By Dominic Toner
Stan Collymore believes that Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil should not be considered world-class.
The 28-year-old scored his first career hat-trick on Wednesday night as the Gunners cruised to a 6-0 victory against Bulgarian side Ludogorets in the Champions League.
The German international grabbed three goals in the second-half, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez also scoring.
Ozil has been in strong goal scoring form at the beginning of the campaign and has netted six goals in 10 appearances across all competitions.
Collymore claims that the attacking midfielder must perform against the bigger teams to be regarded as a top player.
“They are capable of dispatching the likes of Ludogorets with ease. And Ozil will star in such matches,” Collymore wrote in the Mirror. “But when it comes to the crunch – really big games that decide titles or make sure the Gunners progress in the Champions League against the likes of Bayern Munich – he is found wanting.
“And until that changes, until Ozil proves he can play his part in an Arsenal team that can defeat the very best, you cannot put him into that world-class bracket.”
Ozil has become a fan favourite with the Arsenal supporters since his arrival from Real Madrid in 2013, scoring 26 goals and supplying 44 assists in 127 appearances.
He has become a crucial part of Arsene Wenger’s midfield but has been criticised for the amount of goals he contributes.
The number 11 appears to have solved that issue this season and will hope to continue his form against the big sides, with games against Tottenham, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United in November.
The Gunners are battling for their first Premier League title since the 2003-04 campaign and Ozil will have to play a starring role if they are to be crowned champions again.
They are currently second-placed in the league and only behind leaders Manchester City on goal difference.
In other Arsenal news, Paul Merson predicts goals in the club’s match against Middlesbrough.