Mesut Ozil must improve if we want to challenge for the title, says Arsenal Invincible Gilberto Silva

The German must improve if he is justify £42million price-tag

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The Independent Football

Arsenal Invincible Gilberto Silva believes World Cup winning midfielder Mesut Ozil must improve if the Gunners are going to challenge for the Premier League title again.

Silva was part of the last Arsenal team to win the Premier League in 2004 – Arsene Wenger’s squad went through the whole season unbeaten – and the Brazilian insists Ozil is this season’s missing ingredient.

Wenger’s men trail leaders Chelsea by nine points and are currently in third position, where they face strong competition from Liverpool, Manchester United, Southampton and Tottenham just to finish in this season’s top four.

Ozil, who arrived for a club record £42million in August 2013, has experienced an injury-hit season to-date but since his arrival at Arsenal 18 months ago, the German has failed to reach the heights he previously enjoyed with former club Real Madrid.

The 26-year-old has regularly found himself played out of position on the left hand side of midfield to accommodate Spaniard Santi Cazorla. And Silva, who formed a hugely successfully midfield partnership with Patrick Vieira for the Gunners, has called on Ozil to start delivering for Wenger.     

“You speak about Arsenal and how they don’t spend big money on a player often but they did with (Mesut) Ozil and it is always a bit risky,” said Silva. “Coming from Spain it is tough to adapt, it doesn’t always happen straight away.

Gilberto Silva was part of the 2004 Invincibles and later captained Arsenal

“I think the most important thing is that the player understands the philosophy of the team, the philosophy of the manager and the expectation from the fans.

“I do really like him as a player but sometimes in the game he does look quite slow, although he has that quality to change the game. He can be more decisive for Arsenal for the quality he has, he can be much more decisive for the club.

“Arsenal hasn’t been able to compete with Chelsea and Manchester City for a few years because they spend money on big names and this is not the Arsenal culture. They don’t spend a lot of money to sign players but apart from that it is not easy to find a way to get back on track to win titles.

“It was important for them last season that they won the FA Cup but a team like Arsenal need more and I hope they find a way to achieve what they always look for. If you look at Chelsea, they spent a lot of money on a player like Diego Costa and he has settled really well and is scoring lots of goals, that has worked for them but it is not as easy for Arsenal.

“If the players concentrate on their job and pull together they can form a strong team and try to feel good in their play. “Sometimes people expect quick results but it doesn’t always work like that.”

Longest unbeaten Premier League run: 49 games
Unsurprisingly Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ hold the record for the longest unbeaten run in the Premier League with a streak that started on May 7, 2003 and ended on October 24, 2004.
However they are some way off the all-time longest unbeaten run in English senior football, which is AFC Wimbledon’s 78 game streak, between 26 February 2003 and 4 December 2004 helping them to win back to back promotions.

Wenger has been the subject of criticism this season – abused by a small group of Arsenal fans following his side’s away loss at Stoke and again after the Gunners’ capitulation in Europe against Monaco last month.

But Gilberto Silva is convinced his former boss is still the right man to lead Arsenal and has called on the Emirates Stadium faithful to remain patient as Wenger continues to rebuild his squad.

After last season’s FA Cup win against Hull ended a ten-year trophy drought, Arsenal are clearly moving in the right direction, while the acquisitions of Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona and Ozil from Real Madrid highlight the club’s new financial capabilities in the transfer market.   

Silva said: “It is a big task for the manager. Arsene will always make a plan for his side, he will have watched the opponents and will have known their strengths and weaknesses and how he wants his team to play. But when the game goes wrong, like it did against Monaco, it is really tough.

“Sometimes things don’t work but he is always motivated to get it right. All the players need to be like that too, they need to be confident for the game and have that fight.

“They also need to concentrate on what they need to do and then the consequence of that will be the result they want.  I watched Arsenal’s last game against Everton and sometimes they can take a while to find their rhythm but when they do they can be a devastating team.

“They try things differently and move the ball well across the pitch. It was a really tough result against Monaco though. You never want to lose a Champions League game at home and it is not going to be easy for them to change the situation in their favour.

“If you play for Arsenal you must believe every time it is possible. They need to believe they can win the game and get through. It would be a massive achievement but not just for Arsene, for every player in the club. Of course he came close against Barcelona in 2006 and for his career it would be really important.

“It is not an easy thing though, he knows that. They need to be in very good shape and not make any mistakes to get through the competition.”

Gilberto Silva also won the 2002 World Cup

Meanwhile, Silva is relishing watching former Barcelona colleagues Sanchez and Neymar go head-to-head at the Emirates Stadium on March 29 when Brazil take on Chile. 

The friendly will take on extra significance as Brazil secured a dramatic penalty shootout win against Chile to reach the last eight at the 2014 World Cup last summer and set up an all-South American quarter-final against Colombia.

“They have some similarities, both are really good players, both are quick and have a lot of skill,” added Silva, the first Arsenal player to score at the Emirates Stadium.

“Sanchez can be a killer in front of the goal and a nightmare for defenders but Neymar is also doing really well, he is very skilful and can make a difference with every single attack.

“It is really good when you have a game where both sides have these great players that go against each other; they are very attractive and can produce the football people want to watch.”

Brazil v Chile is on March 29 at 3pm at the Emirates Stadium in London. Tickets are still available from £30 Adults/£15 Concessions at