I think he knew it was special
I've been waiting to get home from work all day to write this. I couldn't let a goal like Ozil's late winner last night go past without marking it in some way. I have been a fierce critic of Mesut Ozil throughout his time at Arsenal, while always making a point of saying how good he is when he puts in a performance. When he is on it, Ozil is the type of player you pay to watch. Last night he produced a piece of skill and class that almost has even me tempted to compare it to Dennis Bergkamp, such was the level of ability required to make that goal a reality.
I won't talk too much about the game itself. I was annoyed before we even kicked-off when Ramsey was put in the side ahead of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. I don't know what the Ox is supposed to do after the last two games in order to get a decent run in the team. To play Ramsey wide on the right in his position was just awful. It was no surprise that the second Ludogorets goal came directly from Ramsey wasting possession around their penalty area with yet another ill-conceived, badly executed fancy flick off his heel. I really can't stand the lad in an Arsenal shirt. He made amends slightly with his cross for Giroud's equaliser, but aside from that he was totally woeful and isn't half the player he thinks he is. As for what happened in the Arsenal defence after Ramsey gave the ball away I have to say it was terrible. Kieran Gibbs had a poor night all round and his attempt at defending one-on-one was Sunday league quality, while Mustafi chose to point Flamini-style at the goalscorer rather than actually go and close the gap himself. Very, very poor.
You have to hand it to the players, I suppose, for coming back and winning the game. Level at half-time I expected us to come out and put it to bed in the second-half. Instead of that we looked lazy and half-hearted, the passing was casual and lacked speed and precision, while Jenkinson started to feel the pace on his side of the pitch - it was a welcome sight when Chamberlain finally came on to add some assistance for him down the right. Xhaka gave away another cheap yellow card because he was too slow to make a proper tackle - he was so high he was lucky the referee never really spotted it. On two occasions it was down to Ospina to bail out his defence yet again as the Bulgarians created the only chances. And then, with three minutes to go, Arsenal suddenly sprang to life...
Olivier Giroud had been very quiet apart from his goal - just about the only header he won all night really. Out of nowhere, however, he appeared inside his own half with a superb crunching tackle to win the ball back against what had all night been a high line of defence from Ludogorets. Ozil had been unlucky to get caught offside a few minutes earlier (and should have buried a chance at 0-0 only to mis-kick the ball as he often does when faced with the goalkeeper). The ball from Elneny, though, was as perfect as the run from Ozil on this occasion - it was, for me, Elneny's best moment in an Arsenal shirt - and I include his goal at Barcelona in that thinking. Having stayed onside what followed was total genius from Ozil. As he went through I wanted him to go round the goalkeeper who had charged in to no-mans-land. The little chip over him was delightful. I then wanted him to hit it before the defender got back. Ozil took a wonderful touch on to his left side and sent the defender sprawling. I wanted him then to slide the ball home, but he dropped a shoulder and left a second defender on his backside and sliding towards the touchline, and then he composed himself enough to roll it home after another controlling touch. Ozil's fairly exuberant celebration (by his standards) was that of a man who knew he had just done something really very special indeed. My words don't really do it justice, and I don't think any words can to be honest. It was a glorious goal by any standard, and at any level of the game. I don't care who you are playing against, the skill and ability he displayed on that goal was just out of this world. The defenders involved might well have to seek counselling to overcome the trauma of being made to look like mugs the way they were.
As I said at the top I give Ozil a lot of stick. But last night, in that moment of scoring the winner, we saw the player we paid £40m+ to sign from Real Madrid. That was the guy who lit up the 2010 World Cup and humiliated the England defence the same way he humiliated Ludogorets last night. Quite often we don't see that player, but when he appears it is usually wondrous. I hope we see him in the next three games as they could really shape our entire season.
Where did he go?