From Assists To Goals: How This €48.8 Million Arsenal Star Is Turning It In Style


It can hardly be argued that Mesut Ozil is a genuine world-class footballer.

Having risen from the ranks of Schalke’s renowned youth academy, the German midfielder plied his trade in the Bundesliga with Werder Bremen post his spell in Gelsenkirchen before earning a big money move to Real Madrid. In the summer of 2013, the dynamic playmaker was snapped up by Arsenal for a club record transfer fee of 42.4 million pounds. He has been indispensable for the Gunners ever since and his rising stock on English turf has reportedly attracted attention from some of Europe’s biggest clubs.

Ozil’s strength lies in his ability to read situations ahead of him differently to other attack-minded midfielders. A pass that may seem absurd to one is perfectly feasible for the 28-year-old and when his teammates are in sync with him, the result is glorious for Arsene Wenger and the club’s supporters. Following two difficult seasons in North London, given the player’s slow attempt in adapting to the pace and rhythm of Premier League football, Ozil took the mantle and was voted one of the finest players for Arsenal last campaign with an impressive tally of 19 assists in the top flight. Add to that a total of eight goals in all competitions and a couple of assists in the Champions League and domestic cup competitions, it could well be said that Ozil, who is rated at €48.8 Million by the CIES Football Observatory, enjoyed his best season at Arsenal to date.

Things seem to have undergone a change for the German now, particularly in the light of Arsenal’s recent 6-0 demolition of Bulgarian outfit Ludogorets Razgrad in Europe. Ozil scored his first senior hat-trick and took his goal tally in all competitions for the current season to six. That’s two fewer than what he managed to accumulate in the entirety of last season and it represents a much-needed change for the playmaker, as reiterated by his manager.

Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil

Wenger often felt Ozil created plenty of chances but did not have enough goals in his kitty to complement them. The Frenchman has never been shy of making important tactical changes to his side to incorporate the needs of certain players and it has become increasingly clear that assigning his system’s lone centre-forward role to winger Alexis Sanchez has done the trick for Ozil.

Simply put, the Chilean has been instrumental in allowing Ozil (and colleague Theo Walcott, for that matter) to enjoy more fruitful days in front of goal. Sanchez’s gameplay usually sees him drift out on to the flanks and allow his teammates to occupy central positions in the final third. The quick interchange between himself, Walcott and Ozil results in the latter two getting shots off in promising areas more often than not. New recruit Lucas Perez is also capable of the same, his ability to station himself in wider areas ultimately proving decisive in helping Ozil to his second and third goals at the Emirates on Wednesday night.

Prior to his rich vein of goalscoring form, Ozil was Arsenal’s creator-in-chief and was often assigned set-piece duty. He helped striker Olivier Giroud to a handful of goals last season, thereby signifying his importance in those areas. Giroud’s current predicament is so deep at a personal level that his absence hasn’t been missed one bit, even though the striker hasn’t had fitness issues. This further exemplifies Wenger’s enhanced attacking system and spells delight for Ozil in particular.

Statistics indicate he has averaged a goal every 132 minutes this season, a far better return compared to him scoring once every 471 minutes last term. Ozil still slots behind Sanchez on the team sheet but now exhibits more predatory instincts than he ever has in his entire career. Wenger expected a total of 10-15 goals for him this season. By the looks of things, it could go well beyond that.


Written by Karan Chopra

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