Arsenal success can't obscure Ozil's woes
Just nine months after being hailed as the talisman for a new era of success at Arsenal, it was fitting that Mesut Ozil's forgettable first season in England ended with the Germany midfielder an anonymous footnote as the Gunners finally ended their trophy drought.
Arsene Wenger's side showed impressive tenacity to recover from a nightmare start in Saturday's FA Cup final against Hull City, but not for the first time Ozil was noticable only for his lack of impact.
Once again the 25-year-old failed to deliver on the big occasion and by the time Aaron Ramsey fired the extra-time goal that clinched a 3-2 victory at Wembley, the former Real Madrid midfielder was languishing on the bench after being substituted.
In the 3,283 days since Arsenal last lifted major silverware in the 2005 FA Cup final, Wenger's team have gone from serial trophy winners to a club often satisfied with just barely finishing fourth.
It was that lack of swagger that Wenger was trying to fix when he splashed out a club record �42.5 million to sign the prodigiously gifted Ozil on transfer deadline day.
Initially it worked a treat as the sight of a genuine world-class star agreeing to hitch his talents to Arsenal's bandwagon inspired both his team-mates and the club's long-suffering fans to believe a renaissance was possible.
But by his own admission, Ozil has struggled to cope with the switch from the more sedate rhythms of La Liga to the relentless pace of the English game.
He conceded this week that the physical demands of the Premier League have left him exhausted and he even moaned that smaller teams who were losing against the Gunners would keep trying whatever the score.
Of Ozil's seven goals for Arsenal this season only one, against Napoli in the Champions League, came against what could be considered a team of equal stature to Arsenal.
In the circumstances, Ozil desperately needed to grab the Cup final by the scruff of the neck and deliver the kind of match-winning display that would hint at better things to come next season.
But once again he was painfully anonymous as Arsenal allowed Hull to establish a stunning two-goal lead within the first eight minutes.
Even when Santi Cazorla's brilliant free-kick reduced the deficit, Ozil was still off the pace and he completely miscued his attempt to equalise from Lukas Podolski's low cross.
Ozil drew the ire of Arsenal fans when he lost possession cheaply to halt a promising attack and Ramsey looked baffled when he threw the ball to the German to trigger a quick free-kick, only to see it drift over his colleague, who was scratching his head and staring in the other direction.
There was no obvious improvement in his contribution or his attitude in the second half, with one cut-back eluding Ramsey, who would have had the goal at his mercy with a more accurate pass.
While Cazorla and Ramsey buzzed around trying to unlock the Hull defence and raw striker Yaya Sanogo threatened with his unstinting workrate, Ozil was visible only when gesticulating his disapproval when Arsenal's momentum stalled.
Ozil was finally put out of his misery during the break in extra-time as Wenger replaced him with Tomas Rosicky.
And appropriately Ramsey, who had showed the drive and dynamism so badly missing from Ozil's game, notched the winner soon after.