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Is Playing Away From Home To Blame For Arsenal Star’s Form?

Reports in Germany over the last week claim Arsenal’s Mesut Özil has ended his relationship with German pop-star Mandy Capristo amid claims of cheating. Once again Özil’s off-field antics raise questions over his on-field performances. 

It hasn’t been the best of birthdays for Arsenal’s number 10. For two days in a row Özil’s face has graced the front page of Germany’s biggest tabloid Bild for all the wrong reasons.

Capristo and Özil have split amid revelations from ex-Bayern Munich right-back Christian Lell, now plying his trade at Spanish outfit Levante. Lell claims the Arsenal star exchanged inappropriate Whatsapp messages with Lell’s now ex-girlfriend Melanie Rickinger.

Özil’s form this season has been largely indifferent and news like this despite its soap opera nature might go some way to explaining his form. Olivier Giroud is a prime example of how off-field dramas can have a very real effect. The striker’s form suffered greatly last season at times.

Out of form Giroud’s case was not helped when it emerged he was experiencing marital issues after his affair with Model Celia Kay was revealed. Player’s are human beings after all, it’s not surprising that they will experience issues in their home lives.

But should Arsenal be worried? You don’t need to be a statistician to claim footballer’s are prone to infidelity more than most other professions. For club’s it’s now become more of an occupational hazard to be overcome several times a season.

But with Özil’s fondness of the beautiful women has been a persistent talking point. After leaving Madrid, Real’s President Florentino Perez claimed the player was obsessed with women and nightlife.

He was accused of tiring himself out by jetting around Europe to meet his Girlfriend at the time, former Miss Venezuela; Aida Yespica. A claim that Yespica denies.

The coverage of Özil’s private life does have a tinge of over exaggerated drama to it. Some say Perez’s claims were merely a way to justify the sale of a player that fans and the team liked.

But delving into the statistics a worrying trend emerges in the Arsenal player’s records. In total the German has started 335 professional matches. Of those games, Özil has been substituted 166 times. That means Mesut hasn’t finished 49.5% of matches in which he has started.

This is fascinating. For someone who professionally trains to maintain their fitness and the world-class facilities and advise available to them, you would expect this figure to be much smaller.

Claims like that of Perez admittedly have a strong degree of bias to them. But already this season Özil’s performance have been called into question. The Arsenal player does seem to get more than his fair share of the blame.

He’s feature out of position for so much of his Arsenal tenure. His body language has always appeared lethargic and in a way this is what enables him to drift in to space from where he makes those slide-rule passes.

But regardless of position his time spent on the wings has exposed him as a player whose tracking back is often a token gesture. Perhaps Mesut isn’t a lazy player as many like to claim.

Could it really be that Mr Özil’s mind has been elsewhere? Maintaining an affair as a celebrity must surely demand some level of concentration and hard work to keep quiet.

Wenger will want his star German back from injury as soon as possible. But with a prolonged absence from the pitch it’s an excellent chance for the number 10 to get his house in order and come back more focused into a team Arsenal fans will hoping to be firing on all cylinders.

Sean Curtin, Pundit Arena.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.