Sunday, March 3, 2024

Bournemouth thrashed by Özil: By the Numbers

Let’s talk about some of the players…

Before the match I tweeted out a series of annoying messages showing how Arsenal have dropped defensively and offensively since Cazorla and Coquelin were injured.

They went like this:

Dribbles per game with Cazorla: 13.6/20.6
Dribbles per game w/o Cazorla: 9.25/13.75

Chances created per game with Cazorla: 13.9
Chances created per game w/o Cazorla: 8.8

Tackles per game with Coquelin: 16.4/36.9
Tackles per game w/o Coquelin: 11.4/27.2

Interceptions per game with Caz/Coq: 20
Interceptions per game w/o Caz/Coq: 16.6

The dribbles stat is important because (as Wenger said in his recent interview about stats) players like Cazorla use their dribble to break midfield pressure. Once the pressure is broken, he’s free in an attacking space and creates more mismatches.

The chances created drop is important because Cazorla is Arsenal’s second creator. He is 2nd on the team with 2.6 key passes per game, Alexis is 3rd with 1.7, and Ramsey is 4th with 1.5.

Cazorla and Özil both like to drop behind the 18 yard line, collect, and if they can pick someone out, they do. If not, they cycle possession. As you’re going to see in the section below, without Cazorla, Özil is doing that all on his own.

In the game against Southampton, Özil created 4 shots for his teammates and took 1 shot for himself, Arsenal only had 8 shots in that game, Özil was 60% of Arsenal’s offense. And the same story today against Bournemouth Özil created 9 shots and took 2, that’s 11/13 shots guys.

Tackles and Interceptions are also down, Coquelin leads the midfield in both of those stats.

My point, which annoyed everyone, is that just buying one midfielder won’t cover for the two we are missing. That doesn’t mean I don’t wish Arsene would buy, of course I do, and he’s already signed that guy Elneny, right?

Since Elneny is unlikely to fill in for both an attacking CM and a defensive CM, rather than simply “buy, buy, buy, buy” Arsenal need to find a way to make up the holes in attack and defense with the players we have through a combination of tactical changes and lineup changes.

Today’s match, against Bournemouth, showed a bit of promise. Tackles were up to 19/30, Interceptions up to 20, dribbles were up to 11/19, and chances created were a whopping 12.

The problem is that those stats were distributed in a weird way: Ox led Arsenal with 4/4 tackles (Ramsey 3/5) while Ramsey had 3 interceptions, but Gabriel had 6; Ox also led Arsenal with 4/5 dribbles but three were into the corner and one was in the right back position, this isn’t the same as Cazorla’s center circle magic; and for the second game in a row, Özil called all the shots with 9 key passes, Bellerin, Walcott, and Giroud chipped in with 1 each.

So, work to do.

Please note I spared you the ugliness of saying “such and such player needs to do this thing”. Wenger needs to sort that out, get the shot numbers back up to a good level, spread the work out in the right way, and get the team clicking.

Let’s talk about Özil…

16 – Özil now has 16 assists in 18 games. That brings him level with Eric Cantona (35 games) on the single season assists list
8 – That’s twice as many assists as 2nd place Kevin de Bruyne this season
80 – Özil also has 80 key passes, that’s 30 more than 2nd in the League Dusan Tadic who has 50.
17 – That’s 17 more Key Passes than Ryad Boudebouz who is 2nd in Europe’s top five Leagues and has played 13 more minutes than Özil
243 – Arsenal have created 243 Key Passes
33 – Özil has created 33% of Arsenal’s key passes
31 – Arsenal’s players have only scored 31 goals (minus own goals)
52 – Özil has assisted 52% of Arsenal’s goals
61 – If you count his goals scored as well, Özil has scored or assisted 61% of Arsenal’s League goals
29 – Last season Cesc Fabregas scored or assisted on just 29% of Chelsea’s League goals
66 – At this current pace, Arsenal are set to finish the season scoring just 66 goals
40 – For Özil to finish the season with 61% of 66 goals, he’d have to score or assist 40 goals
44 – Thierry Henry scored 24 and assisted 20 in 2002-2003, which was  60% of Arsenal’s total goals that season, and Arsenal finished 2nd
0 – chance that Özil finishes with 40 goals scored and assisted, because he isn’t going to score 20 goals for Arsenal and the idea of him getting 32 assists in the Premier League is fanciful at best. Teams will start to notice that Arsenal, at this point, are a 1-man team and will just mark Özil out of the game
9 – For example, Özil had 9 key passes today against Bournemouth, all 9 were in the 18 yard box, and 4 of them were big chances (all in the first half of play) — Arsenal took 13 shots today, Özil created 9 of them, and Arsenal had 7 big chances, Ozil created 4. That is unsustainable from a single player for an entire season.

