Arsenal’s win ratio, two assists from Ozil, and the trick of body language

By Tony Attwood

One of the things the children who run the mass media and lead their little camp of followers never quite understand is the essence of support.  It is emotional, tied to one’s tribe.  But us fans also tend to know our statistics.  And some of us have actually read a book or two.

Because of this lack of understanding of what football fans are about the press and their followers end up saying the strangest things like “Enough is enough” which is a bit like saying “sheep are sheep”.  Quaint but ultimately meaningless.  We by and large know what words mean, and repeating them with the verb “to be” in the middle, doesn’t actually say anything of the slightest interest.

Tom Peck in the Independent clearly missed every issue in yesterday’s Arsenal match, and it would be nice to think that this morning his editor will be having words.  But sadly, I suspect his editor has got little idea about what is going on in football either.

He wrote, “For two clubs whose seasons are amounting to little more than a weary shrug of the shoulders, this was an instantly forgettable match, played out on an afternoon when everything to get excited about was happening elsewhere.”

Well, actually, no.   The issue was, would Arsenal continue their run of having the highest win ratio in the Premier League since December 1 – and possibly earlier.  The answer was most obviously yes.

And for the grown ups who actually care a bit about Arsenal it was very important.  Important to reduce the gap to second place by another three points.  Important to show that the Monaco game was a blip.  Important to see if Giroud, a man who is equalling Henry’s league goal scoring game by game could continue.

Quite why such children as “Tom Peck” are paid to write that stuff is beyond me.  It has nothing to do with football as it appears to people who make football work – the paying public at the matches.

And so, back to the start.  As we pointed out prior to the Everton game, Arsenal has the highest win ratio of any Premier League team since 1 December.

As was said in reply to an earlier comment along these lines, there are no prizes for this, but the statistic does tell us something.  It tells us that we are currently doing better in the league than any other club.  It tells us we are doing something right.

Now we know that the children (the media barons and their allies) with their “I want it and I want it now” approach to life, only value the half hour and what is promised in the next half hour, and nothing before that (unless it involves one of their favourite teams) but there is something to be learned here.

Arsenal did less well than we hoped through the first three months of the season, and it is quite reasonable to assume that this was in part due to the injuries the club faced, both in terms of the total number and in terms of their specifically hitting certain parts of the team.

But we hauled ourselves back.  And have done it even though our best player of the first half of the season – Alexis – now finds his goal scoring drying up.   All good teams have this; the mantle of responsibility moving from one player to another as the season wears on.

Some blame the management for the earlier difficulties, either in terms of there not being enough players signed (Alexis, Ospina, Welbeck are names that do come to mind) or for the management’s training methodology.  (They also tend to miss out on the development of Bellerin and Coquelin, but missing things out is their style).

And it was done in an environment where other clubs not only have much more money than Arsenal but where several are tentatively exploring all sorts of creative ways around FFP.  We’ve rehearsed the argument many times and I don’t see any point going back over it again.  If you want to read both sides of the equation the previous articles are still on the site, as is the correspondence relating to them.

But as I say, the club is now winning a higher percentage of games played than anyone else, and given that the past cannot be undone that seems a fairly good response to reality.

It would be nice if the children recognised this, but perhaps it is not surprising that they don’t.  Instead we’ve had a new argument… that Arsenal’s good form shouldn’t be counted because some of it is down to luck.  If the shot in the last seconds from Palace had gone in, that match would have been drawn, it is said by way of example.

But such an argument can be used both ways.   Arsenal have been lucky, in this sense, and unlucky.  That’s how it goes.  If the Palace game were to be counted as a draw then there are draws that could be counted as wins.  Unlike dodgy ref decisions, luck goes round and round.

And then we come to Ooooooospina, who we have been told for weeks isn’t good enough for Arsenal, and how Arsenal will have a clear out of keepers because they are simply the weak part of the team.  He continued with his very good run of performances and the goals against ratio per league game continues to improve.

Gabriel made a hash of an early problem, but put in a sensational clearance later, and looks like a solid addition to the squad.  Ozil’s statistics again look brilliant but again he is criticised – that is now de rigeur for the guy.   Amazing how the children will even turn on one of our very best players just because they don’t like his body language.

(Body language – and I can say this with some certainty since I did a lot of research in the subject for a book wrote about the performance of teachers in the classroom some ten years ago – is not a science, and although many people claim to be able to read body language, they actually get it wrong much of the time.  What’s more, clever people – actors obviously, and many professional sports people – use body language to give off the wrong signals to deceive the opposition.  Ozil looks very much like one of these).

So the pattern continues.  Criticism of Wenger and his players without any reference whatsoever to an analysis of their performance.   Bananas are bananas as I suppose they might say.

But fortunately the crowd at the game yesterday saw it differently – and not only did the questioned Ospina play well, and the derided Giroud score, but Ozil came up with two assists.

And oh yes we enjoyed Giroud pointing to the heavens.  You don’t have to believe to share his faith to share in his thanks to the wider universe at that point.

Arsène Wenger said, “Olivier has one great quality. When his back is to the wall he has the personality to respond. Because I know him better now that is one of the reasons why I kept him in the team. He acknowledged he missed his game and I knew he had the strength to respond…

“With the ball we can do better. But it was important to respond to Wednesday with a win. Not everyone can do that. And the win is important to us for the rest of our season.

“We have three more points than last week, and if you look at our Premier League run since November we are in a good position. On the fluency front we can do better, but today our first worry was to win the game.”

