Messut Özil, what we will miss the next weeks

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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51 Replies to “Messut Özil, what we will miss the next weeks”

  1. Well put together article Walter, thanks for the in-depth analysis too!

    There is no argument on your statements of Özil and indeed the rest of the players you mention with regard to their excellent statistical data and output in our side.

    I would like to emphasize your second to last paragraph, second sentence and on; “…And as a result we see the dangerous lunges in the last weeks…” which also came into my mind as I made a point in watching the International friendly between Argentinal vs Brazil…I paid attention to Oscar (you know the guy who was very active in kicking our players whilst wearing a blue shirt last week). His game with the Brazil shirt was completely different – he actually plaid like a Brazilian and not a thug!!!

    Which brings me to the last part of your same paragraph “…Was the attempt at kicking him off the field ordered? Or was it a coincidence?” The answers to those two questions, based on the Brazilian I watched in both his games (in Chelsea and Brazil shirts), is for sure YES he was ORDERED to go in hard as possible and preferably to take someone out, and NO its NO coincidence!!!

  2. Another top quality article Walter. As ever, on the money. I wrote this on another site earlier today about the anti-Ozil stance of some papers, but I think it is worth a repeat here.
    “It would of course be entirely coincidental that the Mail campaign just happens to be against a devout Muslim who plays for perhaps the most inclusive and diverse club in the whole of world sport.”

  3. I’m sure there’s a host of other factors involved (not least of which is the Pole in Goal), but the coincidence of Ozil’s first absence for a while with Germany’s first loss for a while has got to be significant.

  4. And a note about the Opta article: Szczesny has the best passing stats of all the PL’s goalkeepers! That surprised me, since I’ve thought that his kicking was a weak spot. Comparatively speaking, it’s not.

  5. Great article. Thank you for writing it and conveying views many Arsenal supporters have. The truth is a powerful thing. German fail with no Ozil, coincidence? Maybe…

  6. Ozil… Carry on… We are strongly behind u…. If there’s one thing we all shld know already, is that…. Not matter what u do… People will still criticize u…. Wishing u quick recovery… Yes i believe # u have got nothing to prove to any one

  7. Looks like Master Löw agrees with us here at Untold:

    “The load on players is too high,” Löw said. “The high demands on teams in national leagues and of course the Champions League – it’s too much. If you look at the players, they need more of a break. Some players only get as little as three weeks after a major tournament and it’s straight back to the grind. Many of the players who are with us now, if you analyse their situation they have too short a break before they are reintegrated into their clubs in pre-season. It’s simply not enough.”

    In spite of the extra rest given by AFC I suppose that the unlawful “hacking” that we witness helps to “even it all out in the end” 😉

    As we discussed last week, as seen in cricket, sports broadcasters and administrators do not care about the players/athletes/cattle, they simply care about the Wonga even though in cricket we now have the phenomenon of teams playing whilst having to rest their best players, players burning out etc. all to detriment of the intensity and quality of the contest.
    It makes the daily mail led attack on Özil very odd, as anyone with two football brain cells to rub together understood that his first few games were his pre-season, after which he found some fitness and then picked a niggle before the last break, came back, and the opposition were allowed to try and hack him off the pitch in the two derby games, which contravenes the laws of the game as written down in the nineteenth century – can someone please tell Mike Riley the rules? Or do his team simply forget their training during AFC games? How can they forget laws/rules that were written down here in London over a hunreded years ago? It’s a fair question.

  8. All the criticism about OZIL is rubbish.
    Last season he was injured for few weeks and we lost and draw few he is off again,let see how arsenal perform.without OZILL arsenal will be a team without quality.i can tell you many teamm are scared of OZILL quality.he might not be a robust player,but his movement and vision is exceptional.Tell me after five matches,how arsenal is PERFOMING without him.