67 – The fewest goals a Premier League winning team has scored is 67, in the inaugural season, 1992-93 when Cantona led the League in assists with 16 and topped his team with 15 goals, accounting for 46% of his team’s offensive output
68 – Two teams won the League scoring 68 goals, Man U and Arsenal (Wenger’s first title)
100 – Percent chance that Arsenal need Cazorla and Alexis back to help take some of the pressure off Özil and help score and assist more goals

That single season assists list is:

02-03 :: Thierry Henry :: 20 assists**
14-15 :: Fabregas :: 18 assists*
04-05 :: Lampard :: 18 assists*
07-08 :: Fabregas :: 17 assists***
15-16 :: Özil :: 16 assists
92-93 :: Eric Cantona :: 16 assists*
*Won the League
**Finished 2nd and probably should have won the League if not for those draws against Villa and Bolton
***Finished 3rd and probably would have won the League if Taylor hadn’t broken Eduardo’s leg


Sources: Opta, my personal DB.


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No-one told me there was going to be math 🙁


1 – Our position in the league table currently!

For Gods Sake



For God’s sake



New guy


For many years after moving to these fair shores I struggled to understand why it was called maths while other abbreviated subjects did not have similar names such as bios or econs. But some things that just have to accept.

Gutbukket Deffrolla



Seems to me that our finishing is below par with that level of service. What a player!

bims lay

If i hear that phrase “nicking a living” again?….i swear, i will kill somebody! what a player. i also agree with the conclusion that teams will suss this out and start trying to mark him out of games. in fact, southampton did it successfuly by putting two players on him. i also agree that we need other creative talents to start sharing the load, or at least act as decoys to create the space to allow him to weave his magic. As it stands, he is our main man and if they take him out, our game plan suffers. brilliant… Read more »


Magic Mesut is my player of the season! COYG! We will win the league!


OZIL is the MAN


I think Özil will break the league assist record. 19 games to go, if he should reach 25 league assists. We just need to avoid injuries this season and we will win the league


“We just need to avoid injuries this season….”


Mayor of Woolwich

Watching this beautiful ochestration from Özil is orgasmic.


If football is art Mesut Ozil is Michelango








Have to agree with 7amkickoff, we do need Cazorla and Alexis. Although I believe Ozil is capable to escape a man on man marking, but still we can’t rely on Ozil alone to create chances. I really hope other players and Wenger read “by the number’ so they will try to up their games to match Ozil, Caz and Alexis.

Woolwich Peripatetic

Credit to Özil, he’s very difficult to mark out of the game as an individual but if the rest of the team can’t get the ball to him he’s obviously ineffective.
Sanchez is the biggest miss, playing a pressing game against him is quite risky because of his dribbling ability in the final third.


Man mark Ozil tightly, and we cant score vs soton 🙁

Woolwich Peripatetic

I think Soton was more a score effects thing, whomever scored first (and how!) could then open the pitch up (as credit to Koeman, they didn’t just sit deep and try to tough out a 1-0) and cut their opponent to pieces.


Thanks @7am! I wish TV pundits have half as much as your football brain! It is amazing how some footballers can have an amazing career but really know nothing about football other than running and kicking the ball.


