. When do you want us to conduct your induction ceremony?

    The article doesn’t just go against the untold rule of always supporting the manager, it also breaks the rules of;
    1. Thou shalt not read other peoples minds -claiming to know exactly why Emery hasn’t been using Ozil
    2. Thou shalt provide evidence For every assertion- article just full of opinion

  3. I’ve been a big fan of Özil for years and yes, i agree with your article. Just one point: Arsenal can’t send him to China against his own will. And i feel Mesut won’t want. And a talent like his is right to say No.
    You should also talk about Ben Arfa and what happened in PSG under UE. He stayed 14 months out of the squad for reasons nobody knows. Starting with Ben Arfa himself who is suing his former club nowadays because he rightly thinks that this period of non activiy was damageable for his career.

  4. Thanks Walter,

    I agree completely with this article. Ozil has been one of my favorite players since the 2010 World Cup and I also find it shocking he is not used more.

    Part of the problem I think is Emery adjusting to the each match. For example, when we were facing a relegation battling team recently at home, Emery said something along the lines of that he expects the team to come out and attack us.

    All of us know from past years that these teams do not attack against us but park the bus and try to hit us on the counter. Wenger knew this and always had a playmaker (Ozil, Cazorla, etc) on the field to unlock a defense.

    I wonder he feels this way about every team resulting in our creative players being benched.

  5. I speak German and watched most of the world cup on German because they just have a commentator during the match.

    The post world cup analysis from the studio heads and former coaches was very critical of the way the DFB handled Oezil.

    On one show they had a phone poll and 94% blamed Loew for the fiasco. Lots of supporters singled out a few Bayern players as the problem. The most noticeable of these was Thomas Mueller and Mats Hummels. The coaches also could not understand why Kimmich was playing where he was.

    I must say Oezil seemed to be uninterested and indecisive during the world cup but I think that had more to do with the disharmony within the German team than his attitude.

    The most amazing thing for me was that Germany won the Confed cup with younger players but then went back to the “oldies” for the world cup.

    Maybe he was a little naive in meeting with Erdogan, but saying that he has been unfairly pilloried.

    Why is that for a team game individual players can be criticised when there appears to be a team problem.

    Re an earlier comment on this site I am sure that Martin Keown used to play for arsenal, but if you listen to the pea brain all he does is criticise Arsenal. Nice to have “friends” who stab you in the back.

    I say this as a non Arsenal supporte but as someone who has finally found a forum where football is discussed in an intelligent manner. Thanks guys

  6. Agree with the Ozil parts of the article, but I hope it’s just an injury problem or sickness that has kept Ozil out, maybe his back problem from last season is worse than first thought and Arsenal is just hiding it from the media.

    Let’s give UE time guys and give him our full support. I admired AW and fully supported him but now he’s moved on and we have a new manager. Let UE have chances in the transfer windows to bring the players he think will suit his ideas. This is the only site I participate in and I don’t want it to be like other sites full of negativity and hate.

    Some of the WOBs were idiots, so I trust most of the regulars here will not go to their level. Remember it’s a roller coaster ride so let’s enjoy it.

  7. I would really like to support UE as much as I did AW, but he’s making it really difficult so far.

  8. @Ojo, turn on the new manager? all Walter said is Emery is not playing Ozil more and only some people inside the club knows the real saying that turn on the new manager. u said something about evidence but most of your claim in this and other post is base on your speculation. i also agree with @Polo. let’s give Emery time and full support. this is a new chapter for the club and we have to fully accept it whether we like it or not

  9. Society has a tendency to think that everything comes bundled up in compact bundles. For me, the biggest indicator is this incessant use of the word “normal” in statistics. There is no “normal” distribution, but there is a Guassian distribution.

    If outliers are present more often than expected, it is often that your expectations are wrong. You need a distribution with more “tails”.

    Mesut is an outlier. I am an outlier. Employers often don’t know what to do with someone who is outside of +/- 3 standard deviations from the median. Who studies events that happen on the ppm scale?

    Mesut is a gift. Don’t waste him.

    And this has nothing to do with turning on the manager.

    If Suarez (or Iwobi or …) has the ability to pick up some of Mesut’s traits, and work better with what UE wants to do; then maybe they can show this next season or this season if Mesut gets hurt or sick?

    Acknowledge diversity.

  10. Even Mourinho, who famously did not trust Pogba, Mata (twice!), Martial, Salah, De Bruyne, Hazard, Robben, and numerous other greats from the last decade had no problem placing his faith and trust in Ozil.

    Think about that!

    I don’t any of us have any interest in attacking or defending this circumstance at AFC.
    But we can try to understand it.

    Who is Raul Sanhelli? What is he doing at AFC?

    Raul Sanllehi, January 2014

    This quote is not included in his intriguingly brief wiki entry.
    Obviously from before the courts found the club guilty. Sounds like a stand up fellow. I wouldn’t recommend standing up for him.

