92 clubs favourite players – Arsenal – Mesut Ozil

I have decided that over the next few months I am going to look at every team and choose my favourite player for each of the 92 clubs and comment on their careers, why I like them and what they do for their teams.

So the first of the 92 clubs is Arsenal and my favourite player has to be recent signing and record transfer for the club Mesut Ozil. The 24 year old is the first real world class player Arsenal have signed for a very long time and even those that went on to be considered world class were not exactly in the best of form and their careers had not taken off yet and by this I mean Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry. So far Ozil has lived up to his reputation as the assist king as he set up the opening goal on his debut against Sunderland and then followed that up with more in the win against Stoke City. For a 24 year old he has a lot of experience playing in over 100 games in the Bundesliga and La Liga so he should have enough knowledge and experience of the game to be able to settle in at Arsenal and prove to be one of the best in the Premier League.
Ozil
I was very surprised by this transfer for a number of reasons because I did not expect Arsene Wenger to splash out so much but they did need a new signing to keep the fans happy and also to push the club on and challenge for trophies once again. Another reason I was surprised was because of how much all of the Real Madrid players seemed to enjoy playing with Ozil and how important he was to the side, but with them bringing in Isco and Gareth Bale maybe they could not guarantee him first team football and also Carlo Ancelotti might have wanted to bring in his own players and make the team his own.

But back to the German midfielders qualities and they are easy to see because he can pick up the ball anywhere on the pitch and his first thought is how can I create a goal for one of my teammates which is obviously great in a team that loves to pass the ball but sometimes lacks the final bit of quality. Sometimes he is criticised because he does not get enough goals for someone that plays in such an advanced position but just look at the number of assists he gets and you can forgive him. In the Bundesliga he scored 13 goals in 101 games but assisted 38 and then in La Liga he improved further and got 19 goals in 105 games but got 55 assists. If he can replicate this then Arsenal will surely win a trophy.

This signing is also great for the younger players at Arsenal like Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere who should learn a lot from him in training and will also take them to the next level. I also think Olivier Giroud and in particular Lukas Podolski (who he plays with on the international stage) will love playing with Ozil because he will create chance after chance for them.

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Player of the day- Mario Balotelli

Italy will meet Spain in the final after beating Germany 2-1 which could well be called the Balotelli semi final.

Mario Balotelli produced one of the best performances in his career as he scored twice and was a constant menace to the Germany defence. His first goal was quite predatory as his clever movement managed to get him away from his marker and power home a header from about six yards leaving goalkeeper Manuel Neuer with no chance. The second goal was really poor defensively again from Germany as it only took one long ball from the Italians to create a chance. Balotelli was through and hit a powerful shot which once again Neuer could do nothing about. In the very last minute with Germany pushing forward they won a penalty and Mesut Ozil scored but there just wasn’t enough time for them to get an equaliser. It was a disappointing performance from Germany both defensively and offensively but they still created a fair few chances and especially early on they forced Gianluigi Buffon into a few saves. Italy deserve their place in the final with this performance and will give Spain a good game and they have a very good chance of beating them. They were given no chance to beat them in the group stages but they have got better and better as the tournament has gone on and the Spanish have got worse in my opinion.

Man of the match- Mario Balotelli- The Manchester City striker was in fantastic form and his two goals were just superb and in my opinion his performance was the best of any striker in the competition, especially in the first half. His partnership with Antonio Cassano worked well and is developing with them each create chances and now Balotelli grabbing the goals. His movement was the most impressive part of his game as the German defence who hadn’t really been tested that much could not contain him. He has all the attributes to be the best striker in the world one day and maybe now he will start to show his potential on a regular basis.

Balotelli scored 17 goals in 32 games for Manchester City last season

 

Player of the day- Mesut Ozil

Germany must now be the favourites to win the European Championships as they just keep getting better and better as the tournament continues.

The Germans were far too strong for the Greece who were very negative themselves and in the first half is showed as they struggled to get into their opponents half. Germany had all of the ball and created numerous chances and should have been well ahead before halftime however they had to wait for their left back Philipp Lahm to score from outside the box, at first glance I thought the keeper should have done better however it did swerve and was hit incredibly well. The second half started exactly like the first but surprisingly Greece grabbed an equaliser from a counter attack through Georgios Samaras who slid in and there was a feeling they could go onto win the game. Goals from Sami Khedira who was fantastic on the day, Miroslav Klose and Marco Reus in the space of 15 minutes ended the contest and sent the Greeks home. There was still enough time for Dimitris Slapigidis to grab his second of the tournament from the penalty spot after Jerome Boateng handled in the box. So, Germany are looking impressive and what makes it even more remarkable is that they changed their front three for this game and started Andre Schurrle, Marco Reus and Miroslav Klose instead of Lukas Podolski, Thomas Muller and Mario Gomez. It just shows they have so much strength in depth and have enough quality to win the whole thing, their attacking talent is amazing and I always look forward to watch them.

