By Matt Farr
BT Sport pundit Glenn Hoddle has slated Mesut Ozil for vanishing once again for Arsenal against Chelsea on Saturday.
Ozil was part of the Arsenal side that were comfortably beaten by the Premier League leaders at Stamford Bridge, with goals from Marcos Alonso, Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas condemning them to a 3-1 defeat, as Olivier Giroud netted a last-minute consolation goal.
The Germany international had little impact on the game, and some fans on Twitter questioned whether he was really on the pitch at all.
He has been at the forefront of many of Arsenal’s most memorable victories over the past few seasons, playing an instrumental role in the emphatic wins over Ludogorets and West Ham earlier in the campaign.
However, despite contributing nine goals and eight assists in all competitions this season, the 28-year-old does have a tendency to go missing in games.
Reflecting on Arsenal’s performance in his column for the Daily Mail, former England manager Hoddle insists that the Chelsea defeat on Saturday was one of those games.
He said: “Given that Chelsea are so good as a unit, it’s hard to single out an individual, but Eden Hazard was outstanding on Saturday.
“When you play the big games, you want your big players to step up. That’s exactly what he did.
“The contrast with Mesut Ozil was unavoidable. The bigger the game, the better Hazard plays. For Ozil, despite his record as a World Cup winner and a La Liga champion at Real Madrid, you feel it’s the opposite.”
The attacking-midfielder, along with several of his other Arsenal team-mates, were also nowhere to be seen against Watford on Tuesday – a game which the Gunners lost 2-1.
Ozil has now contributed just two assists from his last seven Premier League games, while he has yet to score a league goal since the victory over Stoke on December 10.
His sheer brilliance in the 6-0 Champions League win over Ludogorets back in October, where he finished with a hat-trick and an assist, is little more than a distant memory.
He has just 18 months left on his current deal, and while fans had earlier been chomping at the bit for him to land a new contract, the figurative mob at Arsene Wenger’s door has somewhat petered out.
In other Arsenal news, Newcastle are lining up a summer raid for this Arsenal youngster.