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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Will Thomas Muller join a Premier League club this summer?

Thomas Muller scored in the Champions League final for Bayern Munich but he may be on his way out of the club this summer.

Muller also has 10 international goals for Germany

Last season he spent a lot of time on the bench and it would seem that the 22 year old wants to be guaranteed first team football. He did actually play 53 games last season which is the most in his career but a lot of them were from the bench and he does have the ability and the talent to be a regular in a lot of sides all around Europe. He did still however manage to score 11 goals and play a major part in Germany’s Euro 2012 campaign in particular the qualifiers where he started all 10 games and contributed seven assists. Muller’s versatility works for him and against him because he can play in any of the forward roles which means he is always there in case of injuries but whenever everyone if fit he is put back on the bench just in case someone isn’t having an effective game or is struggling with an injury. But his main strength is his composure as he never looks fazed and if he is given an opportunity to score he will usually take it.

So would he be interested in a move to the Premier League and which teams would he realistically sign for? Tottenham Hotspur are the first team that spring to mind as they are in desperate need of a striker with Jermain Defoe being the only experienced striker at the club and it is not clear whether he will stay either. Muller would fit perfectly into their side with him able to capitalise on the through balls from Rafael Van Der Vaart and the crosses of Gareth Bale, I am sure he would score plenty of goals in England.

Another team linked with a move is Manchester City who will be linked with any player that becomes available and has proved to be a good player for their club. But, I could see them going for the German international because it looks like they may lose out on Robin Van Persie. With them interest in him it suggests to me that they are in the market for a new striker and Muller would fit the bill as he can play in a front two or three and will do a job out wide for them. If Edin Dzeko leaves I think he would be a perfect replacement.

The team that he scored against in that Champions League final, Chelsea have also been linked with a move for him and even though they have spent a lot of money so far this summer they haven’t really invested in their strike force and after losing Didier Drogba they will need some reinforcements for the currently inconsistent Fernando Torres. Daniel Sturridge is still at the club but he probably didn’t play as much as he would have hoped after Roberto Di Matteo took over so he will be hoping for more starts this year. But the new manager may look elsewhere and Muller could be a good signing for them and with Romelu Lukaku joining West Brom on loan they definitely need a new striker at least for backup.

Crystal Palace’s Dougie Freedman for manager of the year

Crystal Palace have been performing above expectations this season and a lot of the credit has to go to their young manager Dougie Freedman.

The former striker was given the job after George Burley was sacked initially as caretaker but then was given the job permanently in January and brought in his former teammate Tony Popovic and Lennie Lawrence to assist him. He had a pretty successful season last year keeping the team up with a game to spare which seemed unlikely at certain points in the season. Crystal Palace have been dogged with financial problems in the last few years and he has to deal with very little money and also being unable to offer players a good enough contract to keep them at the club.

This season, he has guided the club to a respectable position in the league and are an outside bet to finish in the playoff places and the manager is quietly confident they could just spring a surprise and finish above teams with larger wage bills. This is a remarkable achievement as they were one of the favourites to get relegated and in fairness to the bookies, looking at the squad, they probably should have been down the bottom of the league. One of his greatest qualities is that he gives his players confidence and trusts them to do their jobs and this is why some of the younger players in the squad have performed exceptionally well, Wilfred Zaha in particular. Zaha was linked with a move away from the club but I believe that Freedman convinced him to stay and convinced him that if he plays first team football instead of the odd game in the Premier League he will become a better player. A lot of players allow their heads to be turned but obviously the boss has kept him focused and he is looking better and better every game.

Some of the results this season have been impressive, beating Manchester United 2-1 at Old Trafford in the Carling Cup and drawing 0-0 with league leaders West Ham at Upton Park. These are big results for the team but more importantly for the fans as they can see that this team under Freedman are going places and if they keep the squad together they could be genuine promotion contenders in the next few years.

The board will also be happy with their choice and the run to the Carling Cup semi final, which they were unlucky to lose on penalties, will have helped the club financially and the extra income will have pleased the board as they would not have expected the team to get so far.

Freedman deserves a lot of recognition as he has arguably done more for the team than anyone else has for their club. Yes the teams at the top get all the praise but sometimes you have to look down the table and see that some managers are performing above expectations and these deserve more credit than they get from the media in particular. A 37% win record is good for a manger that is at a team that aren’t expected to perform well and has limited experience.