Ah…. I’m glad to see our chums at the Ems still take a peek at Untold.

Coquelin sadly, has broken his nose and will miss some games.  That will please the children who deride him as obviously no good since he played for Charlton, but then, because they only recall one game, they’ll have forgotten about his heroics – not least against Man C.
But back to the funny little report in the Independent.  It actually says that “Rarely can a team have come to the Emirates and found an Arsenal team so clearly there for the taking”.   Hey ho.  Each to his own interpretation.  The team that has a better win average in the league than any other team over the busiest three months of the season, is “clearly there for the taking” because in the last match they had a howler.   That is the sort of logic you get for only looking at the last game and not having a proper sense of perspective.

Everton tried the old trick of pulling everyone back behind the ball including Muhamed Besic and Gareth Barry.  But that is dangerous given that at any moment Özil, Alexis Sanchez, Santi Cazorla et al can put in a defence splitting pass.

Indeed so far removed from reality was the child from the Independent that he actually said,   “This is the springtime of the year, that time when the fans have finally put the thermals away until November”.   He clearly wasn’t at the match.  It was bloody freezing in the second half.

So he we have it.  The most successful team in the league in the last three months (or did I already say that) described in today’s newspaper as “a team conspiring to underwhelm”.

Ah well, maybe the Independent will find themselves a football correspondent some day.  And an expert on body language.  Or maybe they’d like to read my book.  I think it is still in print.

Carrots is carrots.

88 Replies to “Arsenal’s win ratio, two assists from Ozil, and the trick of body language”

  1. Nice one Tony, the press in general seems more to wrote out of mood rather than actually do some research for their story, or try to understand why things happen.

  2. just wanna point out that while we have 7 wins and 2 losses since christmas, liverpool have 7 wins and 2 draws~ top 4 maybe… chelsea, man city, arsenal, liverpool 😀

  3. well said Tony, about time we started a fight back against these negative sceptics. it seems this is their agenda and seem to want to turn us all against this club, (probably get fed up with the arsenal way) same old, same old etc..
    always love reading your articles.a lot of us agree with you. colin

  4. It’s always interesting to see the differing reactions of the glass-half-full v glass-half-empty groups. What mystifies me is how and why the pessimists paint the pictures that they do when the glass is actually 90% full.
    Even the sensationally good financial statement of last week is represented as a ‘failure to spend money’ rather than proof that the Club is being run in a way that all commercial operations would want and need to be run.
    Arsenal, both on and off the pitch continue to be difficult to pigeon-hole and that is just too much of a challenge to most pundits and commentators who can only survive by regurgitating cliches and platitudes which, traced back, have little or no basis of truth.

  5. A simple and honest comparison of the hack-dwarves coverage of Ozil* when compared with Lamela, soldado, Di Maria, Falcao et. al will tell the non-bigoted soul all that they need to know on the matter 😉

    *A player who in his first season in English Football after moving from the more genteel environs of Real Madrid won a trophy and then went on to be a Key player for a World Cup winning team, a testament to his grit, fitness and strength and commitment: the hacky slappers and xenophobes like Ashton can write what they like but it doesn’t get better then that for a professional footballer upon this Earth: and that was his first seaosn at the club and in the PL.

  6. Ozil, Giroud, Ospina – criticized by the media, chief performers in yesterday’s victory. It says it all – these writers don’t base themselves on what is actually happening. Those quotes from the Independent prove it.

    It was great to see Super Tom Rosicky get a goal as well after being on the pitch for no time at all. I reckon the boss is saving him for when he really needs him.

  7. Well done Tony: it is so irritating for the journalists that we continue to reap the points and the profits we do. I think it is because we do it in a very different way to everyone else, so they cannot accept that it is being done at all. Ozil is a powerful symbol of this: he looks as if he doesn’t care and lacks any power, but ends up the most influential player on the pitch. It is easier to criticise than to try to understand. You call them children: I would call them monkey hangers as that is the story that springs unbidden to mind when faced with such idiocy.

  8. Chelsea play shit, and they say “it’s a sign of a good team to win despite playing badly”…

    Arsenal win and it’s branded as “lucky”.

    Where’s the logic in that?

    Top 4:

  9. The criticism of Ozil just shows that those in the media just tend to jump on the bandwagon without doing any analysis themselves. I have had the misfortune of listening to gary neville and owen laying into him over our last two matches, for nothing. If they cared to look at his performance stats they would realise what complete asses they’re making of themselves. All you hear is he looks like he doesn’t care, he’s not bothered at all, blah blah blah. Like Tony said some professionals use this laid back to fool the opposition. Just look at Usain Bolt before he takes to the track; he’ll be looking very relaxed, clowning around for the cameras, etc. But when it comes to the business he delivers in uncompromising fashion. To these dimwits what matters is the body language, not the end product. Fools.

  10. I wonder why the body language has become a deciding factor in deriding Ozil. The same people did not see the work rate and the body language of Ramsey before writing him off.

    keep up the good work Ozil. And come back strong Ramsey.

    Go Gunners

  11. Rosicky is our secret weapon.

    Hey, Chel$ are going to slip, cant you see it, cant you see it?, cant you see it?

  12. Well said mate. Press is full of wannabees who wouldnt know their elbows from their arsenal.

    When a dog barks then you let it continue.

  13. Berbatov use to get a lot of criticism for his languid style of movement, they also called him lazy.

  14. @para… lets make it


    Man Utd for spursday night football

  15. After every Arsenal game, I’m sad. Even if we have won, I’m sad because game is finished and I have to wait days to see my team play again. Weird feelings 🙂
    I just want to see my team playing, every win is a bonus, every draw or lose a disappointment which goes away quickly because there is always next game.