  9. I can guarentee that any of the pundits who regularly criticize Ozil would say, when presented with these figures from OPTA, that you cannot attach much importance to stats, they are not a fair reflection of a players oerformances. Durham on Talksport is a prime example of dismissing the value of stats when it suits him, as he would in this instance as he is one of the worst Ozil critics. However stats would suddenly take on a new importance and he would not hesitate to use them if they helped to reinforce his argument.

  10. Nor all the fans who criticise him are stupid, xenophobic, ‘Daily Mail’ readers. To imply we are is a more revealing insight to you. I used to enjoy reading your blog. Now I won’t. Off to read a more objective article…In ‘the Guardian’.

  11. Hi walter, good piece. Although with whom should the accountability for Ozzies injury being charged? Every one is accountable for something in Business, or is it bad luck you think?

    Its just the way some of us see it is that Ozil only ever played a maximum of 70 minutes for Real Madrid and it was a slower league. How many breaks did Ozil receive when he came to this country? think back to the beginning of last season until Xmas. The Answer i believe is none. Where is the care for the player from our staff at arsenal? Look at Ramsey, he was selected for every single game in the first half of last season, burned out by xmas, out for an extended period.

    Im sorry but Ozil was due to break down. Why havent we seen rotation? AGAIN?! 😀

    Where is Rosicky , podolski? Both players who have said to the media they are unhappy recently, who we need in order to avoid these kind of injuries, or at least to give are guys a fighting chance..

    Ozil was over played in his first season (that is unarguable) , has a busy world cup then comes straight back into being used (on the left) in every single game, again. He breaks down. Surely that was more predictable that a snow Coldplay song right?

    So why is it allowed to happen, could it be wenger physically runs his players into the ground and just “hopes” they’ll be ok? He pins everything on luck, we have a small squad , we are injury prone , so logic dictates we need a bigger squad ( who wenger is actually prepared to rotate) in order to compete to the level that the size of our club, reputation manager and bank account suggests we can.

  12. Thank you El Gringo. There has to be a reason, why Ozil, who is not good enough for Arsenal plaid all 7 games in the World Cup. There has to be a reason, why Ozil who is lazy, even at a young age won against the all action, useful Engaland in the U-21 finals. There has to be a reason why Loew was rueing Ozil’s injury before the Poland game. There has to be a reason why Bayern Munchen would bite our hands off, if we offered Ozil to them. You know what? When he leaves sooner or later, he will not be short of suitors, and may be we will rue his absence then.

  13. Ozil was given the first few weeks of the season off, more then any other player from the German squad, yet Dear MTLM above thinks he was not rotated?

    Completely transparent, lame, and disingenious trolling of Arsenal football Club, the above is an example of the outright lies about what has happened with this particular player – Ozil could not have been more looked after, ignoring the referees. Must be another stupid ignorant know nothing(see the above) AAAA troll then.


  15. This current bunch as the bunch just previously to this of PUNDITS/Anti-Arsenal/AAA – ARE NOT good and have NEVER been good enough to even polish/tie the laces of our Star [Özil] BOOTS…they are good enough for THE BOOT though!!

  16. I despair at any football fan and most importantly Arsenal fans that can’t see the value Ozil adds to our team. It’s a wonder that any top player would want to come and play for Arsenal if this is how they are treated by the media and our own fans. I love watching him play and count myself lucky that I see him play regularly for Arsenal.

    @MadeToLoveMagic What a load of rubbish. Ozil started the season later than other Arsenal is one of those things that happens in a game. Players get injured. Stop trying to find fault where none exists.

  17. finsbury

    yes we get targeted sometimes by teams, that is because we play a certain way and i believe that attracts tactics like we see from Jose. Yes we dont receive enough protection , the chelsea game was a clear example of this… But in no way does that excuse the fact that we played ozil into injury. He played WAY more, in a more rough league, for a team who gets targeted by other teams, and still the only way he could get a break in his first season was to be injured. That point is undeniable,

    So he was given some time off at the beginning? so what? That is an enforced break given by FIFA. So wenger gave ozil qan extra week, who cares. Thats nothing to do with my point on rotation..

