By Walter Broeckx
So far it hasn’t really been a good international break for Arsenal. With the news coming out of the German training camp about the injury that Özil has suffered in the match against Chelsea being the worst of course.
Of course this is not an injury he got from playing for Germany, as we usually suffer during such international breaks. It was because of Özil joining his national team as the rules say he should that it was there where they diagnosed his injury. A big blow. A big big big blow.
I know it is the flavour of the month (or even the flavour of the year) to bash Özil. Like the ridiculous bashing of Özil when he was subbed off at half time in Munich last season. Nicking a living they said. And the brainless part of Arsenal supporters followed of course. Till the news came out that in fact he was injured almost from the start of the match but still tried to do what he could. This was mostly ignored of course or people pretended they never said anything stupid.
But when Özil doesn’t produce 3 assists a match and if possible scores one himself he media portray it as if he has underperformed. People who watch matches in the stadium of who look at the wider picture know better. But once the media starts bashing you can be sure the brain dead will follow.
Of course if Untold starts defending Özil the brain dead will say that we do this all the time and that we are a deluded bunch who never criticise our players. Or the manager. The thing is that when a player makes a mistake we just note it, mention it. But we will not get overboard and start swearing and shouting, telling him that he is not good enough to play for Arsenal, never has been and never will be. We just accept that he is a human being and can make mistakes and hope that he will make up for it.
So Untold defending Özil is the natural way of things.
But what if we see an article on the website of the PL where they show some interesting stats. Stats in which they show that “nicking a living Özil” was in fact the best midfield maestro in the PL. This article can be read in full here
Now what does it say? In fact it says that Özil is nowhere in the top 10 of passes. In fact it was Arteta who made most passes as an Arsenal player. And Arteta had the highest accuracy of all the players in this list. Note that Arteta is another one who is the regular victim of some bashing campaign by our own fans.
But as this article says: a safe pass in your own half has not the same importance as a game deciding pass in the penalty area. And so they started adding the kind of pass to their data. And looked for the passes in the final third. The more difficult passes. And then we see that Santi Cazorla made most of those and that Özil now is in 4th place. The highest accuracy is from Samir Nasri by the way (gnashing teeth can be heard if you listen carefully) but in second place we find Mesut Özil.
But if they add a value to each pass it suddenly gets very interesting. At least if you like Özil and the way he plays.
Because if they add a value to the pass and then bring it back to 100 passes for each of the players in the tables it is clear that Özil is the best passer, the most consistent, the man with the best pass rate where it really matters. And where does it matter more than in the final third near the goal of the opposition?
Özil gets a rating per 100 passes of 0.454. Nasri is second with a score of 0.418. And the rest is below the 0.400 line. Lukas Podolski being the second best Arsenal player by the way and Welbeck the new Arsenal player was in the top 10 last season.
And if they were to pick a team based on the OPTA stats it would contain a few Arsenal players. Szczesny would be in goal even though his passing has a negative score but his goal keeping is excellent.
Mathieu Flamini has the best passing rate of the defensive midfielders. Mikel Arteta has the best rate of any central midfielder.
And of course Mesut Özil is the best attacking midfielder in the PL when you look at the passing statistics.
And then you look at all the bashing. And you wonder. Are these bashers just people who don’t use their brains? Or do they have an agenda? To me it looks that way. Maybe they are just trying to chase players away from Arsenal? Because they don’t like it that world class players play for Arsenal.
The sad part is that the brain dead part of our fans just follow the media stance and by doing this they undermine the team by undermining their best player. How stupid can you be?
I think most other managers and players know the worth of Özil. And as a result we see the dangerous lunges in the last weeks when he started getting back to his best form (yes he started slowly after the world cup this season). And the kicking resulted in him now being injured. Was the attempt at kicking him off the field ordered? Or was it a coincidence?
And in a way it makes me sad to see how much stick he gets. And as the stats show and my gut feeling said it is not justified. In a way it is sad. When Özil came Theo needed an operation. Then they both were fit for a short while and then Theo got his knee injury. And now when Theo finally is fit again….it is Özil that has been kicked off the field. So the combination of these two players that can give fireworks is once again killed before it can happen.
And that is something that makes me really sad.
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