  16. 11 games to go. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves , just keep winning four out of every five games. Should get us to about 78 points. We’ll then have to see where that gets us in terms of league position, it should certainly get us into the CL again. I’d certainly rather see us third or better than fourth though as that would enable us to get our summer business done early.

    First things first though – three points on Wednesday!


  17. couple of things, when Giroud put the diving header wide in the first half, (it looked easier in real time, but the replay showed the ball was a bit behind him and but no means a glaring miss) the north bank broke out in chorus of Nah nah nah Giroud, well done guys, exactly what our players need.
    I also discovered the three phases of a young English players career
    1st – highly rated
    2nd – over rated
    3rd – I never rated him !

    Al, watch in a month when the penny will drop on Ozil, and Neville et al, will say oh, what a good player he is now he’s improved, even though he’s been churning out chances week in week out already.
    Sadly, it’s the ‘run around a f**king bit’ mentality of the English pundit that holds us back so much.

  18.  will end up like every one of the last 10 seasons apart from last year.Groundhog day.
    You pointed out that  – Arsenal did less well than we hoped through the first three months of the season but you didnt say that it was the worst start to a season in 30 years ??why .Be honest.But you will not post my comments along with others who state the truth about the way the team and manager has performed over the season.Just ban everyone that doesnt agree with you tony that way everyone can believe that your posts are more factual and better than Tom peck of the indipendant

  19. Saint – you ask

    but you didnt say that it was the worst start to a season in 30 years ??why .Be honest

    OK, here’s the honest answer

    Without even looking it up I can think of a season in the last 30 years where Arsenal have made a significantly worse start – and a worse finish. In fact I can think of four candidates, but I have other things to do without looking each detail up.

    I am not going to bore everyone to death with all the stats from all those seasons, but just one…

    1994/5 first eight league games, won 2, lost 4, drew 2
    2014/5 first eight league games, won 2, lost 1, drew 5

    (A draw is better than a defeat, I should add, just in case you didn’t notice).

    And that’s really what it is all about. You have claimed to give lots of evidence to support your views, but while we quote things like statistics and analyses you quote nothing. You just make assertions like

    the worst start to a season in 30 years

    and then as in a previous post, claim you have sent in loads of evidence. But in fact your statements are factually incorrect.

    It is amusing and even droll on occasion, but I have to admit that like all jokes that are repeated over and over again it is wearing thin. Your role as an incompetent commentator is laughable, but really I’ve got other things to do with my time that fill in the statistics that you can’t be bothered to look up.

    If I get around to it I will post a collection of your past posts with your claim about providing evidence, but otherwise I have had enough of this. You are, in my estimation (and of course it is just me) wrong in your “facts” and hence woefully inadequate in your conclusions, and I think everyone here has had enough chance to make up their own minds. If they choose to believe in your approach fine – you can go off and set up your own blog and have such readers as followers.

    Walter, Blacksheep, Andrew, Don and all the other writers, and myself, simply follow a different route on Untold. Its a liberal democracy so you can go and do your own thing, but these false statements over and over are simply not what we are here to discuss.

  20. I love an irrelevant statistic as much as the next man but “Arsenal have the highest win ratio since the 1st December” has to be up there with the best this year.

  21. Saint……….are you “reading” your crystal balls again? Here are a few facts you seem to neglect:

    1)The ONLY EPL team to have been in the CL since 17 years.
    2)Tied (and hopefully soon to surpass)United in FA cup wins.
    3)Won two trophies last season (FA Cup & charity Shield).
    4)NOT the worst start in 30 years….but who cares,you don’t win anything for good starts, only great finishes.
    5) UA DO publish bloggers who are critical of individual and team performances and WILL criticize the team if it performs badly like last Wednesday BUT we, unlike your sad view of life, DO celebrate our victories and appreciate the Arsenal’s exciting rise up the EPL ladder!

    LeGrovel needs guys like you…..pessimists,whiners,moaners,blinkered fools,haters, pseudo-supporters, glass full of shit types are ALL warmly welcomed there….what type are you?

  22. Does anybody really bvelieve that Ozil is having a good season, deserves to be in the team and hasn’t been a dissapointment for £42.5million. People must be watching different matches to me.

  23. Zoon: As you certainly seem to be using a different dictionary it is entirely possible that you are watching different matches from me.

  24. I feel like a plonker at this stage for being partially taken in, at the start of his media career, by Neville’s act . What’s very clear by now is that he’s smarter than your average British footballer, more committed to his work than your average commentator/pundit/journo here, but still very much the same toe rag who set about Reyes.

    He has the football audience here well figured out. This is a man who pretended to only realise it was a bit off to hassle refs and what have you, in the way he systematically used to, once his career had finished. Astonishing-are we to believe even intelligent players operate under a sort of fog of war, 24 hours a day, all year round, into their thirties, right up to the moment they retire, at which point finally the mists clear and they can see things as they are? It was bogus, but through a few carefully delivered articles like this he was able to establish rock solid credibility. Neville, the unbiased soul.

    Since i moved past my ‘hang on, maybe?…well, maybe not that much, but at least he’s much fairer-minded than I thought’ stage it has become very clear his biases align perfectly with his commitment to his cause as a player. There is criticism of United, but it is all superficial, done like a dodgy ref making normal decisions once his work is down and he has already done his work for the day, or when, despite his best efforts, things haven’t worked out.

