Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil can divide opinion like few other players, but there’s no confusion over where ESPN pundit Steve Nicol sits.
While the 29-year-old’s creative ability can never be questioned when he’s on the ball and influencing games, one specific area of his game which is constantly criticised is his defensive work.
That comes as part of his poor body language at times with detractors adamant that he doesn’t work hard for the team and can be a liability.
In contrast, it could be argued that he simply doesn’t just run around like a headless chicken and plays as part of a compact system to defend space for Arsene Wenger’s side.
If you’re in the former camp, just don’t tell Nicol as he got involved in a pretty heated debate with host Dan Thomas, as he’s seemingly fed up of people jumping on the German international’s case.
“You pick and choose little pieces of tape and say ‘oh, look at him walking’. Away you go and jump. All you Ozil haters, I tell you what, honest to goodness,” he said, as seen in the video below.
“How embarrassing would that be as a professional footballer when all of a sudden people are saying ‘oh you played really well because you tried’? How embarrassing would that be?
“In my opinion Ozil gives 100 per cent every time and people just pick on him for fun.”
It’s hard to disagree with Nicol’s reasoning, but it’s easy to see where the other side of the argument comes from too as when Ozil isn’t on his game from an offensive point of view, does he really offer enough else to be a valuable part of the side?
That’s been evident so far this season, with just one goal and three assists in 10 appearances, with Arsenal needing more from their top players on a consistent basis to stay in contention for the major trophies.
It might not be a headache for Arsenal fans to have for much longer though, as he still hasn’t signed a new contract with his current deal set to expire at the end of the season.
ESPN FC | Nicol’s vehement defence of Mesut Ozil https://t.co/sG4cb0FqxQ
— 2TeamsArsenal (@2TAfc) November 20, 2017