Arsenal need an Eriksen not an Ozil Ten – ‘Shoot Mesut Shoot!’

Different types of Play-maker

So today we wake up with the realisation that every other top side has won and Arsenal’s catch up programme – if there is to be one – starts on Monday. Also on Monday we are quite likely to see Ozil, Alexis and Lacazette together on the pitch for the first time this season. Now that prospect is exciting for sure, as we are all anticipating the potential chemistry and interchange of movement and positions between this mouth-watering front three. However whist salivating at the prospect we simultaneously read that our German Number 10 will not accept a new deal and wants to play for his former mentor at Old Trafford.

Click-bait or otherwise, today’s headline only reinforces the harsh reality that even if the three players do click for Arsenal in 2017/18 it is likely to be a one-season arrangement. Arsenal, one would hope, is planning for life without the Chilean and the German, but the reaction on social media to the ‘Ozil to United’ headline just emphasises the split camp in our fanbase, when it comes to Mesut Ozil. The enigmatic, languid play-maker has spent four seasons at the Emirates and whilst arguably the closest player, in technique and vision, to Dennis Bergkamp – he has never quite been as universally accepted as his Dutch predecessor.

Close but no cigar

Ozil still has his Doubters

For some, perhaps myself included, he has never quite come to terms with the physical nature of the Premier League and whilst his defenders will point to the kilometres he has run, that does not always tell the whole story. It is easy to say that tackling and tracking back are not his style, but nevertheless that is a personal choice. Attributes that do not come naturally can be worked on and added to the incredible skill and visionary passing. I guess also it pains some fans to see Ozil displaying those attributes for Germany and not as often for Arsenal.

Non-Displays v Bayern

Another criticism levelled at the German maestro is that he can be known to hide or disappear in the big games or when the going gets tough. I am not sure I entirely agree with this, having witnessed many a superb display from him, most notably the Man United match in the FA Cup QF in 2015 and certainly the FA Cup Final this year. Those less enamoured with Ozil might point to the knock-out stage no-shows in the Champions League, and the ineffectual outings at Wembley in the FA Cup Final in 2014 and even 2016.

Most of the above is ultimately about perspective and personal opinion and his supporters will always, understandably and rightly, come back to his incredible statistics, which after all never lie, right? So can I bring this right back to my own view, relating this back to the stats?

Santi 10

For me Mesut Ozil does things on a football pitch other simply cannot do and he sees passes that others simply do not see. He has given me moments of great pleasure on numerous occasions but at the same time he frustrates me enormously on others because I am not convinced, after 4 years that he is the style of ‘10’ that Arsenal needs in the Premier League. I have written about this previously when harking back to the season before Ozil arrived and Arsenal’s main play-maker was Santi Cazorla. Ozil in for season has not impacted the Premier League as the diminutive Spaniard did in 2012/13.

Imperious 10 in 12/13 Pre-Ozil

We tend to forget that season when Arsenal had three players in double figures in the league for the first time in about 5 years, largely due to Santi. The Gunners scored 72 goals in finishing 4th and 23 of them were scored or assisted by Cazorla. Our much missed Spaniard playing largely centrally and latterly from the left scored 12 and assisted for 11 goals. With Podolski out of favour from February, Cazorla moved to the left with Rosicky operating centrally and he carried on creating and scoring from the wider starting berth, not once complaining.

Ozil is a passing 10, whereas Cazorla, whilst a wonderful passer was more a CAM (central Attacking Midfielder.) he would also beat a man with skill or a dribble and that attribute is one that is so required in the Premier League. Teams know how to set up against as without our runners,  Cazorla, Wilshere and now Chamberlain and for a period Welbeck. Arsenal always try to pass their way through well organised defences.  So how much easier might it be if the main play-maker could pass, obviously, but also beat a man to create the opportunity or space and equally as importantly shoot himself? If you look at all the most creative play-makers in our league most have all the attributes, not just a wonderful passing range – De Bruyne, Hazard, Eriksen, Silva etc are all very different play-makers to Mesut Ozil and all are largely operating from wide starting positions, where Ozil is on record as being reluctant to play.