    So where are Rosicky, and podolski? Why wasnt ozil rested in the Champs league mid week?

    Im just saying that to deny at least part responsibility from wenger for our teams constant injury crisis , is bias to the extreme.

    Again, you didnt answer my point on Ramsey, our best player at the start of last year, litteraly didnt miss a game until he broke down..

    Now was that the fault of the refs?

  18. Gonner sal,

    None exists?

    Ozil was given one extra week, then has played in all but one game. After his first year then the world cup he should be rotated more with the squad players that we have like Tomas and Lukas, why hasnt this happened?.. Because wenger hates rotation, its as clear as day. He will play a player in the red zone if he wants, he works them so hard in training they arent fresh for matches. How can we have played with so much fatigue in some games this year? its only October… The wheels are coming off with injuries, and it happens every damn year now. We should have pre empted it .

    last season wenger says our injury record was super concerning YET he still goes with a bare bones squad some of which he isnt even prepared to play

    All of us AAA’s as you label us said we have an amzing squad but it needs a DM, , and that is precisely what pires said last week.

    Again i refer you to Ramsey, you cant tell me that he wasnt over used at the start of last year , you seriously cant tell me you dont see that?

  19. My money’s on MadeToLoveMagic never had a single original thought in his whole life,led by the nose by the anti’s, he of course believes he knows better when in fact the only thing he’s an expert in is hindsight.

  20. Philbet
    Again a classic example of untold aggression towards someone with a different opinion to them selves..

    Thanks, your insults make me even more certain im right. By the way what original thoughts have you ever had? please enlighten me oh wise original one..

    Come up with any philosophical or scientific theories that have changed the way the human race thinks lately? Hmmmm thought not. So you are original in your unwavering support of Arsene? Sadly not

  21. by the way Philibet and finsury

    I have been banned from Le grove multiple times in my overt defending of wenger.. I am not led in any way shape or form by the the AAAs as you call them. I form my own opinions, and at this moment i think wenger is making the same mistakes over and over and over and over ad infinitum

  22. Another great article! Why don’t these people leave this poor boy alone? I bid him a speedy recovery. Tough luck that he’s not going to be around now that we have our resident speed merchant, the inimitable TW back. The thought of what they both can do on the field makes me tingle and warm from head to toe! Something tells me Oscar will soon be paid back in his own coin. Then we’ll seen ‘Moaninho’ do his thing. What goes round comes round you know.

  23. @ El Gringo, “the Pole in goal”….I find that rather interesting. Has a nice ring to it too. We’re blessed with classy players no matter what they say, and their day to be covered in glory will come sooner than later.

  24. Forever Arsenal! Call me what you will, I don’t care! The future is bright, and it’s red and white! Am crazy about this club and it’s the love of my life. I beg you, please dont tell the wife!

  25. @MadeToLoveMagic
    Almost every team plays their best players as much as possible. Unless injured or completely run down a player plays these days. Some accuse Wenger of overplaying people while other question why he uses younger players in the CC and early rounds of the FA cup. Exp. 6 players started every league match last year. Toure, Hazard, and Henderson played 35. Old man Gerrard, Nasri, and Barkley played 34. The point is unless a player is injured they play, there is just so much pressure to win.

  26. blaise fair point,

    but with arsenals injury record more care should be taken with our players, and ofcourse there are players who play most games, but the point is that most dont. Most need a break..

    Ozil went from a gentle league where he was always subbed after 70 to a rough league where he played every minute. Logic dictates that he will get injured> He has..

    Look at Ozils injury record before joining us and i think it is very telling..

    Plus i dont agree with “you play unless you are injured”

    Surely if someone is in the red zone, they should be rested by using another squad member. THAT is more benificial for the team as a whole..

    Id be tempted to say that the pressure to win is so large that we cant afford to NOT rest players when they need it..

