The life of a professional footballer is an incredibly odd one
Riches beyond the wildest dreams of many and the admiration from old and young alike
They have become the envy of the World
However they are constantly subject the criticism of the media
In this day and age it has become far too easy for people to share a disparaging opinion about a player with the prevalence of social media
Many footballers have fallen victim to negative press from both fans and the media and this can often be incredibly damaging to a playerÂ’s confidence, denting their form further.
Many players have been forced to leave the Premier League because they feel they arenÂ’t fully respected by the fans and media while it could be claimed that the media had a large role in the sacking of Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
There are many players which have used the criticism to drive themselves on though
Where some have crumbled under the criticism others have thrived
Mesut Ã–zil is one such player that has endured his fair share of criticism
Ã–zil joined Arsenal in 2013 for around Â£42.5 million from Real Madrid
This transfer was widely regarded as the true beginning of ArsenalÂ’s title challenge
The German was a pass-master at Real and it was reported that even the mercurial talent of Cristiano Ronaldo was disappointed at RealÂ’s decision to sell Ã–zil, RealÂ’s best assister
Ronaldo lamenting Ã–zilÂ’s exit is quite possibly the highest praise the German could hope for
However Ã–zilÂ’s move has not been one without a few hiccups
In the 2013/14 season he only managed nine assists along with five goals in 26 appearances
This was in comparison to 13 assists and nine goals in 23 games for Real Madrid the season before
His 2014/15 season was an incredibly poor one for a player of his quality as he only managed five assists and four goals in 21 games
For someone as talented as Ã–zil, 14 assists and nine goals in 47 games
Ã–zilÂ’s performances had not yet warranted a price tag of over Â£40 million and he was finding it difficult to impose himself in England in a league which is far more physical and fast paced than La Liga.
Ã–zilÂ’s struggles were compounded by the media off the pitch
His stumbling performances were incredibly well documented with many questioning whether he was in fact the same class of player that had played at Real
His talent was questioned further by those on social media
Multitudes of fans, and not just Arsenal supporters, questioned his worth to the team and whether his enormous price tag was hanging heavily over his head
However there were many Arsenal fans which defended him stating that many of the best players have struggled in their dÃ©but season and some just take time to adjust to the pace of the Premier League
Those Arsenal fans, along with manager Arsene Wenger, who stuck by Ã–zil citing that form is temporary and class is permanent have been rewarded hugely this season
The German has been prolific this season with 15 assists and two goals in 16 games registering 0.93 assists per game, nigh on an assist every game
Taking into account his struggles in the last two seasons, this is an enormous improvement in the GermanÂ’s output for the team.
Mesut Ã–zil is fast becoming one of ArsenalÂ’s most important players, if not the most important
The relevance of Alexis Sanchez to Arsenal cannot be underestimated though as the Chilean was instrumental for Arsenal last season as he registered 16 goals and eight assists in 35 games
While he was ArsenalÂ’s best player last season he has struggled for form due to the injuries which have stunted his campaign this term
Six goals and a single assist is a fairly good output from 14 games and it is quite likely that Sanchez would have added to this tally if he were fit
Arsenal have been without Sanchez since the 1-1 draw with Norwich and Ã–zil has been able to maintain both his own form and the form of his team in the Chileans absence
Four victories in four games including the 3-0 Champions League away victory over Olympiacos have kept Arsenal in the hunt both domestically and abroad with Ã–zil registering four assists in four games since SanchezÂ’s injury displaying Ã–zilÂ’s importance to the team.
