Arsenal fans craved a major signing for the entirety of the 2013 summer transfer window. After missing out on the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Luis Suarez, etc, Arsenal fans were angry at the board and the manager for not making a world class signing. After months of waiting, Arsenal fans finally got the world class signing they so desired. That signing was Mesut Ozil and his price tag of £42.4m was nearly tripled Arsenal’s past transfer record of £15m.
Ozil’s expectations from both Arsenal fans and fans of the Premier League in general were sky high. Between his £42.4m price tag, the highest ever for a German and second highest for a player coming into the Premier League, and his huge reputation with Real Madrid and the German national team people expected Ozil to come in and immediately dominate every game. While he had a good start to the season, Ozil has not had the same impact that he had initially. Some people have gone as far to call Ozil a flop. The Premier League is famous for it’s extra intensity compared to other European leagues and that foreign players, specifically the smaller more technical ones, need a season to adjust. Taking this as Ozil’s season to adjust we’ll evaluate his season compared to the first seasons of current top foreign players, David Silva (stats from 2010-2011) and Eden Hazard (stats from 2012-2013).
Passing and dribbling
In the modern game, playmakers not only create chances but they also dictate play with their passing. These kind of players are tasked with keeping possession and working the play as well as trying to play the intricate passes to break defences. Of the three, Ozil was dispossessed the least. Ozil was dispossessed every 62 minutes, while Silva was dispossessed once every 45 minutes and Hazard once every 42 minutes. Ozil had a higher passing percentage than Silva and Hazard at 88% pass completion. Ozil had the highest pass completion percentage in the final third as well. Hazard completed the most dribbles of the three but he completed them at the lowest percentage. Silva had the highest percentage of his dribbles completed but he completed few than the other two.
Pass%= Pass Completion percentage AHP%= Attacking half pass completion percentage FTP%= Final third passing percentage
While dictating the play is important, these players get paid the big money to create chances. The reason these players have the large fees attached to them is because they are so good at not only seeing but playing that killer pass. In term of normal chances created (CC), Ozil created more often than Hazard and Silva. Ozil created a chance every 28 minutes, while Silva created one every 35 minutes and Hazard one every 41 minutes. In terms of clear cut chances created (CCC), the Belgian topped the trio in that department. Hazard created a clear cut chance every 220 minutes while Silva created one every 233 minutes and Ozil created one every 537 minutes. Clearly clear cut chance creation is something Ozil will need to improve upon in his second season.
MPCC= Minutes per chance created MPCCC= Minutes per clear cut chance created A=Assist
Recently, creative players, specifically number 10s like Ozil and Silva, have been criticized by some for focusing too much on creativity and not scoring enough for themselves. Goal scoring may not be their first priority but it is still an important part of their game. In terms of sheer numbers of goals, Hazard leads the bunch with nine, while Ozil scored five and Silva four. The Chelsea star scored every 293 minutes, Ozil scored every 430 minutes and the Spaniard scored every 641 minutes. Another aspect of goal scoring is how clinical you are in front of the goal. Hazard and Ozil were clinical and both had a chance conversion percentage (CC%) of 21%. Silva was much lower with a chance conversion percentage of only 10%. Hazard was the best in front of goal for clear cut chances. His clear cut chance conversion percentage (CCC%) of 50% was highest, while Ozil had a 40% conversion rate and Silva had a 16% conversion rate.
CC%= Chance Conversion Percentage CCCC= Clear cut chance conversion percentage G= Goals
Ozil’s debut season was far from perfect. He had his highs, like lifting the FA Cup, and he had his lows, like being part of a team that was demolished 5-1 vs Liverpool. Ozil can clearly improve upon this season, but it would be harsh to say he had a bad season, especially seeing it was his first season in the Premier League. Mesut Ozil is a world class player and he showed that at times this season. If he can build on his first season and push on, like Hazard and Silva have done, Arsenal will have themselves one of the best players in the Premier League.