Mesut Ozil was given the chance to prove he can make an impact in big games as he started Arsenal’s last-16 first-leg meeting with Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.
Ozil has not scored since December 10 in the 3-1 win over Stoke, drawing a blank in his last eight Premier League matches, and has been criticised by Gunners’ fans for going missing during crucial fixtures.
Manager Arsene Wenger admitted the German is low on confidence following Saturday’s win over Hull but chose him to start in the last-16 tie.
Here, Press Association Sport looks at how the Ozil performed in Arsenal’s 5-1 defeat.
Appeared slow off the mark and was a bystander when Arjen Robben gave Bayern the lead in the 11th minute. Involved in a strong counter-attacking move from the visitors shortly before the break when he picked Arturo Vidal’s pocket and raced upfield before linking up well with Alexis Sanchez. The Chile international then played in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who clipped it to Granit Xhaka, only to see his shot on goal stopped by Manuel Neuer. While that one good chance came from his break, Ozil was absent for large parts of the game.
Shortly after Robben’s goal, Ozil went close from a low free-kick just outside the Bayern area after Sanchez broke upfield and was brought down by Mats Hummels. Ozil’s curling shot beat the wall and was fumbled by goalkeeper Neuer, but the hosts scrambled it clear. It had been the best chance of the opening half-hour for Arsenal until Sanchez levelled the tie a minute later with the second rebound attempt after his penalty was saved. Ozil created another decent opportunity for Arsenal on the stroke of half-time when he broke down the left and fired towards goal, but his shot was straight at Neuer.
Arsenal had scant ball in the final third where Ozil can be at his most dangerous so it was difficult to assess if he was in form. Bayern dominated the early part of the match and hit the Gunners with a triple sucker-punch after the break with goals from Robert Lewandowski and two from Thiago in the space of 10 minutes. However, most telling was that goalscorer Sanchez continued chasing down Bayern players despite the scoreline, whereas in contrast, Ozil was anonymous. If a European night at Bayern’s Allianz Arena was the perfect stage for Ozil to make the right impression, then the Germany playmaker fluffed his lines.