With Mesut Ozil joining Arsenal with a price tag that obliterates the previous fee of £15 million for Andrei Arshavin in 2009 (although Santi Cazorla joined for a similar fee as well) there is a sense of optimism, and rightly so, amongst the Arsenal faithful.
In the Premier League you finish where you deserve to after 38 games and for the last 8 seasons or so, that has been 4th (with a couple of 3rd place finishes for good measure). To get to that next level, we need to try and break into the Top 2 positions.
I have faith that Ozil’s arrival gives us the belief, strength and ability to do this, and even compete for the Premier League title itself. Below are 5 big reasons why:
1. Mesut Ozil will improve the entire team
The signing of Ozil was greeted with universal approval among Arsenal fans and players alike. Theo, Jack, Rosicky, Sagna and others (including the German contingent) have publicly expressed their happiness after the German’s arrival. But while Ozil adds that touch of class to the team, he will improve others also.
Ozil is used to playing in a Real Madrid side consisting of some of the best players in the world. If you watch any compilations of Ozil on YouTube and you will see the quality of his goals and assists – but the key is that the players around him are on the same wavelength. Cristiano Ronaldo who is one of the best players the world has ever seen, scores so many goals from Ozil assists – but he is extremely intelligent in his movement and finishing. We don’t have anyone like Ronaldo at Arsenal, so it’s down to attackers such as Giroud and Theo (who are going to be the most likely recipients of Ozil’s assists) to step up and improve their running off the ball as wel as their finishing. You cannot expect Ozil to create chances out of nothing just for Giroud to sky them into the stands.
And it’s not just the attackers who will have to improve. The rest of the squad will have to step up and match the quality of Ozil. Just like when Dennis Bergkamp joined Arsenal, the rest of the team learnt and improved from him. We already play some excellent attacking football and we can only get better. Defensively, we need to improve from the opening day of the season (which we have since then in all fairness) because making the same old mistakes is just not acceptable.
2. We have the confidence and belief that we can actually do it
Ozil joining Arsenal wasn’t just a signing to improve the squad, but it was a statement of intent. Spending £42.4 million on a single player is something that we have never done since we moved to The Emirates. For years and years we’ve been patient and been told we need to wait until the stadium has been paid off so we are in a healthier financial position. And now we’ve actually done it. We’ve taken that first step in the Emirates dream that was sold to us.
Because now we’ve spent big that won’t be the end of it. We could spend again in January – and people have already talked about snapping up Luis Suarez in the winter transfer window which does make some sense as he won’t be cup tied in the Champions League. And even if we don’t recruit in January, next summer will be exciting.
Ozil has said in interviews that he was given assurances from the boss that he is building something at Arsenal. We all know Arsene is extremely stubborn but surely he will now add these signings of “super quality” more often over the next few years. And with Ozil in the side can only attract more world class players.
We’ve already heard from the Arsenal players about how happy they are to see Ozil at the club and it will give everyone a massive lift, and the belief that they can achieve something now. And that could give us the extra 10/15 points we need by the end of the season.
3. Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea have new managers
A lot was made of the changes in management for the other Top 4 sides in the Premier League with David Moyes, Manuel Pellegrini and Jose Mourinho coming in this season. The jury is still out on David Moyes, and with the struggles he had with signing players (such as Coentrao, Herrera and Baines) and the draw and defeat to Chelsea and Liverpool, you would think he is going to have a tough season.
Personally, I’ve never been convinced by Moyes and would be surprised if United won the league this season. They have a decent squad but I just don’t think Moyes has the tactical acuman to win the important games. He lost against Wigan with a far superior Everton side last year in the FA Cup when a win would have given him an easy route to the final. The style of football he plays with Everton is a far cry from the slick, attacking play usually show at United and he doesn’t have any credible European experience. He may be a good United manager in a couple of years, but not now.
Pellegrini is a top manager but still finding his feet in the Premier League, and you have the suspicion that his appointment was geared more towards European rather than domestic success. His record in the Champions League is excellent and his superstars at City were found out against newly promoted Cardiff City. They do play a more attacking style this season which we have recently seen, can be more of a risk in terms of results.
Then we come to the Special One. Or the Happy One. Or whatever you want to call him. Chelsea are favourites with the bookmakers and rightly so. For all the Mourinho love shown by every corner of the media it is important not to forget that Mourinho plays boring, negative football. All he cares about is results and nothing more. He played with no strikers at Old Trafford and parked the bus. This is a manager that plays for a draw, and doesn’t want to lose.
Another thing about Chelsea is their squad. It is stronger than ours but in attack they have Torres and Ba – two players Mourinho isn’t convinced by. They have recently signed Samuel Eto’o and he could make a big impression in the Premier League. They also have ageing players in Lampard and Terry, but I’m basically clutching at straws there. I think Chelsea will be the strongest team and if we finish above them I think that would win the title.
4. We should win more games with more possession and more goals
Arsenal already play an attacking brand of football that is easy on the eye, and with Ozil’s influence on the pitch, we should have more possession and more goals. He is the assist master so players like Theo, Giroud and even Podolski should be able to improve on their decent totals last season. Ozil created the most chances in open play than any other player in Europe over the last 5 years and even if we aren’t rock solid at the back, then we should be capable of out-scoring the opposition – in theory.
His ability to create something from nothing could prove decisive, especially in games against the other Top 6 teams in the Premier League which are typically tighter matches.
5. We are into the second season of our home kit and the 10th anniversary of The Invincibles season
There’s nothing wrong with an omen or two and in the Arsene Wenger era, when we won the Premier League titles in 1998, 2002 and 2004, we were into the second season of the latest home strip. And we are into the second season of our current home kit.
And this season is the 10th anniversary of the unforgettable “Invincibles” season. Granted, we can’t do the same this season but how fitting would it be if we won the title exactly 10 years atfer our most memorable season?
Then there was the 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa on the opening day of the season. Manchester United famously lost to Villa on the opening day in the 1995-1996 season, when Alan Hansen famously said you can’t win anything with kids. If these aren’t sure fire reasons then I don’t know what are!