Despite the obvious disappointment at having thrown away their title chances from a winning position, Arsenal still enjoyed their best Premier League campaign in over a decade this season and have now honoured their star player for his incredible contribution.
After suffering their almost annual spring collapse, Arsenal appeared to be on the brink of implosion. Yet somehow, rivals Spurs managed to hand the Gunners their best league finish since 2004/05 – a gift-wrapped second place on the last day of the season.
The late party at Tottenham’s expense went some way towards quietening the loud chorus of discontent amongst the Arsenal faithful. While fans were frustrated once again by a lack of end product in the final third, had it not been for the consistency found in midfield, things could have ended on a far sourer note.
Since his transfer to Arsenal in 2013 for a club record £42.5 million from Real Madrid, Mesut Ozil has become an invaluable member of Arsene Wenger’s squad and a firm fan favourite. After prevailing through a slump in form last season, Ozil has etched his name into Gunners folklore, as his assisting heroics on the field saw him fall just shy of the record set by one of Arsenal’s modern day legends, Thierry Henry.
Henry’s remarkable season tally of 20 assists remains a club and Premier League record. For the majority of last season, it seemed that Ozil was destined to rewrite the record books, having already notched 18 assists by February. But as a mark of Arsenal’s slump in form, the German playmaker only managed one more in the remaining three months of the season.
Despite falling short of Henry’s record, Ozil’s 19 assists were a decisive factor in Arsenal’s title challenge this season and Arsene Wenger seems set to build a squad around his star man for next season. Between September and November Ozil set his own Premier League record, providing assists in seven consecutive games.
For the optimistic Arsenal fan (I’m told they still exist),the club created montage should stand as a promise of greater things to come from Ozil, rather than a testament to the near-misses and what-might-have-beens of last season.