    The difference between the way he treats Ozil, and players who ,unlike him, have not even done many good things to go with the things which can be legitimately questioned, is remarkable. Di Maria has clearly made a much worse start to his career in the british game than Ozil has. In fact, Di Maria has made a very poor start, Ozil has had, at worst, a mixed time so far, with some great matches, some difficult ones, some difficult ones which nonetheless contained magic moments (all things any half decent pundit should be able to easily see). But no, it is Ozil whose strengths are not discussed and whose weaknesses, real and imagined, are mercilessly dissected.

    Neville still operates 100% in ‘protect Man United’ mode. Whatever is in that club’s interest, he will attempt to serve it. Criticising Moyes, for instance, though respectfully it should be noted, doesn’t contradict this, it confirms it : Neville’s smart and knows his football and knew at a certain point Moyes was toast and protecting him was not in United’s interest.

    As for the action on the pitch, he is, in football terms, a subtle one. The majority of the time he is eagle eyed, impressively so, but where United benefit from an offside, a late challenge, a foul in the build up…you’ll hear nothing of it until replay two or three, at which point he’ll again pick exactly the right tool for the job- ‘hmmm, maybe a bit lucky there’. Or you won’t hear of it whatsoever.

    Owen, meanwhile, I wouldn’t say I hate at all. He can be extremely irritating, occasionally seem decent and offer different and better insights than the majority, and, remarkably, considering all he achieved and some of the irritating traits, I sometimes feel a little sorry for him. He went through hell with injury and, unlike a true Fergie-reared United man, doesn’t seem like a b***ard to me. He is one who was blindly trotting out the thoughts of others and the culture here in slamming Ozil; Neville’s a guy who knows a lot better and could make strong arguments in the player’s favour if he chose to do so.

  25. ZOON


    Played…… 32

    Scored…….07(0.20 per game)

    Assists……08(0.25 per game)…..87%



    Scored…….04(0.26 per game)Better than Santi.

    Assists……06(0.40 per game)Better than Santi.…..88% Better than Santi.

    I think we would all agree, even ZOON, that Santi has been having a great season. I certainly do. He’s been magnificent. So this is in no way a pop at Santi, just an attempt to point out the absolute folly in trying to paint Ozils performances as anything other than brilliant as well.

    Ozils Statistics are a match for, in fact, slightly better than Santis.

    So yes ZOON, it does seem you are watching different matches to us.

    Statistics are courtesy of WHO SCORED.COM, Who also, by the way, have Ozil in there ‘ratings’ team of the season.

  26. Statistics don’t play games. We all know Ozil has not played well even you know it and just are just using your statistics to prove what a wonderful fan you are whi is never negative. I have seen enough games and players to know he has been a disappointment with my own eyes. Don’t be a sheep post your own opinions you never know you might like it.

  27. I think that to solve this debate good/not good about Özil is to ask the players and the coachs… Can they genuinely bear a player that is useless to their game? They truly seem to accept it with a smile (ex: Tomas’ latest statement about his goal). So the haters can hate, the players have the Truth.

  28. Zoon if what özil is playing now does not satisfy you enough or at all, please drive straight to the Emirates and collect his Jersey then play for us on Wednesday. I’ve learnt that people who tend to complain about people CANNOT do 1/10000000 of what the other is doing. Don’t tell me soccer is not your job.

  29. More than happy to turn out for the team i love. I will give it everything i have 120% commitment. Will i get his £150k a week wages for this week? Ps where do i need to collect the shirt from?

  30. Those pesky statistics.

    Funny how statistics aren’t worth a jot when you haven’t got any to back up your opinion isn’t it?

    And that’s the thing about opinions. That’s all they are without statistics, opinions.

    Try winning an argument in court solely on opinion.

    Try looking over the internet to see how many sites are dedicated to statistics.

    Prozone. A statistical tool used by just about every football Club in the World to evaluate there teams performance, as well as there own and opposition players performance.

    Arsenals recent signing, Gabriel, was partly bought on the back of another statistical tool.

    Every cricket match, tennis match, rugby match, football match, basketball match…need I go on, is based on statistics. Most runs, most goals, most points etc. etc. etc.

    And ZOON chooses to dismiss stastics out of hand in favour of ‘his’ opinion.

    His opinion, which of course he has come to all on his own, where as my opinion is apparently a result of me just following (who knows what) like a sheep.

    Not only that but I’m also apparently only backing Ozil to prove what a wonderful fan I am.

    When you get replies like that you really do wonder if there is ever any point in trying to enter in to a debate with these people.

  31. I can’t stop laughing at some of the negative Ozil post here. He can do no right can he until he starts developing wings and fly all over the pitch.

    Other than our own eyes, statistics are the only other means to gauge how someone is performing. We can’t certainly keep our eyes on the player the whole 90 minutes no matter how good he is.

    Movements off the ball plays a significant part too.

    I doubt anyone watches Ozil for 90 minutes. I don’t so I can’t say whether he is really bad or outrageously good.

    But I can say every time the camera focus on him, he does more positive (e.g. creating spaces, attempting pin point passes) than negative (e.g. failed dribbles) actions.

    He reminds me of Hleb. Low assist many cried but when he see his involvement in the build up play, he is the guy that made that pass to the player making the final pass (recorded as assist) to the scorer.

    If you only look at Ozil from his return, you can clearly see he is a different player. Forget about his first season. He was acclimatizing.