Brilliant stuff 7am, truly. Ozil cannot possibly keep this up, we desperately need players back. We are top of the league and it is only down to Mesut! Stunning! 3 goals and 16 assists (19 total) and he’s played 18 games. FFS. I want to cry, he’s so good. And it’s not like he is doing it at irrelevant stages of the game, these are all KEY contributions. He is quite literally carrying us. More than Sanchez ever did last season. As alluded to in 7am’s article, Ozil will inevitably drop off soon. Impossible to keep this up. Hopefully we… Read more »


I truly wish we can make a move for a marquee MF like Isco in Jan.. We are conceding way too much possession even at home and Ramsey can neither help in retrieving the ball quickly nor keep it or recycle it – he just doesn’t have the quality, people say he has the engine but just watch him after 60 mins game after game, you know he is at his tether by then. We should do well to remember what Reyes’ addition did to the Invincibles squad.. And in a season, when one team is already out, others are… Read more »


Surprised that guys like Berkamp, Beckham, or Scholes aren’t on this list. If you think about it, 20 assists isn’t much if you have players putting goals away. Ozil may break that record by the end of February.


To do it that consistently throughout a season is impeccable. Henry leads the charts with 20, that’s a goal created every 2 games, at the highest level of football in the country. Ozil is currently leading Europe, he is THAT good.


In fact, in the top five leagues, there isn’t anyone with double-digits assists (Di María at PSG has 9).

If you add assists and goals, the current top are (with Leicester-Man City still 0:0 in minute 71):
1. Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund): 18+4 = 22
2. Ibrahimović (Paris Saint-Germain): 15+6 = 21
3. Mahrez (Leicester): = 20
4. Lukaku (Everton): 15+4 = 19
4. Neymar (Barcelona): 14+5 = 19
4. Özil (Arsenal): 3+16 = 19


Wonder what his no. of assists are if you take out corner kick/free-kick routines? (BTW, his contribution to set-pieces is mighty important, so not slagging). If it is still double-digits, it is mighty impressive with just half the season gone.

With increasingly tired legs, Wenger has to manage him much more carefully in the second half – no harm in resting him or starting him from the bench in a couple of easier home matches – I’d also like to see what Joel can do in his role and given the freedom of the pitch.

Gutbukket Deffrolla

I hope you’ll tell us what the easier home matches are where creating 60% less chances will make no difference to how we do.


Well if 3 out of our 5 starters from midfield are injured, u really expect arsenal to be playing at the same level.
Also when ramsey (1 player) was injured earlier this season arsenal’s passes and chances in the final third were substantially decreased.

To maintain a high level injuries should be lessened, easier said than done

The Mert

The drop in shots created with Cazorla out also correlates to Alexis being out. He creates his own chances as well as a few for the rest of the team. I suspect that number goes back to where it was when he returns to the team.

Tee Söng

I was going to point that out but I absolutely agree that the combination of Cazorla and Sanchez being out simultaneously is the cause of our drop in creativity. I fully expect the offensive numbers to improve substantially once Alexis returns.

Richie Growling

The Ox has worse ball control than Rooney.

Gabriel is a beaut.

Ozil never seems to miss a pass (and often he goes for quite difficult options). It’s quite uncanny – never seen anything like it. That’s always how I imagined myself to play the game (if I had basic fitness, coordination, power and technique).


I have to admit, you have opened up my mind. great article. this is where pundits gt lost from.


“Ozil may have cost Arsenal £42.5m but he’s not worth two bob….and he’s nicking a living.”

Neil Ashton of Daily Mail fame on 13/03/2014

I think I know who is actually nicking a living Mr Ashton.



That’s a tad unfair to Neil Ashton. All the pundits were bleating variations on that right up until that “optajoe” tweet on Ozil’s stats earlier this year, bunch of fucking ignorant sheep that they are.

Before that tweet “Ozil is a total waste of money” was (c) All Newspapers[1]. After it, every single last bloody one ran a “Top 10 assist stats in the Premier League” graphic. Bunch of two-faced cunts to a man.

[1] Let’s not leave out the useless tossers signed to broadcast media. Them too.

