Premier League
October 5, 2017

The last of his kind: Mesut Özil

Why the German international is a dying breed that must be appreciated before he leaves


The Premier League contains an abundance of highly gifted players. All of which have their unique traits. I have come to the conclusion that due to recently adapted tactics used by almost all teams (in the Premier League), some roles are being notably under appreciated. One of the roles is one which is bordering on extinct.

This is the role of a tradition playmaker.

Before diving into the lack of playmakers, we need to understand how teams are structuring their midfield. Premier League teams that make use of 3 central midfielders tend to contain 2 deeper midfielders which are either defensive midfielders, deep lying playmakers, central midfielders and or box to box midfielders. The other midfielder is often an attacking midfielder or a support striker but yet, no advanced playmaker.

A midfield consisting of 2 players is less common and contains excellent co-operation between the duo in order to function efficiently. A usual combination is a deep-lying playmaker or defensive midfielder with a box to box.

With these two midfield variations there is no space for an advanced playmaker but the question is, why? Well most managers aren’t fond of them, especially in the Premier League. Playmakers act as a pivot in between the attack and midfield. Their sole purpose is to receive the ball from the deeper midfielders and feed the striker with balls that are accustomed to their playstyle. Hearing this, one would question why every team doesn’t have a playmaker.

With the league being very fast paced and little time to think on the ball, it is understandable why managers aren’t keen on a composed player who isn’t trained to track back or press the opposition. What’s interesting is that even Özil has had to adapt to the Wenger’s plans. Özil is now having to create chances from deeper seeing as Arsenal lack creativity from deep as well as having to create in the final third. An impressive work rate is being demanded form Mesut and he should be appreciated for his contribution all around the field.

So, what’s next for advanced playmakers in the Premier League? Not much to be honest. Midfielders with extreme stamina, consistent standing tackles and high defensive and offensive work rates are becoming very sought after with the likes of N’Golo Kanté and Idrissa Gueye showing how effective they are.

It’s evident that with time, change is bound happen. The departure of Mesut Özil is imminent very soon. If rumours serve us correct, he won’t be staying in England for very long either. Sadly this will be a big miss for Arsenal but also for English football in general. The days of not only having a world class playmaker but a playmaker at all in the premier league is coming to an end.

As fans of the beautiful game, let’s all acknowledge how lucky we are to have a player like Mesut playing in our beloved league.

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