    I guess some fans can’t bring themselves to admit their mistake in judging him too early. Alternatively, who would they suggest we replace Ozil with?


  32. I like reading and always read untold almost everyday buh av come to realise a big respect for wenger on this site.. Firstly,wengeris a human and is subject to make mistakes @ any given time buh untold always try to cover up wenger mistakes by finding another way to paint what actually happen another colour.I like wenger buh still believe hez also part of while arsenal went so long to win a title(a title which he played almost all matches @ home and faced not either of chelsea,man city or united) let’s call a spade a spade.
    Secondly,I don’t mourinho buh wil take him ahead of wenger when it comes to discipline…take it or leave it wenger is not discipline (gibbs said wenger allow him to learn from his own mistakes)also alexis work rate took them all by surprise because they are not use to that…Arsenalis where a coach wil alwaz complain to 4th official instead of charging up his players..

  33. The big shame with this Ozil ‘debate’ is that it isn’t taking place.

    There are probably few more perfect players in the world for making us think about the team sport that is football and, even better, our football attitudes in this country.

    If you have a guy who will never fly into a challenge, who will try his best to avoid any solid contact which carries a hint of danger, a guy, moreover, who can sometimes be pushed off the ball easily when put under intense pressure, and who, every now and then, will give the ball away cheaply, can that guy still be a good or even a great, player?

    That’s the debate there should be about Ozil. And the counter argument should be something like ‘yes, he can still be a good or even a great player. He gives the ball away cheaply you say? How often and, more importantly, what type of passes does he normally play and at what level of difficulty? Someone who looks for safety first may rarely be left looking foolish by playing a tame-looking ball to an opponent, but he may also miss countless opportunities to progress play, he may regularly put his teammates in trouble by giving them the ball when they don’t want it and he may almost never execute difficult passes which catch out the opposition. And so forth.

    Yesterday I bet it was no more than three times Ozil played poor passes straight to an opposition player, but I’ll admit each one was no doubt very eye-catching for me, and I may have even got angry once (forgive me, Mesut, for I am British) – someone who is rooting for him!- but I’ll bet that ,on what was an average performance by his standards, rewatching the match would confirm 20 ok passes, 15 good ones, 5 great ones.

    There’s should be plenty more to the debate than that, but it really is enough to be going on with : does that sort of ratio make a good player? Can a player have some big weaknesses, some huge strengths and still be called a great player? Isn’t it a team game, so doesn’t the success of a player like that depend as much on the rest of the team as the player himself?

    And doesn’t it show something about football here that when we see, say, a tough tenacious player who makes his challenges, runs a lot, shouts, looks passionate,etc, but who is pretty average on the ball, it doesn’t even tend to spark the thought that such a player is ‘all good and well within a team- if he has teammates who are good at the things he cannot do well’?

    You couldn’t win with 10 Ozils. But you couldn’t win with ten Coquelin’s either, nor Terry’s, Ronaldo’s, Messi’s.
    Even ten Gerrard’s- our archetype of the man who can do it all- would not land you the big prizes (though they would beat ten Ozil’s and, in England, kick them into submission to make sure).

    What we’ve found in international football is that ten Gerrard’s- or rather ten players with similar ideas about the game and with broadly similar skillsets; nine Gerrardian players and one real deal Gerrard- are left looking woefully inadequate by team’s with better technique, balance and, arguably, intelligence.

    Commentators here could watch one of the more dire games, packed with running and aggression but featuring barely a single flourish of skill, and hardly be moved to talk of the lack of skill- or if they did it would be in tones of mild disappointment – ‘hmm, no end product, that was a poor touch, that was a poor touch, they need someone who can play the final pass, someone with extra ability…’

    Never anger ,though, and never questioning how it can be that a professional footballer can have made it in the game without picking up better ability with the ball.

  34. Rich

    I thought this point you made was particularly relevant:

    “….How often and, more importantly, what type of passes does he normally play and at what level of difficulty? Someone who looks for safety first may rarely be left looking foolish by playing a tame-looking ball to an opponent, but he may also miss countless opportunities to progress play,….”

    The following are also from the statistical web site WHO SCORED.COM and concern the statistical data relating to Mesut Özil’s playing Characteristics(note particularly, key passes):


    -Taking set pieces = Very Strong

    -Key passes = Very Strong

    -Through balls = Very Strong

    -Crossing = Very Strong

    -Passing = Strong

    -Holding on to the ball = Strong

    -Dribbling = Strong


    -Defensive contribution = Weak

    This site is neutral, has no affiliation with Arsenal and does this statistical analysis on EVERY single payer in the PL.

    Obviously according to them we’ve bought a right dud 😆

  35. Here are a few of my own statistics.

    Arsenal FC didn’t win a trophy for 9 years with a turnover and wage bill in the top 10 across europe.Does this prove Wenger is not one of europe’s elite managers?

    James Milner has more goals and more assists than Mesut Ozil this year. Does this mean Milner is a better player than Ozil?

    Statistics are subjective as is football so it’s difficult to draw absolute conclusions from either this is why i would prefer to use my own judgement.

  36. The more interesting thing in all of this is the complete media black out of anything Ozil does well. There is not even a begrudging acceptance of his several top performances since returning. It’s worth pointing out that in his ‘disastrous’ first year he made 15 assists and scored 7 goals. There is a very clear agenda against him and also our other German Mertesacker. Both do something wrong, make a mistake and its a huge talking point. When the good comes along, silence.