  11. Moving on from gloating at the Akbs, let me talk about Ozil.
    I believe Ozil has attitude issues which may be at the heart of his problems with Emery.
    Inspite of what Walter would have us believe, the entire German team was pilloried back home for their world cup performance, perhaps players like Boateng, Muller more than others. Ozil and Gundogan were extra criticized for their shenanigans with the Turkish President and rightly so. Gundogan quickly did the right thing, got his explanation out there on time, Ozil didn’t. Of course after such an abject performance, its natural for the commitment of the entire team to be questioned, if you’re frolicking with Presidents of other nations, you can’t complain of your commitment/loyalty is questioned. Then he came out with accusations that even other half Germans in the team including gundogan have said are not true. That without the courtesy of discussing his issues with the manager. The last straw was when loew tried to talk to him in London and he refused. All these show me that he seems to behave like a spoiled brat. He should man up, take criticism like a man, ask people like Gundogan how its done.
    The latest is him liking a post criticising the coach…that will not do him any good. He should get over himself, just because he earns so much doesn’t make him too precious.
    Its just my opinion, AKBs don’t kill me

  12. @Ojo, just another speculation by u. so what if he took the picture with the Turkish president. just because he took the picture with a leader who happen to be a muslim and president of a country where his parents came from gave u the right to condemned and hate him. are u one of the people who forget their roots and feeling ashamed where u came from. how did Ozil behaving like a spoiled brat just like u claim. is he refuses to train or what reason, just gave me the proof. i said proof not your stupid speculation or what u think. if u can’t gave me that proof just stop with your childish accusation and hating on others just because of their religion. u start looking like a racist assh0l- and what he earn is not a discussion because Arsenal decided to gave him that contract plus u can shove your 2cent opinion up your a55

  13. @bushido like I said, I understand when AKBs go into spasms when one of their precious is touched. But I don’t know the evidence you’re looking for, is it evidence that he went public with accusations against the German FA and team without the courtesy of discussing it with the coach? Or that Joachim loew sought him out to talk with him and he refused to show up? Or that he liked a post criticizing his treatment by Emery? If you don’t debate any of these, then allow me to infer from these that the young man has a childish attitude.
    Resorting to abuse doesn’t show you in good light, but you can abuse me all you want, its easy to do hiding behind a keyboard

  14. Ojo that’s a tall bag of garbage you are hauling around. You should take a rest now and then. Clearly you don’t like Ozil and that’s okay, but in my opinion Emery looks like the Mourinho type of duck. It’s unfortunate that neither he nor Tony Pullis would appreciate Ozil’s style of play. So his reaction is to bench him even when the team has no obvious substitute. I suppose Emery would have played Sanchez had he still been around because Sanchez runs all over the pitch.

    It should have been obvious to anyone watching Germany at the last world cup that their strategy was not going to work. Ozil provided the chances, they spurned them and suddenly the German media and public had to find someone to blame. Did Lowe rush to defend Ozil? He wouldn’t have had to had he played some of the youngsters on the bench.

    If you think we are going to get anywhere with our new coach I’d suggest you take a look at cricket.

  15. Ojo, it seems like the site has attracted another of those people only worth ignoring. You’re not one of those previous people under another name are you?

  16. mikeinatlanta – I don’t disagree with your comment but I do think Emery deserves a chance. I don’t think there is animosity between UE & MO but there are issues that are preventing his inclusion in the team. I’m sure we will see our team back in full flow soon. It might be too late to get a trophy but at least the quality will return.

    Despite the more even playing field we have had this season in the EPL, there are poor officiating decsions that have impacted our game. How this standard of officiating has been tolerated across the EPL is astounding.

  17. UE doesnt want a player who can change a game either with a defence splitting pass or by simply changing direction like Ozil can do at will,players of Ozils calibre dont run around like headless chickens but watch and wait for a chance to pick out a player with a pass,remember Bergkamp or Pires in their heyday could do the same wether it was THE 1ST or last minute of a match.Do we want to go back to the bad old days of the early eighties or do we keep and enjoy a player of Ozils class.

  18. I do miss having Ozil in the team. He brings another dimension to our play. Hope he is fit to go on to play soon.
    I have no issues with UE , and have not been disappointed wuth the players he has brought in.Am willing to stand by him and give him his time to set it right.
    Just hope they gel well and soon and start winning the way we are accustomed to. With speed and beautiful passing.
    Up the Gunners !

  19. As for posing and appearing with the leader of the country of your parents’ birth , what did he do wrong really?

    Why are so pissed off with their photo shoot ?What did any of them do to you or to your family, community or country ? Or is that that you are chosing to follow the mob and the crooked media agenda?

    As I see it , the western countries who tried to destabilise that country by ‘formenting’ a failed pro – west coup , are more culpable and guilty of crimes , more than the elected leader . Unpopular as he may be.

    How happy are you really with your own leaders , and your governments ? Do they gladen your hearts with hope , or dread and uneasyness?

    How hopefull are you for your own country’s future? What are YOU personally doing to eithet better it or improve it ?

    Have a Klt- Kat and mull it through .
    Bon appetit !

  20. Now, Ozil is a gem. We have tested him and the proof was that he got a bumper contract. Emery however could succeed of fail, that’s left to be seen. But if he chooses to bench our most creative player because he feels he doesn’t work hard enough (even though there is evidence to prove that he always in the top 5 of players who covered the most distance at Arsenal) is foolish at best. This has nothing to do with the world cup. He appreciates hardworkers over brains and that makes me question his intellect as a manager to take us forward.

  21. Now, Ozil is a gem. We have tested him and the proof was that he got a bumper contract. Emery however could succeed of fail, that’s left to be seen. But if he chooses to bench our most creative player because he feels he doesn’t work hard enough (even though there is evidence to prove that he always in the top 5 of players who covered the most distance at Arsenal) is foolish at best. This has nothing to do with the world cup. He appreciates hardworkers over brains and that makes me question his intellect as a manager to take us forward.

  22. Wow! Olutomi akinsanya and sleekwhale, one person. An AKB, who’d have guessed. This accusation used to be reserved for the WOBs.

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