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Appreciating Ozil

The CIES (Centre International d'Etude du Sport) Football Observatory is a respected football research institute based in Switzerland which was set up 10 years ago and works with most of the footballing authorities including Fifa. Every week they post a 'Big Five' data sheet focussing on some aspect of football in the 5 major European leagues.

This week, in conjunction with Opta, their data ranks individual players of the month for January in each of the outfield roles in each league. It's no great surprise to see Koscielny and Mertesacker ranked 1st and 2nd respectively as EPL centre backs nor that we don`t have anyone among the top three forwards. It probably isn't wholly unexpected that Sagna might be ranked 2nd among full backs and given that we've used a number of different players as central/defensive midfielders in the month of January neither is it unreasonable that we don't have anyone featuring there.

More pleasing for me, but only because I seemed to have read much over the last month along the lines that Ozil has been underwhelming of late, is that Mesut is ranked 2nd as an offensive midfielder and Cazorla 3rd. David Silva topped that section and there's a kind of synergy there because as good as Silva is he isn't really a flamboyant player either and much of his work can pass you by. Therein lies something of the difficulty in appreciating Ozil. For £42m you might expect a player waltzing through the opposition nutmegging defenders while throwing bewildering step overs before crashing the ball into the net. What we bought was something of much greater subtlety. While Rosicky's bursts of pace can catch the eye Mesut's shuffle to create space to make a pass can seem casual but in terms of effectiveness his contribution is usually even more telling.

According to figures Ozil has made 55 key passes, those that lead to goal scoring opportunities even though they might not result in a goal. Closest to him is now Cazorla with 33 while Wilshere is on 29. He is also our leading assist maker with 8, having joined once the season had already been underway for a few weeks, while making more passes than anyone else. His shots and goals could be higher but they are still respectable compared to others in the squad given that he is still settling into the side.

It maybe that we'll never appreciate Ozil as a lethal goal scorer though I'm sure his contribution will be worthy enough but to really appreciate him as a player may take a little more careful consideration as he isn't going to be among the most flamboyant of players. Something Wenger may have been alluding to last month when speaking of Ozil when he said 'He is very much appreciated by his team-mates....That's a real compliment you can get when you are a football player.' and 'You would speak with everybody who plays in this team, they always rate him very highly.'

Take a look at the end of season dvd though and I suspect we'll see him quite often at key moments in the game highlights. Certainly the CIES seemed to have recognised what he does.

The same data sheet reflects positively on a good month for the team with Arsenal players filling 5 of the 15 PL rankings - more than any other side. Maybe the team can slowly be appreciated a little more too.

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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday February 5 2014

Time: 8:17PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first Wrote something similar a few weeks back. The promising thing is, not only that he's only just settling into the side (compare Hazard's good performances last year with his great ones this year) but he was also Germany's top scorer in qualifying. So goals are certainly in his skillset.
Little Dutch
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05/02/2014 20:49:00

Why why why wenger? C'mon we need our team back just look around u a holl team lik arsenal has a striker lik bentna, girou c'omn am really seek of those flopies two strikers.WE NEED OUR BELOVEN ARSENAL BACK.
Henry Joel
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05/02/2014 22:00:00

That's a good article Tim. The Bergkamp comparison is a good one. I'd often get the impression he'd gone missing in the game and then watch the highlights to see he was often there when it mattered and was still working when you didn't notice him. Ozil's qualities are possibly even more subtle.
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05/02/2014 22:28:00

Sometime auto-correct has it's uses.
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05/02/2014 23:10:00

I like to compare Ozil to a professional sniper. Not all action, but picks that one right moment to destroy the opposition
Bryan Ozil
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05/02/2014 23:11:00

I think the outpour of Real Madrid fans not to mention its players when he was shipped off because of the Bale signing shows how highly he is regarded. It's hard to see his movement when watching Arsenal TV it doesn't really translate well. But whilst this season he has shown quality in spurts if you will, I do believe he can get a lot better and will.
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05/02/2014 23:16:00

There is so much to love about Ozil. And it is gratifying the numbers are backing up his special appeal. In addition to the subtleties of his performances his personality and demeanour --- the calm exterior --- may contribute to the lukewarm reaction from a secton of the fan base.
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06/02/2014 00:15:00

Love to have Fabregas back as his style of play will compelment Ozil. Ozil is best with hsi short and precise passing at final third. Fabregas wiht his long and racking passes, perfectly weighted (nearest to him is ALex Song with his umpteen assists by lobbing to RvP) and opening up tight defence with swift counter-attacks at pace. Plus there is one attribute of Fabregas that was under-utilised. That is, the ability to ghost into the box waiting for a swift one-two on the blind-side of defence. Ozil will have plenty of assists by playing one-two with Fabregas with his intelligent off-the-ball running into the box from deep.
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06/02/2014 00:16:00

Nice article, Amos. Almost thought it was authored by Tim as it had the same sentiments as Tim's piece on Arseblog which I read on the club's site. Ozil, curiously, shares almost the same fate as the club with regards to being taken more seriously than evident. I know I have had to point out how effective he is to a fair few supporters who feel that, for his value, "he should be doing more" and I was guilty of that too, early in the season, only beginning to see his importance about November last year. His performances have become more committed, lately and he is looking like he would be our big game inspiration as we enter the February and March runs. I would say this, though, he was a more visible participant during his time with Madrid, which could be down to the trust built with the rest of the team, over the years. So, this gives the hope that he would only get better with and for us; just let him get the World Cup out of the way. He and Arsenal are due more respect and appreciation.
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06/02/2014 01:49:00

I've actually heard it quite a bit from commentators during matches - comments such as "Ozil really needs to fire up/start getting involved", which often leaves me wondering if I'm watching the same match. I like the Sniper analogy.
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06/02/2014 04:17:00

Just like the entire club Ozil's performances seem to be slipping in under the radar!

He is a classy player, worth every penny we paid for him and he will win us big games in Feb and March.

Galway Gooner
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06/02/2014 08:41:00

I'll reserve judgement on ozil impact vs amount paid for him till after the season ends. Pray when last did he give an assist? He's had 8 assists since early december!
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07/02/2014 17:49:00

Most of his goals for germany durring the world cup qualification were penalties as he was germany's designated P.k taker.
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07/02/2014 17:51:00

Mesut's last assist was against Southampton in the match before last. He scored 8 goals in Germany's WC qualifiers 5 of them from open play. He also made 5 assists.
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07/02/2014 18:27:00

I stand corrected amos, but you'll forgive me for not joining the bandwagon of 'ozil the messiah' preachers. Presently he is good but not yet great. Unlike most others, I do expect him to justify the huge amount of money spent on him. Here's hoping he does an ashavin against liverpool tomorrow.
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07/02/2014 22:40:00

Is there an 'ozil the messiah' bandwagon anywhere? If there is then are there many on it? I'm not sure what makes a good player great but if Ozil is to be seen as great then it will be greatness in a very understated form. Ozil won't do an Arshavin tomorrow. Arshavin was a perfect example of 'greatness' in a very much overstated form.
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08/02/2014 02:06:00

There's hardly been too many saying Ozil is the "messiah" as most have been critical of his displays, perhaps, for the same reasons as you have espoused, nna. What you find is some are slowly beginning to get around to the fact that he probably influences the way we play more than it is obvious; some fans chose to take another look at his style and have begun to see his strengths and how it has been a positive for our play. I feel he would be a big player for us in the run in and going into seasons after.
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08/02/2014 06:07:00


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