Sanchez has reportedly been ruled out until after the turn of the year meaning he will miss the festive games against Southampton, Bournemouth and Newcastle United with Wenger hoping he will be back in time for their clash against Liverpool on the 13th of January
Last season the loss of Sanchez would have quite likely coincided with a drop in ArsenalÂ’s form and a loss of points and places in the league would ensue
However Arsenal currently sit second in the league, two points behind Leicester and four clear of Manchester City whom they beat 2-1 in their final game before Christmas
Usually the loss of Sanchez and other key players including Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin would culminate in a loss against Manchester City with ArsenalÂ’s injuries playing a pivotal role in the loss
However Ã–zil has been instrumental in keeping the Gunners in the title hunt
Ã–zil has assisted in every single Premier League game dating back to the 2-0 defeat against Chelsea with the exception of the 1-1 draw with Norwich
That is at least one assist in every game dating back to the 26th of September
That is almost three months of assists while he has also managed two assists in the games against Swansea and Manchester City
Ã–zilÂ’s start to the 2015/16 season has been one of the most fruitful of his career
He has helped Arsenal cope with a plethora of injuries to key players
He has also aided in the prevention of Arsenal being knocked out in the group stage of the Champions League and has helped to elevate them up to second in the Premier League table
Ã–zil seems to be finally fulfilling the potential that Arsene Wenger obviously saw in him
The improvement in Ã–zilÂ’s form have not only vindicated the player himself, but it has also validated WengerÂ’s decision to spend over Â£40 million on the player
Wenger has in the past been sectioned off by fans and criticised for either his refusal to spend or the fact he is not demanding the release of enough funds in the search to improve his squad
With the selling of star players such as Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna, Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie in recent years, the Gunners were labelled as a selling club by rivals with their best players leaving for pastures new
The criticism of Wenger has been very forthcoming in the long trophy-less years with many questioning whether he maintained the ability to successfully mastermind a season long title challenge
However his decisions in recent seasons finally seem to be coming to fruition
Wenger was criticised most prominently for his lack of big name signings in recent years.
This season has portrayed the superb foresight that Wenger has through the fact that he has two of the best performing players of this season in his squad in Mesut Ã–zil and Petr Cech while he also has one of the most talented players in the league in Alexis Sanchez looking to return to the team in the new year
The three afore mentioned players are the biggest name signings Wenger has made in recent years and they are all justifying the money spent on them along with the trust bestowed upon them shown through WengerÂ’s refusal to spend huge sums of money on a multitude of players.
The manager seems to have instead focussed on quality over quantity and that is paying dividends
Ã–zilÂ’s shaky start was very reminiscent of Petr CechÂ’s first game for Arsenal in which they were beaten 2-0 by West Ham with the goalkeeper at fault for both goals
Since then the Czech Republic International has put in a number of man of the match performances domestically and in Europe culminating in Arsenal having the joint best defensive record in the Premier League, only conceding 14 goals, the same as Tottenham and Manchester United
Many questioned WengerÂ’s decision to spend Â£10 million on the 33 year old citing his age as a major issue
However Cech has repaid WengerÂ’s faith in abundance bringing both superb performances along with leadership and experience to a team that needs a title winning mind in their squad
He has so far proven Wenger as correct in only bringing in one player in the summer transfer window.Cech has been able to reinforce the superb work that the entire Arsenal team has put in this season with Ã–zil in particular coming in for heaps of praise
With all this combined does it mean Arsenal will win the title this reason? This campaign seems to be ArsenalÂ’s to lose
Leicester City have been superb but their title challenge hinges on whether they can cope over the hectic festive period and into the new year when injuries begin to creep into a squad which is far smaller then that of the bigger teams around them.
The Gunners also beat their main title rivals Manchester City in a game which seemingly spelt the start of a new Arsenal, one which can score the silky and picturesque goals whilst also being able to defend a lead without many of their first choice players, which is exactly what they did against City
If Ã–zil can continue his form too then there is no reason why Arsenal canÂ’t win the league
The German will also have Arsenal legend Thierry HenryÂ’s record of 20 assists in a season in his sights and if he can reach, and eclipse that total then no one will bet against Arsenal lifting the trophy this year
However former Arsenal man Cesc Fabregas was also in superb assisting form last season and seemed on course to beat HenryÂ’s record only for the Spaniard to fall away in the latter part of the season, eventually finishing on 18 assists.
It is still a long way to go for Arsenal with 21 games left to play while they do have a history of struggling when they are marked as the favourites
They will be quietly confident about their chances though with impressive victories over both the red and blue Manchester sides while they remain unbeaten this season against Liverpool and Tottenham and they remain the only side to have beaten surprise package Leicester this season in a 5-2 triumph
If Ã–zil can succeed where Fabregas failed then there is no reason why Arsenal canÂ’t win the league
With Ã–zil in superb form, a solid defence and some of their best players still to return from injury, there is surely only one thing that can stop Arsenal winning the title and that is themselves.
Source : DSG