Tarquin Farquar

Over the years I’ve had the privilege to grow up watching a certain Liam Brady, then along came Charlie Nicholas who in a better Arsenal team would have been sensational cos the boy had talent. Players have got me off me seat like Limpar running with the ball, Ian Wright scoring for fun. Then along came Dennis Henry viera pires and even fabregas and van skunk were a joy to watch. But Arsene summoned it up “if you thinking in the stand that he has to give the ball now, that is when he does it. You have not even… Read more »


That 66 goals prediction is worrying. How should it be interpreted? Will we score more once Cazorla is back? Do we need to buy a goal scorer? What about the other teams?


1 – And only one, Mesut Özil

Mustrum Ridcully

The key is how opposition teams will target Özil in games. It looks likely that they will try to out-muscle him and deny him space. If they succeed they the Ramsey will have to step up and provide the guile.

My main concern is the team seem to rely on the man on the ball to beat players rather than create options for the player in possession. Maybe this is tiredness but that is how Southampton beat Arsenal. They always made sure the guy in possession had options and worked harder!

Gutbukket Deffrolla

The point is that when Ozil’s the only creative force they can muzzle him with two competent players, making it harder for our other players to give him options.

With Cazorla back they’d need 4 players on two of ours in order to keep us quiet.

With Sanchez back, they’d need to have 6 players on 3 of ours. That’s when our strikers would be getting the space to score more of their chances…. cos there’d be no buggers left to stop them.


You mentioned about teams just marking Ozil out of games…. Do you not think that is what teams have been ‘trying’ to do anyway?

Either way I’d be happy if teams tripled up on Ozil because then it would free up a lot more space for our other players to enjoy 🙂 win win, really!

Gutbukket Deffrolla

But until Cazorla comes back who is going to pass the ball to these players in space?


Also, to think that Gabriel hit the post from the corner and Giroud and Walcott missed sitters from the pull back and cross against Bournemouth, amongst the others this season, Ozil could have been on 19 already! It’d be interesting to see how many ‘clear chances in prime areas’ we’ve missed from Ozil ‘almost assists’ (almosissts?) this season.



Tony g

Arsenal…The only team to top assist leagues in a season without actually winning a trophy:-(


I wrote a chant for Ozil.

We count 1 to 7 in our heads, and scream “O-zel!”. This happens 4 times, slowly increasing in volume, to gather everyone. Then comes the lines:
> Some people say his skill, cannot be true
> O-zil!
> Believe in him Ozil, and he will show you
> O-zil!

You guessed it, to the tune of NIB by Sabbath.

Gutbukket Deffrolla

Well if we’re going to do Sabbath chants then we’d better make sure we stay clear of any Fairies Wear Boots chants about opposition teams. I still think Arsenal should adopt “For Those About To Rock…” by AC/DC as their signature tune. Get some AC/DC-style stage cannons in and play the song before the start of each home game. “I’m forever blowing Bubbles”? Haha! “You’ll Never Walk Alone”? Hoho. “For those about to rock…” BOOOOOMMMM!!!!!!!! “We Salute You” That’s what the Gunners should be about. Scare the living shits out of the opposition before blowing them away on the pitch.… Read more »


Was watching this game on some online tv… Both commentators kept on saying that this or that player finds himself in a place of bother… All bloody game long… There were quiet few bothered players after 93minutes…food for thought


Ozil is single handedly keeping our PL campaign alive ATM.

Giroud should have scored, Walcott- for someone constantly boasting about wanting to be a striker his striking range and efficiency is very limited and so he either needs to do something about it or we sell him and get a STRIKER that can hit a target from 8-10 yards and actually score sitter, should have had a hat trick on Monday.
Oxy has to work on his final touch too, though loved his energy against Bournemouth, completely annihilated their defenders…


P.s. Mert could have only scored if a ball bounced off him into the net…due to his pocitioning he hardly knew where the ball was and a moment later it hit his face, we could argue if he is in that position he should be expecting for a ball to come in but from his point it looked like it was going in, but once it bounces back there was hardly any time to direct the ball back on target…


Not only the fans and the journalists think (thought) he does fuck all – opposition players also don’t seem to notice him. Languid, always looking exhausted, wondering about, why bother to mark him – then out of nothing, another killer pass. Having said that, doesn’t he regularly cover more miles in a game than the others?

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