Oezil: Asset or liability?
A wizard on his day, but the German is hardly a warrior when the going gets tough
The sight of Arsene Wenger flapping his arms at his bench in a show of exasperation and bewilderment has become a familiar sight.
The mental frailty of his team is a decade-long disease that has proved impossible to eradicate.
Not for the first time under Wenger, Arsenal collapsed against a title rival - this time, it was Manchester City - yesterday morning (Singapore time).
Mesut Oezil embodies the very weakness that has crippled the Gunners' title aspirations for far longer than Wenger would care to admit.
Brittle and undependable, Arsenal, like Oezil, crack easily under pressure.
The German playmaker may average more good performances than the insipid display yesterday morning, but a frustrating tendency to capitulate to the big guns is forming a clear pattern.
As Man City found the adrenalin to kick on for a winner, Oezil slipped into sleepwalking mode.
A clip of Oezil's appalling lack of interest is making its rounds on the Internet.
You’d have more chance of finding Elvis than Oezil in a big game.@KevinAshford7 on Twitter
It happened just moments after City had taken the lead for the first time in the game through Raheem Sterling's 71st-minute goal.
In it, City stroked the ball near the halfway line with Oezil standing nearby, doing practically nothing except to turn to face where the ball was.
Either the mind had wandered somewhere else or he had already given up the fight.
Oezil is a talented player, but give me (David) Silva or (Kevin) de Bruyne over him anytime.ESPN football writer Mark Ogden
Oezil's attitude doesn't bode well for a team now peering over their shoulders at the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United, instead of looking at leaders Chelsea with intent.
If only Oezil had shown as much conviction as he did right after the final whistle, when he stormed off the pitch and into the players' tunnel.
By any player's standards, his performance was pathetic.
Arsenal's title hopes have been fuelled this season by the brilliance of the prolific Alexis Sanchez (12 Premiership goals) but, on the rare days when the Chilean couldn't find his groove, Oezil was expected to step into the void.
Yesterday morning, Sanchez could do no more than set up teammate Theo Walcott for the game's opening goal in the fifth minute, which was cancelled out by a Leroy Sane strike two minutes after the break.
Throughout the 90 minutes, Oezil struggled to make his presence felt.
His statistics read: One chance created, zero successful dribbles, zero completed crosses, zero through balls and zero shots.
On social media, many annoyed Arsenal fans vented their frustration.
On Twitter, "gutless" was a popular choice of word to describe his performance.
@AdzCampbell91 said: "Get oezil out, useless, gutless pathetic."
@KevinAshford7 wrote: "You'd have more chance of finding Elvis than Oezil in a big game."
Wenger now has the unenviable task of lifting his troops' morale as the season enters the festive period.
The confidence accumulated from a 14-game unbeaten league run that was ended just last week is well and truly gone.
The Gunners were found lacking in good old-fashioned brawn last Wednesday, when they lost their lead and the match to Everton (2-1) and, against City, they couldn't find the desire when they decided to dig deep in the second half.
All Arsenal can take into their Boxing Day fixture against West Brom are blurred images of a painful defeat at the Etihad Stadium, and of Oezil simply refusing to run.