  27. Thanks for another insightful post,Walter. As always, a few pop up with nonsensical accusations against the club, without backing their accusations with evidence. The criticism of Ozil is down to jealous, nothing more nothing less. Our AAA dimwits fall for the trash in publications like the daily mail line hook and sinker, without caring to check for themselves if there’s truth or not.

    Even when Ozil has a bad day by his standards, he’ll still have contributed more than most average PL midfielders if you look at his stats.. The biggest accusation trotted by the media is the ‘he looks disinterested’ line, even though stats will tell a different story. In England, if a player isn’t charging down the opposition like a man possessed then he’s useless. Laughable.

  28. And now the media is on steam roller band wagon; ‘Özil wants out’

    These people just never stop!!!!!

  29. Thanks for putting this together Walter, good to see the stats that back up what many of us think of ozil.
    Seems the daily Heil, a disgusting rag with a very unpleasant history…..has been running a story that Ozil wants out, that Bayern want him for thirty mil, and we are going to roll over and sell one of our best at a twelve million loss! Ok!!!!!sounds looks absolute bollocks to me, but fits those with an agenda. But, fortunately, saw this fairly unequivocal tweet from the horses mouth

    What some who claim to follow the club a lifetime fail to realise, wenger plays via a highly complex sequence of patterns of play. These can be devastating when they work…..and a bit pants when they do not. But the point is, they are not learned over night, and we have new players learning them. No coincidence the most effective players are mostly those that have been at the club the longest. Ozil,is not quite there yet, but when he does get there, this team will be lethal. The much maligned Arteta is so important, because he is the anchor of these patterns, taking the ball from defence and setting them in motion, flam does the same. Someone like Matic or wayama could not. This system is why tactically astute managers like Jose and Pelligrini , with help from their pgmol allies use persistent fouls to stop our runners, and prevent these patterns from forming up field.
    IF we do get a MF in Jan, I believe it will only be due to injury concerns, it will not be a destroyer, but someone who can play a role in these systems.

  30. Headline on Claret and Blue website:

    “Was Jenkinson rushed back too soon?”

    Players and or coaches ignoring physios? Yet again! OMG Who could have imagined such a scenario occurring in professional sport? Unbelievable eh? As a self-declared Redzone Expert (I am also an expert in Football Coaching, Finance, the aforementioned physiotherapy (sports) and also flatulance – buisness cards are available, just as soon as i get some printed) it’s clear to me that VENGAAAAAAAAARGH is to blame for this calamity. No doubt about it. I also blame him for the price of eggs thesedays.

    It’s all gone Pete Tong. Bring back George Graham, the Queen Mum, leather footballs for real men (& tight shorts & mullets too) and all will be well again.

  31. @MadeToLoveMagic
    You say Wenger doesn’t rotate. In that case can you tell me how many times Wenger has played the same starting lineup in consecutive matches?

  32. Ozil had the been the best player in terms of assists for five consecutive seasons in Europe before he joined Arsenal. These stats of his first season show he was the best attacking midfielder in the PL in his first season with us. And yet he is still supposed to be rubbish. If that is rubbish then can we have more of this rubbish please, Mr Wenger. The German coach highly rates him, mourinho said he’s the best no 10(even tho I don’t like the despicable mourinho), Wenger rates him highly as other international managers, yet some clown that never played football or manage even a Sunday league pub team thinks they know better.

    I’m worried Sanchez is the next target, for both the kickings on the pitch and being dismissed as rubbish in the media. And after that Welbeck perhaps? I didn’t forget Wilshere BTW, he’s already being subjected to both treatments. Is it coincidence that this special treatment is reserved for our best players? I think not.

  33. Ozil is class, the media is pissed we signed him and their beloved Manchester club or the one with the vile European history.

  34. Only 7 games played and the doom and gloom merchants are already at work, forecasting who we should buy and sell and rubbishing nearly every player who wears the shirt.
    The January Window is firmly in their view and by the end of that month, they will be commenting on next Summer’s transfers.
    It was ever thus.

