34 – Millions in pounds sterling Arsenal have spent so far in this season (remember there’s still January to do this all over again!)
24 – Age of Mesut Özil (until October)
5 – Number of trophies Mesut Özil has in his career (UEFA U-21 European Cup, DFB-Pokal, La Liga, Copa del Rey, Supercopa de España)
1.83 – Özil height in meters
76 – Özil weight in kilos
42.5 – Millions of pounds Arsenal spent to land Özil
559,210 – Pounds per kilo of Özil
550,000 – Pounds per kilo of A colorless diamonds
Priceless – The feeling of goodwill the club has generated among most fans
49 – Starts for club and country 2009/2010
11 – Goals
20 – Assists
60 – Starts for club and country 2010/2011
12 – Goals
31 – Assists
54 – Starts for club and country 2011/2012
13 – Goals
26 – Assists
59 – Starts for club and country in 2012/2013
16 – Goals
35 – Assists (are you getting a sense that there might be a pattern?*)
222 – Total starts in the last 4 years (55.5 per season)
52 – Goals (13 per season)
112 – Assists (28 per season)
72 – League assists for Özil in the last 5 seasons, more than any other player in the top five leagues in Europe (@orbinho)
353 – Chances created from open play in that time, also tops all players in Europe (@orbinho)
92 – Key passes in la Liga last season (2nd in la Liga)
13 – Assists in la Liga last season (2nd in la Liga)
84 – Average passing in la Liga % last season
1.3 – Crosses per game in la Liga last season
0.5 – Through balls per game in La Liga last season
33 – Dribbles successful last season (47% rate)
If we take out the international games and the cup matches and just focus on Liga and Champions League play we can compare Özil to other top creative midfielders thus:
|Champions League Plus League Play Numbers|
|Ozil 2013||Ozil 2012||Ozil 2011||Fabregas||Mata||Ribery||Cazorla|
As you can clearly see, Özil is one of the most creative players in world football. But more impressive is that he has maintained that high level for four years staying consistently in the top of both leagues for assists and chances created.
The one place where people say Özil needs to improve is shooting but at Real Madrid he didn’t get many shots because he was too busy creating for others: Özil took exactly 100 shots for Real Madrid in league play and scored 19 goals. That’s 33 shots per season and just 6 goals for an average of 5.5 shots per goal and a finishing rate of 18%. It’s really not that bad at all.
Consider as comparison, Cazorla took 115 shots for Arsenal in the League last year and scored just 12 goals. That’s an average of 9.5 shots per goal and a finishing rate of just 10%. Cazorla’s finishing rate was low because he took a lot of speculative shots from distance last season and it will be interesting to see how the two of them play together.
Arsenal took 597 shots in League play last year. Cazorla created 96 shots for others and took 115 shots for himself. That’s a whopping 35% of Arsenal’s offensive output from just one player. Giroud was second on the team with 107 shots and 34 key passes, accounting for 24% of Arsenal’s shots and Walcott had 87 shots and 35 key passes, or 21% of Arsenal’s totals.
Özil’s career up until now shows a player who is not selfish with shots and would rather create for others, so what we should hope for is a situation like Chelsea with Mata and Hazard who combined for 160 key passes and 133 shots (47% of Chelsea’s output). Between Özil and Cazorla I think there is a very strong probability of seeing exactly those kinds of numbers — both international superstars running the Arsenal offense at the same time and getting each other shots, getting Giroud shots, and getting Theo shots.
Cazorla + Özil… Cazozil? Özorla? Lizorla? Whatever we call it, it’s a mouthwatering prospect that.
*Assists data is all over the map. Some places count every last pass as an assist, some places count drawing a foul in the box as an assist, etc. I used ESPN, mostly because I always have.