After only seven points from four games and only one non own goal from those four games, Arsenal needed to put down a marker with their performance against Stoke. They did just that cutting the Potters into ribbons time and time again. They only finished two of their chances, but they created enough to score six or seven while limiting Stoke to nothing more than half chances.
There were a few stand out players in this one, but no one stood out more than Mesut Ozil. The German continued his fantastic form this season and put in a mesmerizing performance creating chance after chance. Arsenal’s record signing cut through Stoke like a hot knife through butter and showed that he is on another level when it comes to chance creation.
Ozil completed 89% of his passes along with creating eight chances and assisting one goal. He attempted nine crosses, completed 33% of his attempted take ons, and made four ball recoveries to go along with his chance creation.
The German played as the number 10, but, as he normally does, floated all over the pitch. His average position was slightly to the left of his starting position.
As a result, he and Alexis Sanchez combined more than any other attacking players combined in the match. As Hector Bellerin bombed up and down the right hand side to create overloads with Aaron Ramsey, Ozil did this with Alexis allowing Nacho Monreal to stay back more often while still allowing the Gunners to create numerical advantages.
His average position may have been on the left, but Ozil took touches all over the pitch.
While he took more touches on the left, he made an impact all over the pitch. When he is allowed the freedom to float around the pitch he is very difficult to mark. When he is not marked the German can be devastating, like he showed on Saturday.
The flash point in this match was without doubt the first goal. 30 minutes in the gunners had already taken nine shots, three of which were clear cut chances. After going two home games without a goal, the fans were getting frustrated at the teams inability to take chances. If the game had gone into halftime scoreless the frustration in the players and fans may have boiled over and could have allowed Stoke to regroup and get back into the game. Luckily for Arsenal, that didn’t happen.
The goal was about as route one as you can get, but Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott made route one look as beautiful as it ever has. The move started with a fantastic Francis Coquelin tackle. The Frenchman won the ball of off Joselu and it fell right to Ozil. The German took his first touch then played a magical ball over the top of the defense to Theo Walcott. The English striker took a perfect first touch and slotted the ball between Jack Butland’s legs to open the scoring.
Mesut Ozil has taken a lot of criticism since he arrived in England. Many pundits have taken shots at him, but he is finally playing like the world class player everyone said he was before his arrival. He has created more chances than any other Premier League player in 2015, and, if he keeps it up, he’ll be recognized as one of the best players on the league.