Mesut Ozil is all about understanding.
The German midfielder is now fully established in the Arsenal side following his move from Real Madrid in September.
The term 'adaptation period' became obsolete 11 minutes into his debut at Sunderland when he killed a long pass from Kieran Gibbs stone-dead and slipped a short yet perfect pass for Olivier Giroud to score.
When he has the ball I [know as a player I can] make the run... you understand that there are situations where he will see you and where he'll deliver the perfect weight of the pass
Ozil has six assists in total, more than anyone else in the Premier League, and has registered 29 ‘key passes’ - according to Opta statistics - in 10 games played. It is one statistic the excellent Aaron Ramsey cannot match; he is joint-second with 18 such contributions in 13 games.
But, increasingly, Arsenal fans are aware of Ozil’s game. He may not dominate or dictate for 90 minutes but his contribution can be decisive. Saturday’s win over Cardiff was a case in point.
“When it comes to key passes he is the man,” said Arsène Wenger. “When he has the ball I [know as a player I can] make the run. It's what you call understanding, you understand that there are situations where he will see you and where he'll deliver the perfect weight of the pass.
“The Flamini goal [at Cardiff] is a perfect example of that. It's a combination of vision and weight of the pass. Of course it's not a coincidence that in every league he plays, he has the most assists because he has those two qualities.”
But Wenger is not saying Ozil’s game has to be just about provision.
“No, you would like to judge him on everything,” he said. “But every big player has something above - one outstanding quality. In this case that is a very important quality because efficiency in our game is linked between quality of the pass and quality of the finishing. And he brings the quality of the pass.”
* The Opta definition of a key pass is "the pass directly before a player has an attempt on goal"
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4 Dec 2013