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Ozil likened to Messi


Lee Dixon believes the German playmaker is looking more like his old self and, like a Barcelona icon, has no need to run if found in the right areas

Mesut Ozil is simply a player in the Lionel Messi mould, says Arsenal legend Lee Dixon, with the World Cup winner showing once again that he can impact games without running himself into the ground.

Questions have been asked of the German playmaker’s commitment throughout his spell at Emirates Stadium.

He is in the team to influence proceedings going the other way, with Arsenal looking for him to pick the tightest of defensive locks.

Ozil has seen his standards slip at times, however a change of manager in north London appears to have breathed new life into him.

Mikel Arteta is finding a way to bring the best out of a mercurial talent, with the 31-year-old catching the eye during a 2-0 victory over Manchester United.

Dixon believes a spark has been rediscovered, with Ozil showing that he can be Messi-esque when it comes to conserving energy and delivering in bursts.

The former Gunners defender told talkSPORT: “I thought he was back to the Mesut that we all want to see play [against United].

“I’ve been the most critical of Ozil over the years. My game was built on hard work and the teams I played in we are built on hard work.

“Even the 1998 double side and the 2002 side, they worked their socks off regardless of how good and fast flowing they were.

“It was demanded of them by everyone, everyone single one of them. I think Arteta said it was contagious. The body language you put on the pitch and the way people look at it.

“The body language of them closing down. They we are all at it and they all went at the right time – and he was part of that.

“The benefit he got was that the players around him we are willing to do some of his work. Stats can be false now and then when it says he ran this and he ran that.

“But what type of runs are they? How much is jogging? How much of it's fast sprinting? He is simply a player who is therefore talented therefore he doesn’t have to be sprinting, he just moves into space.

“Messi is similar. He will just walk and then you get him the ball. However if you have a structure in place to find them, that has been therefore evident in the last few games as he has been doing his flicks.

“He has been doing his flicks before however it's just the ball is coming to him much more. He is in a decent position and he has a structure behind, therefore that if it doesn’t come off he has protection behind him.”

Ozil drifted in and out of favour under former Arsenal boss Unai Emery, however does appear to have found a leading role under Arteta as the Gunners seek to shake themselves from a serious rut.