So perhaps my question is not whether Ozil is a quality playmaker, as stats don’t lie but more is there a more effective style of playmaker for Arsenal in this hard league if the German is leaving? And yes I am getting back to the stats as promised and the inspiration for this article, which was a comment my son made before the Cologne. He basically said he would sooner have had Christian Eriksen at Arsenal than Mesut Ozil, suggesting the Dane was far better suited and more influential for our bitter rivals than the German.

Whilst it is painful to consider the comparison he may just have a point, particularly of you do want to come back to the never lying statistics. Both players arrived at the end of the 2013 Summer Transfer Window and whilst the goals and assists ate the headlines I wanted to look at two other areas for comparison which I feel are quite telling

Image result for ozil


Mesut Ozil, Arsenal, Premier League

Season Games Goals Assists Shots Shots on Target Chances Created
13/14 26 5 9 30 18 76
14/15 22 4 5 29 13 70
15/16 36 6 19 47 20 144
16/17 33 8 9 40 18 98
Totals 117 23 42 146 69 388


Image result for christian eriksen 2017


Christian Eriksen. Tottenham, Premier League

Season Games Goals Assists Shots Shots on Target Chances Created
13/14 25 2 7 48 22 68
14/15 38 10 2 97 26 83
15/16 35 6 11 100 42 114
16/17 36 8 15 133 45 111
Totals 134 26 35 378 135 376


Interestingly in the last two campaigns, with the emergence of Deli Alli, Eriksen, has nominally moved to a wider role in the Spurs set up and has become even more effective. Last season he proved far more creative than our own playmaker, notching up 6 more assists and creating more chances for his colleagues than Ozil.

What is clear is that there is little to choose between the two players on assists, with Ozil, as you might expect, as the ‘Assist King’ edging it but what is striking is the goal threat. I would love any future Ozil replacement to be more willing to shoot from outside the box, when passing options are limited. How often have we as fans watched out team pass it from side to side on the edge of the opponent’s penalty areas and just wanted to scream ‘SHOOT’? This is something that Eriksen does on a regular basis and Ozil rarely does sadly.

In the past two seasons when Spurs have been more consistent in the Premier League than Arsenal the Spurs play-maker has had 85 attempts on target on the Premier League, to Ozil’s measly 35. Now whilst the stats also say the actually goal tally is similar we all know that a true top ‘10’ should be able to add a significant number of goals to his creative output.

Shoot Mesut Shoot

Over 4 seasons the Dane has 378 goal attempts some 250% plus more than Mesut Ozil. It is simply staggering to me then that our German 10 has been selected consistently in a front 3 or 4 by Wenger, largely accommodated centrally and he has averaged barely more than a shot a game in the Premier League and nowhere near an attempt per match on target! Indeed the Dane tried to score on more occasions just in 2016/17 when Spurs finished runners up, than Ozil has attempted in the last three campaigns!!

Huge apologies to use a Spurs player to illustrate a point but for my money Arsenal’s next creative hub, when Ozil leaves, as he almost certainly will, to United or otherwise, needs to be more than a visionary passer. We need a 10 who had the passing range and vision of Ozil but also has the ability to beat a man and has a willingness to shoot on sight or when options are limited.

Having said all that it may just be the manager telling Ozil not to shoot, in which case apologies Mesut!!

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11 Responses to Arsenal need an Eriksen not an Ozil Ten – ‘Shoot Mesut Shoot!’

  1. Stephan Larose September 24, 2017 at 5:53 pm #

    The title of this piece is stupid. It disrespects the club, all the fans, all the players, and it is disrespectful to the public in general. You don’t say “shoot” this or that person. What if I give the public your address and tell the internet to bomb your house? Seriously man. Have some fucking common sense and decency.

    Honestly, what kind of pathetic idiot writes this shit?

    I suppose it’s the kind who sees that Eriksen’s stats are inferior to Ozil’s in every way and then says we need someone more like Eriksen. Learn how to count! Being involved in 65 goals in117 games is BETTER than being involved in 61 goals in 134 games. Your stats only show that Eriksen has a lower conversion rate than Ozil. Eriksen also creates less chances than Ozil and yet plays more games. Can you even read statistics? WTF?

