By Bulldog Drummond
Mesut Özil does ‘the hardest part of football’… has the Arsenal star finally silenced his doubters?
That was a headline in the Daily Mail this week followed by the usual bullets…
- Mesut Özil has more assists, and chances created, than any other player in the Premier League this season
- Chris Waddle says Özil is the man who can ‘open the door’ for Arsenal
- ‘We never get the best of our flair players in this country,’ says Waddle
So, “Arsène Wenger has admitted he is very concerned about Arsenal’s injury situation,” although actually what happened was that he was asked “are you very concerned about the current Arsenal injury situation?”
If he said “no” the headlines would be “I don’t care about injuries – Wenger” and wild claims about his mental health. So he said yes.
“I am very concerned, honestly, because we are only in November and to have so many players out, knowing we go into the Christmas period soon, I am concerned,” Wenger said. “At the moment, we have too many players out.”
What else could he say?
As we have seen, the benefit of the injuries will now come to us as several players who could have been injured won’t be in meaningless interlull games. And we have the option of giving Kos that two week break by not playing him today. It is a tempting option and whatever we do we will come back after interlull with several members of the squad very refreshed and more joining them week by week.
As for today, we all know that Arsenal has always finished above Tottenham in the league during The Wengerian Era, and the boss spoke on this too…
“On a financial level with Tottenham, we always had level power because when we had 38,000 seats at Highbury we were level with White Hart Lane. And after we moved into the new stadium, we had less financial resources than them because we had to pay our debts back.
(That’s rubbing it in. “You should have got above us,” he is saying, “and you blew it”.)
But he then said something curious. “…maybe in the last two or three years, we are in a stronger financial situation but that will not last because Tottenham build a new stadium, as well. West Ham, too, will have a new stadium and that is the biggest challenge we face. It will be purely down to the technical quality of work.”
With State Aid Utd that is true because they not only don’t pay for the stadium but also don’t pay for the door keepers, stewards, paper pickers and all the other bits and pieces. But Tottenham have not revealed where their money comes from. Unless the owner is paying and doesn’t want the money back, Tottenham will have something like two years of building, plus five years of financial privation. Although maybe Mr Wenger knows more than us about the source of the money.
When it comes to Mesut Özil’s wonderful performances, the press however are always looking for a way to knock him. Not being able to do it in terms of performances they are now saying the player has underperformed on goals. Apparently Mr Wenger asked for 10 this season, and Mesut is only on course to deliver eight from this season’s work thus far. Terrible! But that means a goal today and he’ll be on track to deliver 12. How the journos will hate that.
His two goals were against Man U and Bayern. He got a second against Bayern in the second leg but that was ruled out for rather spurious reasons.
Only David Silva and Gerard Deulofeu average more assists per 90 minutes than Mesut, but if you measure “chances created” he is on top, “almost 20 per cent more than second-placed Dimitri Payet,” according to Opta.
“For only chances created from open play, Özil is at 4.14, a nearly 40 per cent margin over Eden Hazard in second. On the creation of “big chances”, the gap is narrower, but Özil is still top, ahead of Riyad Mahrez and Deulofeu.”
That’s why he’s on the pitch, and those who criticised him over the past two years are now eating their words or just hiding in the forest waiting for it all to stop happing to them.
In terms of assists, chances created, and open play chances created, Özil is now ahead of his best numbers from Werder Bremen and Real Madrid. His contribution was measurable all along but no one reported it until it got so bleeding obvious that it could be seen by a PGMO ref who joined Özil’s critics in the darkened forest while facing the wrong way, looking at his watch.
As to the midweek game he said, “It was a disappointing result on Wednesday night, but before that we did extremely well in the Premier League so we will try to continue from one competition from the other. I believe that in the Premier League we have a strong confidence and focus and that is what we want to reproduce on Sunday against Tottenham. It is always a game where the commitment and nervous force will be important.”
The Tinies have two wins in four days playing Aston Villa and Anderlecht this week. So are they super confident and feeling good, or will three games in six days be too much. Will we be nervous, or will we be determined to flourish?
Certainly as the referee preview said, we are playing 12 today – 11 Tiny Totts and one Referee. We are however restricted to eleven.
Debuchy Mert Kos Monreal
Coquelin Santi Caz
Campbell Özil Alexis
Lurking in the November sun on the beach: Macey, Ospina, Chambers, Gibbs, Gabriel, Flamini, Arteta, Iwobi
Leading scorers: Giroud, Sánchez 6. (I don’t normally put leading scorers in but I thought I would today to annoy all the Giroud haters. Actually Giroud has eight in all games. Or 7 goals in his last 7 appearances for club and country.)
Here’s a good one – The percentage of draws in Us v Tinies games is tinier than the tinies. There have only been 11 goalless draws in the last 119 years and 1 in the last 31 games. Of course we don’t play them every year because sometimes they are in the second division, but still, it is quite a lot. The last three have been not at the normal level we expect so time for a thumping good win today…
Tottenham Hotspur 1 (Chambers OG) Arsenal 2 (Flamini 2)
League Cup, September 2015
Tottenham Hotspur 2 (Kane 2) Arsenal 1 (Özil)
Premier League, February 2015
Arsenal 1 (Oxlade-Chamberlain) Tottenham 1 (Chadli)
Premier League, September 2014
Tottenham have only won once at Arsenal in 25 matches in all competitions since May 1993 (D9, L15). Arsenal last failed to score at home to the Tinies in the Premier League in November 1998.
As for the form guide in all matches (but remember this includes us away to Bayern and them playing Anderlecht…)
- Arsenal: LWLWWW
- Tottenham: WWWWDD
|1||Just say no to democracy||11||8||1||2||26||9||17||25|
|5||State Aid United||12||6||3||3||23||16||7||21|
|9||We deserve to win||11||4||5||2||12||12||0||17|
|13||West Bromwich Albion||12||4||2||6||10||16||-6||14|
|16||PGMO oh help us now!||12||3||2||7||16||23||-7||11|
- 8 November 1930: Arsenal 5 Aston Villa 2. This was the first of nine games during the season where Arsenal score five or more. Bastin and Jack got two each and Lambert one.
- 8 November 2003: Arsenal beat Tottenham 2-1 in the 11th league match of the Unbeaten season. The Observer in its review called it “another stuttering performance” from Arsenal.
- Arsenal v Wolverhampton: the club that gets cards at over twice the rate of Arsenal
- Arsenal v Wolverhampton Wanderers: where will each team finish?
- Arsenal v Lens: what we found, what we felt, what they did
- Arsenal v Lens: the team, the home/away form and the strange coincidences
- Arsenal v Lens: they had a poor start but are now flying