    Fools have fallen for the ‘he is not trying’ , ‘he doesn’t care’ crap that is spewed day in day out by our media.

  37. From the ‘…match we had to win thread..’

    From Nonny

    March 2, 2015 at 10:50 am (hope you don’t mind me copying this)

    “Just saw on sky that Ozil covered almost 12km on Sunday against Everton. More than any other player on the pitch. So much for been Lazy”

    I just thought it was very relevant to this debate.

    Honestly, Owens and Nevilles disgraceful analysis of ozil these past couple of weeks should shame them. They surely MUST know these stats. It’s there job FFS.

    Yet they spout there shit in the full knowledge that no body will be able to question them.

  38. -Wenger Maintaining Champions League football over that period with an almost zero net spend at the same time Chelsea and Man city posted average annual Net spends over that period of £50 Million, Man Utd £25 Million, Liverpool £20 Million, is what proves Wenger IS one of Europe’s elite managers.

    -How well James Milner is or isn’t playing or even whether he is or isn’t better than Ozil is totally irrelevant. Your argument is that ozil isn’t playing well. I contest he is, and have the statistics to back my assertion.

    -‘Subjective’ means relating to ones feelings and not necessarily relating directly to the facts. How under any circumstances can you class statistics as ‘subjective’. Statistics by nature are what they are, they are FACTS. Subjectivity cannot be applied to facts.

    You should stop digging mate !!

  39. I think this argument being presented by zoon is a good example of how the media brainwash people. He’s a perfect example actually. I know, from reading his comments, that he never has anything positive to say about the manager, only turns up when things don’t go so well or to criticise (as above). So we see him criticise the manager, and now he’s criticising Ozil. The common denominator for me is that both our manager and Ozil are always on the receiving end of some unfair criticisms from the media no matter what good they do. Yet their records show that they’ve been very successful in their respective areas.

    I can assure you zoon will be here telling everyone what a crap player Sanchez is should the media start blasting Sanchez, which I feel is not far off(if he doesn’t score in the next 3 or 4 games). Ozil had the best assists stats in Europe for five years running, and the first 10 games or so for us he was magical before the pl thugs started targeting him with the pgmob’s complicity. I can’t exactly recall which site it was, but I think they had Ozil as having the best stats for attacking midfielders in the 2013/14 season, when he’s supposed to be crap. Stop reading the sun, and learn to think for yourself, zoon.

  40. If I was building a team I would want to have Ozil playing just the way he does, but I also might want another midfielder alongside him who was sufficiently forceful and gifted to allow Ozil the space and protection to do just what he does best. I do not mean by this the mythical DM, but someone more in the Toure mode.

  41. Are we even comparing the same game to goal ratio here, between milner and Ozil. I don’t remember milner being out for three months. Anyway, if the number of games played was not considered when this argument was presented is there really any point arguing with such a person?

  42. Ozil playing well is not a fact? The statistics say Ozil has done this or that but not that he is a good player or is playing well. What is playing well or bad and how can stats tell you that?

    Ozil has a good assist record while playing with the likes of Ronaldo who you pass the ball to he beats 3 players and scores and that is an assist.

    I am not brainwashed at all and what you have done is prove you can present these things how you want to get the answers you want.

    Vieira would have always been way down on any stats scoring because he didn’t score goals or make assists but he still the best midfield player the league has seen

  43. I know, jambug. And am just looking at milner’s stats, he has 5 goals in 40 appearances this season, while Ozil has 4 in 21 appearances. Nearly half the games milner has played, but with almost the same number of goals. We’re wasting our time here guys, no point carrying on this debate with zoon.

  44. ZOON

    “James Milner has more goals and more assists than Mesut Ozil this year. Does this mean Milner is a better player than Ozil?”



    Scored…..05(0.16 per game)

    Assists….0.6(0.20 per game)


    Not even close to Ozils form.

    I did warn you to stop digging.

  45. Jambug- For you to mention it to somebody else to get conformation for yourself that you’re not there must be something in it.

  46. He has more goals and more assists like i said. I knew you would find the info out and it just proves that you are just the person i thought your were. No stats needed for that.

  47. Jambug
    Yes, yours are spot on. I took mine from soccerbase and they include internationals. Looking at which focuses on club games only milner still played twice the number of games Ozil played, and Ozil’s stats are twice as good as Milner’s! 🙂

  48. Two things.

    I have no idea what you are debating with Jambug. But, some of your use of statistics is questionable.

    If I look at the data for Santi’s passing in 32 games, and apply it to 15 games, I find the histogram of passing accuracy peaks where it should (which isn’t a surprise). The full width at half maximum of the peak is about 2.5%, the passing accuracy difference between Ozil and Santi is less than half that. It is not posssible to say there is a statistical difference in their passing accuracy rate. I didn’t see data on how many passes Ozil attempts compared to Cazorla, that is easily different.

    Chelsea won the League Cup yesterday. Former Gunner Benik Afobe won the Golden Boot in that competition. Congratulations Benik!

  49. Gord

    Please explain, in laymen’s terms, how my use of data is questionable and I will attempt to clarify.

  50. > CAZORLA:


    > OZIL:

    >…..88% Better than Santi.

    Those two rates (87 and 88 percent) are statistically the same number. There is no meaningful difference between them.

  51. Gord.

    Pre empting your reply.

    If you are questioning the accuracy of extrapolating 15 games to 30 games, which is all I can think you are doing, it is not that important.