    • Batmandela September 24, 2017 at 6:30 pm #

      You have some serious comprehension issues. Or you’re taking the piss. In either case – you obviously didn’t read the article, which clearly discusses the fact that Ozil doesn’t shoot for goal nearly often enough. Hence the title.

      Perhaps you need to up the dosage on your meds, go to English classes, or do some anger management courses.

    • Dave Seager September 24, 2017 at 8:52 pm #

      It is not a criticism of Ozil more a suggestion we look for a different type of CAM after. However imagine if Ozil, better technically did shoot more often.

      It is also that when teams pack organised defences against us shooting or beating a player to create space can be alternatives to trying to thread a pass through the eye of a needle.

  2. Tom46 September 24, 2017 at 6:08 pm #

    He’s not lazy etc etc the simple matter of the truth is – he’s simply not good enough to play in the prem especially one with aspirations to challenge for a top 4 finish. Not his fault, but wengers to blame and should of realised when it broke that Madrid were desperate to get rid of him. Would suit a championship side or the slow Spanish leagues

  3. Eddytay September 24, 2017 at 6:10 pm #

    Ozil is not even in the same league as Ericsson, please don’t go there, that’s pure delusion

  4. Job September 24, 2017 at 6:49 pm #

    Outside of Sanchez, who is his own man, a player who in large plays for himself no-one else seems to shoot from outside the box. My information, what I read maybe wrong or out of date, apologies if so, but there seemed to be a “ban” against shooting from outside the box (ban probably the wrong word). The ball had to be worked continuously into better positions, more often than not it wasn’t. So to highlight Ozil for not shooting seems harsh if there is team instructions to not do so.

  5. Keenos September 24, 2017 at 9:43 pm #

    Ozil and Erickson both have a 1 in 5 goal ratio, but Erickson takes “250% more shots”. Therefore Erickson wastes the ball more in dangerous areas as he is having a lot more shots that do not go in. So we need an Erickson? A player who scores the same amount of goals as ozil, gets less assists, and wastes more possession?

    • Dave Seager September 24, 2017 at 11:05 pm #

      You are missing point or I have made it badly. Ozil is going so we need a new playmaker and I would prefer one who is not just a delightful passer. I would prefer a Santi, Cesc style CAM who score and assist with ease. Imagine if Ozil was taking the number of shots Eriksen had taken with the better ratio for example

      • Keenos September 25, 2017 at 10:45 am #

        I understand the point you are making, but also think you have devalued Ozil’s goal scoring record.

        All comps:

        Ozil – 1/5.1
        Cesc – 1/5.3
        Santi – 1/6.2


        Ozil – 1/5.1
        Santi – 1/5.1
        Cesc 1/6.2

        So Ozil outscores those you want him to be more like.

        It feels like you just want a player to shoot more, regardless of them shots going in

        • Dave Seager September 25, 2017 at 12:59 pm #

          Now look at their scoring records in the season they played advanced CAM. Cazorla only the ones season and 12 goal and 11 assists.With Cesc just look at Arsenal 2007/8 to when he left.

          Very different. Ozil have never has a season like Santi 12/13. Don’t take my word for it. Check the Sqawka scores for say Ozil and even Hazard best campaign and they can’t match SC 12/13

  6. Victor Thompson September 25, 2017 at 3:55 pm #

    Dave, your son was right, Erickson is more productive. Leaving stats aside, just by looking at the flow of the game and the threat to the other side, Erickson plays at a higher, more direct speed and method and generally involves the players around him more often than Ozil.

    We have the player on our books who has all the attributes you describe; the ability to pick and make a pass, the inclination to shoot from outside the box and the ability to dribble past defenders or pick a short one-two in the box. Unfortunately I am talking about Jack Wilshire and we still don`t know if he is ever going to get full fitness back. I hope he does. Alas, I think it will be a miracle if our even more missed genius, Santi Cazorla will ever be back.

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