Man of the match- Mesut Ozil- For me it doesn’t matter who plays for Germany as the front three, if this man is behind them then they will get chances and should be able to score goals. He was sublime in this game and the only thing that was missing from his performance was a goal, he created chances and always wanted the ball. Even when he gives a bad pass it doesn’t damage his confidence and it does not stop him from trying a difficult through ball the next time he gets. This is a very good attribute as a lot of other players go hiding and just play a simple pass.

The playmaker has been at Real Madrid since 2010

Player of the day- Cristiano Ronaldo

Germany are looking like the team to beat as they came through the group of death with nine points and in each game looked very good.

Portugal will be joining them in the knockout stages and their game was the one I decided to watch as I personally felt that Germany would win their game and ultimately eliminate Denmark which did happen. Denmark actually surprised me a lot this tournament and maybe deserved to go through as they were very consistent and if only they had performed better in the first half against Portugal they would have finished second.

So onto the game I watched, Holland started the brighter and looked like they would cause Portugal some problems and they took the lead through a wonderful finish from Rafael Van Der Vaart and at that point I thought they would go onto win the game by at least the two goals needed to qualify but a lack of passion and drive has been evident all tournament and some of the players looked like they would have rather been on their holidays. Poor defending allowed Cristiano Ronaldo to break through the offside trap and finish off a one on one. The second half the Dutch were even worse and their attacking players were not performing and didn’t create much and yet again Ronaldo was able to grab a goal from a counter attack.

Man of the match- Cristiano Ronaldo- The man has the burden of being the best player on his shoulders and it isn’t like being at club level where Real Madrid can look towards Mesut Ozil or Karim Benzema to step up. He seems to have to do it all, as his support in Helder Postiga and Nani is nowhere near the quality of his teammates. His two goals were at crucial times and he held his nerve and confidently put them both in the corner. His all round game in the tournament has been fantastic in my opinion and he should have had more goals but he has frightened defences and could lead his country to the final.

Ronaldo cost Real Madrid £80 million in 2009

Portugal will take on Czech Republic and Germany will take on Greece and I fully expect these two from group B to go through however football is a funny game and anything could happen so maybe one of these will fall.

Players of the day- Simon Kjaer and Mario Gomez

Group B took centre stage in the European Championships with Holland taking on Denmark and Germany playing Portugal.

The first game of the day provided the first real shock in the tournament with Denmark playing superbly and beating Holland after a terrific goal from Michael Krohn-Dehli. The Dutch side had a lot of attempts but were unable to score with Robin Van Persie in particular being very wasteful. The Arsenal man had a few chances but his finishing wasn’t up to the standards we now expect and his control was also off at times. A big question for the manager is, does he start Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in the next game which has now became a must win? Arjen Robben hit the post and Denmark rode their luck and on another day they could have conceded two penalties however the luck was on their side and maybe they deserved it.

Man of the match- Simon Kjaer- This was a really difficult one to choose because anyone of their players could have won it. Simon Poulson at left back was fantastic going forward and for the most part he kept Robben quiet. Daniel Agger, showed everyone how good he is and the Liverpool player was always there with a crucial tackle or block. Niki Zimling and William Kvist combined well and stopped the Dutch team playing through the middle of the pitch forcing them out wide. Michael Krohn-Dehli obviously scored the goal but it was his all round performance that was particularly impressive, he was confident on the ball and every opportunity tried to take on his fullback and succeeded regularly. But I went for Kjaer, because he marshalled Robin Van Persie and then Huntelaar very well and when he had the ball he never gave it away and was quick to start counter attacks for his side. Dominant in the air and showed enough pace to deal with any threat as well as having almost perfect positioning for most of the game.

Simon Kjaer is only 23 and will have a good career ahead of him

The next game was one of the most anticipated games of the tournament but it didn’t live up to its billing with Portugal deciding to play for a draw and rarely threatened going forward. Despite that, they almost took the lead just before halftime when Pepe hit the underside of the bar. Germany couldn’t find much space and their better players were unable to get into the game much. Lukas Podolski on the left wing hardly had a touch, Thomas Muller sent in a few crosses but most of them were poor and didn’t reach one of his own players. Mesut Ozil was always trying things but he couldn’t find a killer pass. In the end the goal from Mario Gomez who managed to power home a header from a deflected cross.

Man of the match- Mario Gomez- Like in the first game it was difficult to choose but for a completely different reason. There were no stand out players and nobody really looked on form. Cristiano Ronaldo could have been in with a shout because every time he had the ball at least he tried to make something happen. But I gave it to Gomez as he did what nobody else could do and that was put the ball in the back of the net. He hardly had a touch, but he did his job better than anyone else and to me he has won the game for Germany, he was probably the only player on the pitch that could have scored that header so the match winner gets the vote for me.

Mario Gomez scored 41 goals for Bayern Munich this season