Mesut Ozil back to his best against Villa | Stats Analysis


After an abysmal performance in midweek vs Borussia Dortmund and not achieving a league win since the opening day, Arsenal needed a win against an in form Aston Villa in the worst way.  The Gunners put in their most convincing performance of the season with a very comfortable 3-0 win.  This match had probably the craziest three minutes and twelve second period of the season with Arsenal killing the game off with three goals in just under three minutes.

Ozil back to best

After coming in from Real Madrid for £42.5m on transfer deadline day last summer, Mesut Ozil has had an up and down time at Arsenal. The most expensive German of all time has come under a lot of criticism in his time in England.  Whilst a lot of the criticism has been over the top, he has struggled at times, but he showed the ability he has against Aston Villa.  Ozil put in his best performance of this young season.  Both he and his boss, Arsene Wenger, will be hoping that he can push on from this performance and show his real quality.


Ozil dictated the match completing 69 of his 75 passes against Villa which equates to a 92% pass completion percentage.  Ozil grabbed his first assist of the season and created two chances.  The German international finally got his first Arsenal goal away from the Emirates Stadium slotting the ball into the back of the net in the 32nd minute.  The World Cup winner won his only attempted tackle and completed one of three attempted take ons.

Playing Style

Ozil has struggled to get started this season, but many will attribute that to the fact that he has been playing on the left.  Arsene Wenger switched his system from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-1-4-1 meaning the German had been pushed out to the left.  Ozil has taken criticism for his performances and Wenger has taken criticism for playing him wide.  In this match, the Arsenal manager reverted to the 4-2-3-1 meaning the former Real Madrid superstar was put back in his normal position as a number 10.  The former Real Madrid man was back at his best making his mark on this match.

Heat map courtesy of the Daily Mail’s stats zone.
Heat map courtesy of the Daily Mail’s stats zone.

Even when Ozil plays as a number 10, he tends to drift wide.  The German always moves into the pockets of space to keep the attack balanced.  He and Santi Cazorla swapped positions often so the German tended to drift left.  That was evident on the second goal where Ozil drifted wide to receive a pass from Kieran Gibbs.  After touching the ball off to Ramsey, the £42.5m man entered the space on the left of the penalty area and received the ball back from Ramsey.  Ozil then delivered the killer ball to Danny Welbeck for his first Arsenal goal.  That goal is a perfect example of how Ozil plays.


The flashpoint in the match was the first goal.  This seemed to calm everyone down and was followed by two more goals in the next three minutes.  The goal was a product of the class Arsenal possess.  They just turned up the tempo of the passing and Villa couldn’t cope.  It all started with Per Mertesacker giving the ball to Aaron Ramsey.  The Welshman drilled the ball into Alex Oxlade Chamberlain.  The Ox had a fantastic touch to give it off to new boy Danny Welbeck.  As soon as the former Manchester United striker picked up the ball, Ozil went to make a run off the shoulder of former Arsenal center back Philippe Senderos.  The Swiss centerback couldn’t pick up the run of the German before Welbeck played the his teammate in with a perfectly weighted pass.  Ozil kept his cool and slotted the ball past American goalkeeper Brad Guzan to get the Gunners off the mark.

With Arsenal going into a difficult run off games, three points against Villa was vital for the them.  The fact that all of their rivals dropped points made it a fantastic weekend for the club.  They will hope to push on from this and beat their North London rivals Tottenham.  If Ozil can replicate the form he showed against Villa, they will have a good chance of turning over Spurs for the fourth time in a row.


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