Thursday 9 October 2014

Arsenal's record better without Mesut Ozil

From SportsMail,
A season-defining injury is not unheard of for Arsenal fans. But a £42.5million signing, out for three months with Aaron Ramsey also missing? Alarm bells are ringing.

Mesut Ozil will miss the remainder of 2014 with a knee injury, the German Football Federation confirmed. A dazzling player at his best, the top No 10 in the world on his day; but is his injury all bad for Arsene Wenger?

Here, Sportsmail looks at three reasons why Arsenal will suffer without Ozil, and three why everything could be all right.


The win percentage
Arsenal are no doubt a better team with Ozil in the starting XI and on form, but the stats suggest Arsene Wenger copes without his record signing.

The Gunners score more goals on average with the playmaker around, but have a win percentage of just 56.2 per cent when he's involved compared to 61.5 per cent without him.

Statistics aren't the be-all and end-all, but are perhaps a reminder to fans that it's not the end of the world.

Big games
Against Manchester City, Chelsea and Dortmund this season, there has been a common theme for Arsenal; 4-5-1, Ozil on the wing. Funnily enough, the natural playmaker has produced his worst performances out wide.

It's tough to criticise Ozil when playing in his best position but he's almost non-existent when tasked with tracking back and creating from the right or left.

Wenger inexplicably failed to substitute the Germany man against Chelsea at the weekend despite his struggles, and players who are more suited for the wide areas should start the next crunch clashes.

Manchester United, Dortmund and Liverpool await in the next three months.


Pass master
Consistency is key for Ozil, who was Opta's 'top passer' for the 2013-14 season, his first in English football.

Eclipsing David Silva and Juan Mata, the 25-year-old's pass accuracy in the final third was a staggering 84.24 per cent, and put simply Arsenal don't look the same without him.

The Gunners struggled for fluidity when Ozil picked up an injury against Bayern Munich, with many players lacking the nous the German possesses in and around the penalty area.

Arsenal's speedsters
Much has been made of Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez so far this season, while the soon-to-return Theo Walcott has hardly been mentioned. These three could form the quickest partnership in the Premier League.

And who better to assist them than Ozil, who was praised for helping Cristiano Ronaldo flourish at Real Madrid?

Sanchez and Ozil already showed glimpses that they were beginning to click, while Welbeck was also profiting.

Finishing off lesser teams
As much as Ozil goes missing in the bigger games out on the wing, his impact against the so-called lesser teams in the Premier League can't be questioned.

He keeps things ticking, not allowing opponents to lose their concentration. One slip, and he'll pick you off with a through ball.

Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott have the pace to hurt defences, but they certainly don't have the guile of Ozil.

Credit: Matt Morlidge/SportsMail

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