  35. Off topic, but an interesting interview with Ivan on the official site. Yes, you could say he is saying what a CEO should….but he gives the firm impression we are working to a plan….not quite there yet, hut getting there. He also mentions he has to make sure the club is in a strong position the day the giant who manages the team calls it a day.
    Get the impression there is a hell of a lot going on behind the scenes. We will get there, despite the aaa/media and the pgmol/Premier league.

  36. MTLM has a valid pont on the red zone issue. This term was incidental used by Wenger himself. We refer to our body as engines. Eg: Ramsey has a great engine, or gerrad, or lampard etc. Like your car or bike, the rpm meter will have a green zone and a red zone. The manufacturer tells you do not use the vehicle in the red zone for too long. The difference is that for the vehicle, u can see that u are in that zone but for the body u will need to depend on that players honest assessment of his condition or the physios or other test. How long the manager wants to play that player in the red zone depends on the players importance to the team.

  37. Great article.

    @Mandy Dodd
    You hit the nail on the head, and i repeat your second paragraph (for the lazy ones who do not read all comments).
    “What some who claim to follow the club a lifetime fail to realise, Wenger plays via a highly complex sequence of patterns of play. These can be devastating when they work…..and a bit pants when they do not. But the point is, they are not learned over night, and we have new players learning them. No coincidence the most effective players are mostly those that have been at the club the longest. Ozil,is not quite there yet, but when he does get there, this team will be lethal. The much maligned Arteta is so important, because he is the anchor of these patterns, taking the ball from defence and setting them in motion, Flam does the same. Someone like Matic or Wayama could not. This system is why tactically astute managers like Jose and Pelligrini , with help from their pgmol allies use persistent fouls to stop our runners, and prevent these patterns from forming up field.”

    Of course it is sometimes frustrating not to be where we want to be yet,, but as Gazidis says on please read it), being impatient is not just the fans.

    Even with the (Arsenal’s) plan in motion, (YES, we have a plan), and have had this plan ever since the move started from Highbury.
    The goal is to (1)equal and (2)surpass the top teams like Real, Barca, and Bayern.

    So after complaining some years ago myself, I caught wind of the plan and then became a little LESS impatient as i understood where the club was going.

    ALL i really hope for is that I am allowed to see Arsenal reach it’s goal, before i have to leave this plane of existence, AND if that does not work out for me, THEN there will be plenty of opportunity for me to do so from the “other side”.

  38. Mesut Özil ✔ @MesutOzil1088

    “thanks for your support following my injury. I’ll come back on the pitch soon as I can to help #AFC. now and in the future #MiaSanArsenal”

    Now the media can report of a reported which reported something that wasn’t even there 🙂 🙂

  39. @Walter The initial injury to Ozil was inflicted in the Spurs game. You had a picture of the tackle where the PGMOL official gave a yellow card.

    The time is coming close when a law suit will be filed against the FA for injury due to lack of protection by its appointed officials. Most of these ‘tackles’ would be considered attempted GBH by policemen. The Police allow Referees the control of Law on the football field, perhaps it is time to take that control back.

    The idiots who blame Wenger for injuries do not have the faintest idea of what is happening on the field. Injuries are not due to tiredness but due to blatant targetting of individuals. The Cahill attempt to break Alexis’s legs is an example.

    Danny’s tackle on Fabregas was also poor but his slide was wide of the player, unlike Cahills. The PGMOL official was wrong in not red carding both tackles (not for the first time).

    Despite the robbery of our players through injury, Wenger’s Arsenal will excel.

  40. Followup on Segerstrom

    Looking around news articles in Google News, I found articles in Romania and Sweden. I had Google Translate the longest article to English. What I was looking at, was consideration of the brain cancer being influenced by playing football. For example, a tie in to heading the ball or concussions. The article did not mention any thing in this regard. I am hoping an autopsy is performed which might provide a liklihood in this regard.

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