    I am not trying to accurately say who is best out of Ozil, or Cazorla, all I’m trying to point out is that there performances have been of a very similar standard, and whilst Cazorla is being lorded for an exceptional season, ozil is facing criticism for having a bad season.

    I fail to see how I am mis using the available statistics for both players, as a barometer for showing the similarity in there performances.

  52. Gord

    You have mis read.

    I know Ozils Pass Completion is only 1% better than Cazorlas and not 88%, I was just emphasising that it was better, if only marginally.

  53. The problem the boo-Özil boys have is that it was the player that proved them wrong on Wenger not wanting to spend the f*cking money. So they could no longer bash the manager for that.

    So they hoped he would be a failure. He clearly was and is not. But each minor misplaced pass is now being targeted with the ‘what a lot of wasted money-tag”.

    This is mostly done to have a go at Wenger of course. So each assist Özil gives, each goal he scores, each chance he creates is a slap in their face on how wrong they were about both.

    And so most of them will never admit that Özil is a wonderful player. Even if he would score in each match and give 2 assists on his own.

  54. It may have been your intention to say Cazorla and Ozil are similar, however you said Ozil was better, and then you tried to use statistics which only show they are similar.

    There is nothing wrong with either player’s statistics on passing, they are both wonderful.


    Cazorla has played 32 games to Ozil’s 15. If you were to draw sets of 15 games from Cazorla’s set of 32 games and calculate the successful pass rate, you would find that many would give a comparable (or better) success rate than what is found for Ozil.

    No, I wasn’t thinking of extrapolating Ozil’s 15 games to 32 games.

    I appreciate your willingness to engage the enemy (or embryos) in debate.

  55. Why cant you guys just laugh at the medias desperate attempts to label every Wenger signing a flop unless he is very good or sensational.

    Keep up the good work Gord, I really enjoy and appreciate your posts

  56. The medja idiots. One mental giant suggested that Giroud headbutted Coquelin.

    Far too many of the medja whores, have been saying that Mertesacker is on the way out because he happened to sit on the bench. How many breaks has Per had this season? Fine, after a couple of days of crap headlines, one headlines says that Wenger came out and said he had just rested Per. No sign of a new interview on

    I haven’t seen anything about Coquelin. Supposition he could play on Wednesday. I doubt it. But, seeing as the medja ae making up facts, might as well say that Ramsey could start on Wednesday as ewll.

  57. Gord

    I know there statistics are almost identical, but as my intention was to highlight to those that needed it spelling out, just how good Ozil has been playing, I chose to highlight the fact that, though negligible, all of Ozils Statistics are in fact better than Cazolas.

    I entirely agree that there is nothing wrong with eithers passing statistics and they are both wonderful.

  58. Walter
    That must be it, surely. I’m trying to understand any other player who gets criticised anywhere even for doing half what Ozil does, and coming up empty. As said earlier, Ozil was one of, if not the best midfielder in the pl in 2013/14 season. But his criticism started before, during, and after the world cup. He was one of the best players for Germany at the world cup, but you wouldn’t think that was the case. Your assessment answers Jayram and many others’ questions that why does he get criticised so much. Now we know the answer, the goal is to make him a flop so as to use it as a stick to beat Wenger with. That’s why when he does well they don’t want to talk about it, they would rather talk about him only when he misplaces one pass out of 20!

    Know you and jambug understood where each other was coming from. But I had understood what jambug meant; he was basically saying here we have two players who have more or less similar stats, but how come one gets showered with so much praise while the other gets criticised. It was to expose the duplicity of our medi, and not an attempt at pitting the two against each other. I know this has been clarified but am just adding my voice lest someone else thought it was anything other than the above.

  59. Oh, Giroud is supposed to have headbutted Coquelin now! The levels to which these guys allow themselves to stoop to are shocking.

    We all laugh about these desperate attempts to twist the truth by those in the media, but it also infuriating as some of our fans will actually believe this hogwash that’s said about the club daily in the media. You could see how one of them actually believed milner is a better player than Ozil. I’m sure, if asked, the same individual would argue we wasted money on Ozil and milner would have been a much much better option. Actually, now that I think about it, hasn’t milner been linked with us this coming summer in the media? So perhaps it just wasn’t a coincidence that the individual picked milner as a better player than Ozil.

  60. AL

    Thanks, exactly.

    I think Gord and I just had our wires crossed for a moment.

  61. From an article ‘Winners and Losers’ today on Football365 placing Ozil in the winners

    Mesut Ozil
    The natural scapegoat in times of crisis, Mesut Ozil now has an assist in each of his last three Premier League games at the Emirates. Whilst Eden Hazard has six assists in 26 league games this season, it’s now five in 12 for the German Ozil has gained a reputation for displaying insufficient effort during his time in England. Therefore it’s worth pointing out that only seven players covered ground than him in the Premier League this weekend, and only eight players sprinted more times. Not one
    of those players started a match in midweek – not bad for a shirker.

  62. It’s a case of fuzzy logic where:

    Self important Media Writers add the Fuzzy + Supporters add the logic (Medi Writers ignore Supporters)

    = Fuzzy Media + Zero Logic


  63. Gord @6.40pm,

    I don’t want to this but force every time you write stuff like:

    “Those two rates (87 and 88 percent) are statistically the same number. There is no meaningful difference between them.”

    Your conclusion is wrong especially in professional sports and in most competitive fields. The results are usually so close that that 1% difference can be a lot. Look at 100 metres finals results at the Olympics for instance. If there is an award for best pass completion, Ozil will be the winner and Cazorla will be the runner-up. Enough with the “statistical significance” talk already dear friend.

