There has been much praise for Mesut Ozil this season and rightly so. After a sluggish return from injury in the spring he has been sensational with the turning point perhaps being a stand out display in Arsenal’s epic FA Cup victory at Old Trafford. In this campaign the German international has certainly stepped into the role of team talisman occupied by Cazorla, Ramsey and Alexis in the past 3 seasons.
Ozil arrived with the tag of ‘World’s best Number 10’ which proved a heavy burden to bear whilst adapting to the new rigours of a new and physical league. If the primary function of his role is to create goal scoring opportunities and therefore assists then his track record before arriving in London was indisputable.
In his first season I recall comparing his instant and effortless control and ball retention to that of Bergkamp. The other trait he shares with the great man and a hugely valuable one at that is his innate ability to know where to be to ensure he is always available for a colleagues pass. At times however he did drift in and out of matches and I personally felt at times there were games when we played the 4141 in tough away matches last season that he could have been rested. I know many disagreed at the time just as many disagreed with Wenger playing him out wide in the early part of 14/15. It may be that his time away from his preferred role served him well as in this campaign and during the latter months of last season his strength and stamina appeared to reach new levels.
Whatever the reasons the Gunners are surely benefiting form a new consistency of performance and quality of service to his team mates has been at a level if I am honest the Premier League has NEVER SEEN – A bold statement I will qualify but if our magician remains fit it could well be what drives Arsenal to their first title in 12 years. The only question needs to be directed at his attacking colleagues because whilst whether Ozil will continue to carve out openings is not in doubt, whether his colleagues will take enough of them is.
Now perhaps we might delight in the sheer magnitude of Ozil’s performance levels by offering some quite astonishing context.
FACT – In 2015/16 after 12 Premier League matches Ozil has 10 assists from 54 clear chances created.
CONTEXT – Silva has 6 assist and admittedly has been injured from our closest rivals Man City and De Bruyne has created 24 clear cut chances.
CONTEXT – Juan Mata tops both charts for Man United with 20 chances created and 3 assists. (That is just in for laughs!)
FACT – Payet and West Ham and Tadic at Southampton are closest to Ozil in chances created with 46 and 33. No other player from top 6 is over 30.
CONTEXT – Ozil has created over 63% more chances in 12 games than his nearest peer!
FACT – Should Ozil continue at the same rate he will create 171 chances of which 31 will assist for goals.
CONTEXT – The most ever assist in a Premier League season is Thierry Henry with 20 and the next best Lampard and Fabregas with 18.
Let’s widen the arena to consider the top European Leagues:
FACT REMINDER – Mesut Ozil had 10 Assists from 54 chances created in the league this season.
For Barcelona – The most chances created is Neymar with 33 (21 less than Ozil)
For Real Madrid – The most chances created is Modric with 20 (34 less than Ozil)
For Bayern – The most chances created is Costa with 29 (25 less than Ozil)
For Dortmund – The most chances created is Kagawa with 29 (25 less than Ozil)
For Barcelona – The most assists is Carnicer with 3 (7 less than Ozil)
For Real Madrid – The most assists in Bale with 4 (6 less than Ozil)
For Bayern – The most assist is Costa with 7 (3 less than Ozil)
For Dortmund – The most assists is Kagawa is 5 (5 less than Ozil)
In short there is no one in Europe currently close to Ozil in terms of assists of overall chances created
In Europe’s top leagues in 2014/15
The most assists for the whole league season was De Bruyne with 20
The most clear chances created was Payet with 133
For 2015/16 if Ozil continues at his present rate – a reminder:
He is on target for 31 assists – 51% more than the best in Europe last season
He is on target for 171 clear cut chances created – 28% more than the best in Europe last season.
FACT – Combining the creativity of Europe’s finest performers in 15/15
De Bruyne – 20 assists from 111 chances created
Payet – 17 assists from 133 chances created
Ozil is on target for 31 assists from 171 chances created.
I hope the above has given you a fair idea if the magnitude of Ozil’s efficiency and form at present and what is achievable for him and one hopes for Arsenal should be maintain his current creativity.
We could see a Premier League and Arsenal record for assists of 20 that has stood for 13 years smashed this season by our German genius. Our only concern has to be the ratio of goal scoring chances he is providing to those we are taking. 10 from 54 is only 18% so his team mates ate taking less than 1 in 5 of the opportunities he fashions. To win the league I feel this ratio must be improved and we look forward to the return of Walcott and Welbeck to fitness and Alexis to his top form.
Thanks for reading and I hope you are buzzing now?
All stats courtesy of ESPN.