His first assist in English football was for this man.
Mesut Ozil celebrated five years as an Arsenal player earlier this month.
Wow, has it been five years already? Time must fly when you’re constantly being criticised by ‘fans’ and pundits alike.
It’s time to do a bit of a Ozil defending, something I’m more than happy to do.
We’ve already told you how he is well and truly the last of a dying breed of footballer.
We’ve now pinpointed the exact period that could well have changed the way that Ozil is remembered.
A legacy defining period that went all wrong.
The 2015/16 season was one that might not have only altered Arsenal’s Premier League standing, but also seen the German instilled as a Premier League great.
The Gunners were on course to be crowned Premier League champions, with minnows Leicester emerging as their only real title rivals.
The success of Arsene Wenger’s side was largely down to Ozil, who had racked up a ridiculous 16 assists by the end of December.
His playmaking antics had made him all but certain to smash the Premier League record of 20 assists in a single season, held by Gunners legend Thierry Henry.
It was a matter of when, not if Ozil would go onto break the record. That is, until a certain, very handsome Frenchman, decided to throw a spanner in the works.
Yes, Olivier Giroud, who had been enjoying a fairly prolific season, with ten goals to his name, decided to do his best Nicklas Bendtner impression after the turn of the year.
The forward’s lack of efficiency in-front of goal sabotaged Ozil’s quest for the top flight record.
Arsenal’s first-choice striker forgot his shooting boots every week and their title challenge subsequently faded.
The Frenchman went onto score just six more in the second-half of the season, going on a run of 15 games without a goal and fully shafting Ozil in the process.
The German tried his best to combat the inevitable, providing the assist for Danny Welbeck’s 95th minute against Leicester in February.
The result shortened the Gunner’s gap to the top to just two points with 12 games remaining.
Alas, it proved fruitless, with Arsenal labouring to a fortunate 2nd place.
The former German international finished the campaign on 19 assists, just one shy of Henry’s record. Gutting.
Seven of Ozil’s assists that season were finished off by Giroud, but it should have been so much more.
It’s a period in time that still haunts Arsenal fans…
Yes, that is Kieran Gibbs scoring at the end.
Giroud even began to get shown up by a left-back who’s now playing in the Championship.
The German’s frustration with his team-mate boiled over into liking a picture on Instagram that mocked Giroud’s barren spell.
The epitome of a modern spat…
Just imagine if Arsenal had toppled Leicester to the title in 2015/16, with Ozil breaking the assist record in the process.
Arsene Wenger would most likely still be at the Emirates and Ozil heralded as one of the Premier League’s most creative players of all-time.
ArsenalFanTV would almost certainly be out of business.
In reality, it’s a stark contrast.
The straw that broke the camel’s back for Wenger was losing out on the title to Leicester.
Ozil agonisingly fell just short of the record and continues to be widely scrutinised, with only two FA Cups to show for his time with the Gunners.
We can only assume Giroud has been off Ozil’s Christmas card list ever since…
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