  64. Bootoomee

    In fairness to Gord I do think it was just a bit of a mis understanding earlier which we sorted, but I do want to agree with you on the point of these ‘small’ seemingly negligible percentages.

    I think it was over a year ago that I posted a piece highlighting just how much even 1% is when it comes to sport, especially elite sport, and winning and losing.

    1% inferiority in:

    Mens 100 Yards = ONE yard, that’s a stuffing.

    5 Furlong Horse race = 11 yards or a couple of Lengths.

    The Derby = 17 Lengths. That’s trailing in the wake of Sheergar.

    The National = 80 lengths or a distance.

    This is why elite race Horses and footballers are monitored to such a degree. A loss of a few % in there statistics in training can mean not being ready for the Derby, or getting on the end of that through ball, or making that tackle.

    I agree, these small % are vital and should never be underestimated.

  65. The National = 80 Yards.

    Sorry about that but obviously the theory is sound, these are big defeats.

  66. Gord, I fully expect you to retort with statistics proving diminishing returns over larger samples and their particular relevance in physical tasks, such as football..

  67. Boo was right when he wrote about how the media manipulates some fickle Arsenal fans.
    Zoon, please change the last letter of your name to ‘m’ so that you can really zoom on Özil when next you watch an Arsenal match.
    And a friendly advice, please try and re watch each math before you comment on players performances. Thanks

  68. what sickens me the most is the conviction of the “Ozil is shit” ARSENAL fans. They are so much up their own @#$% that they cant see anything that he does.

    Ozil is a positional player. Show me another player who has the positional/Spacial awareness as him. You’ll find none. Almost none. Oh and Milner is nowhere close.

  69. I do watch most matches twice. Or even 3 times for my reviews. And if you do this without the heat of the live match and not knowing the outcome you can watch more relaxed and watch how certain players do. And believe me Özil is most of the time doing great if not doing excellent. Take our second goal. The way he picks Rosicky is amazing. Other players were running in to the box following Giroud and Welbeck. And then Özil picks the free man outside the penalty area who has a free shooting chance. Of course Rosicky is a bit lucky with the bounce on the defender. But the picking of that man out of all the other options is what made this pass so great and showed his vision and intelligence. He saw what was the best option and delivered a pass at the right pace and with precision.
    And if you look at him most of the times his passes are for 98% always with the right pace and good precision so his team mate can work immediately on the ball if his own control doesn’t let him down.

  70. Great game- really loved the ‘Na Na Giroud moment’ after his miss in the first half. Coming after the Monaco game, I was quite fearful what effect that miss would have had on him, but the crowd’s reaction would have certainly calmed his nerves.
    Ozil- what an enigma! The way he strolls about the pitch almost seems to suggest an infinitude of time- no wonder he picks out those passes. The biggest criticism towards the end of last season, when our league form dropped off, was that he was a panic buy- that we had too many players in that number 10 role. Cannot judge the latter statement on face value, but he most certainly wasn’t a panic buy. Ozil’s importance to this season and last has been immeasurable in our evolution as a team. Set pieces and counter attacks have been two enhanced features of our game. Would I like him to run about a lot more and harass defenders like Sanchez? Maybe, but not at the cost of his creativity, and Sanchez has his own weaknesses in that he is certainly not very careful in possession. Sometimes, pure genius is more appealing than work ethic- Tesla’s cult status when viewed against Edison being a case in point.
    And the best part- Ozil is probably not a shoo-in when our entire squad is fit!

    On the debate above, I think it was a little unfair on Zoon. I don’t think he was trying to suggest at any point that Milner was better- just that inferences from stats can be purely subjective.
    “The worst start in 30 years”- must admit that I read that somewhere too. Tony, you countered that statement by showing a year where we did have a worse ‘start’, but it’s possible that the ‘start’ may be differently defined by each of you. A middle ground where both you and Saint are right is possible- just shows the uselessness of that stat in the current scenario. And yes, the fact that we have the best win ratio since December is certainly more relevant now.

  71. para – your forecast woz close!

    ARSENAL13 – yours is where my money is!! To be honest, I don’t care about the places. At 130 – 1, I thought somebody wanna get hurt real bad! So I lumped a few squids to cover next seasons ticket & refreshments.

    Gord & jambug – go gooners!!!

  72. hrishi

    “On the debate above, I think it was a little unfair on Zoon. I don’t think he was trying to suggest at any point that Milner was better- just that inferences from stats can be purely subjective.”

    What he was trying to suggest was that Ozil is playing poorly, and has been since he arrived at Arsenal. I produced statistics to back my assertion that Ozil is, and has been playing very well. He then tried to use Milners statistics as a tool to back his argument, the only trouble is that Milners stats are half as good as Ozils.

    And you feel sorry for him. Hmmm.

  73. I am surprised at ZOON. Arsenal have won trophies every year for many years. In fact some trophies were won with record breaking stats (not recognised by the mejia) unequalled by any other team.

    Arsenal Ladies were busy winning trophies while the men were polishing the silver in our cabinets & making room for the many more trophies that will be won.

    Arsenal are not a one team club.

    It is time to celebrate the diverse beauty of Arsenal FC. We are a class above and years ahead.

    Man City & Liverpool have realised their shortcomings & have poured money to catch up with our amazing ladies. Fulham tried the professional approach & failed miserably. It will be difficult to compete with the oil money crude temptation of Man City. It is not that far from the Quatari method of aquiring workers.

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