One of the phrases I hate seeing more than any other is “X is not good enough for Arsenal”, especially when X is in our current squad of players.
In recent years the list of players tarred with this particular brush is long.
Koscielny – shopping in Lidl while everyone else is in Harrods
Walcott – Should have bought Bale
Ramsey – rubbish and no future sell him to the Championship, hope he dies
Etc etc etc etc
Annoying in some cases disgusting and all proven wrong as these are players that have gone on to shut up most of their critics.
And now we have Mesut Özil, cast your mind back 12 months, Madrid fans welcomed Bale by chanting the name of Özil, we were ecstatic at his arrival, even got an instant song “you sold Bale we signed Mesut Özil” and then he forged a place in my heart with that exquisite left foot strike against Napoli, displays linking with Theo and Rambo, until it all went a bit quiet, he earned the wrath of the BFG on two occasions on the pitch in front of fans for taking silly risks in high profile games and gifting the opposition a goal at the wrong time, and missed that penalty against Munich.
Perhaps the key to Mesut’s dip in form lays at the feet of Walcott and Ramsey or more correctly the cruciate of Theo and the thigh of Aaron. With those two out of the squad he was left with very little to work with. Yet he still managed to chalk up a reasonable amount of assists and goals for a first PL season.
How does he compare to some of the PL other star names? Well i know how everyone loves a table (or ten):
The raw numbers look poor, four players better on goals scored, three were better on assists, but the key to these may be in the number of appearances, the final column is perhaps the most interesting, chances created, under performing Mesut was only bettered by two players, one being Santi, who in that season got to play with Theo for a whole lot longer than Mesut. And if we look at the numbers in the next table the point becomes clearer.
As highlighted by the yellow cells some players did better on a per game ratio for goals than Mesut, games per assist only one beats Mesut, and what about that middle column, only one player bettered Mesut for chances created per game. See where I am heading here, or at least where my headline was going and the only player with more passes per game (so assume involved as much or more than Mesut) well he is an Arsenal player.
Could this just be a freak of first season form and actually because we are judging Mesut against players in their current teams and their current performance levels maybe this is why he is not being appreciated by Gooners.
So I looked at all the players mentioned above, and chucked in a few more for the laughs and a few more who are on the wish we would have signed/kept list. This next chart is only looking at Goals, Assists on a per game basis, and chances created per game.
Can you see what is occurring again here?
Only three players equalled his number of passes in any of their seasons in the PL, and two play for Arsenal, only three have bettered his pass completion, only two have bettered his games per assist, and perhaps most importantly only two have bettered his chances created per game.
You will notice I have not commented too much on Games per goal where he appears to be beaten by quite a few other players, well perhaps this is where the problem is laid bare most dramatically, rather than look at goals per game, how about we look at goals per shot?
Five players have a better shot to goal ratio, but all 5 have had many more shots that Mesut, could this be because they are playing with better players or is it because Mesut is not busting a gut to get not the end of things?
Özil is without doubt a subtle player and perhaps because so much of what he does is uncomplicated he is not appreciated or is it purely down to his work rate going backward? Whatever the resason it certainly can’t be his attacking contribution on the pitch, as shown above he is more than involved enough, so the only reasoned answer is finally we have a player who is not only good enough he could well be too good, maybe we aimed too high at Fortnum and Masons when we should have just upgraded from Lidl to Waitrose.
Written by Gooner in Exile