There’s a stat making the rounds this morning (thanks to Opta) which has Özil as the top playmaker in the history of the Premier League with 1 assist every 2.71 games.
With 7 assists in 9 matches Mesut Özil is the assist king in the Premier League this season and well on his way to a 20+ assist season. Özil has only played 758 minutes so far this season and that means he’s created a goal for a teammate every 108 minutes on average. If he continues at that pace (which seems impossible) and he plays at least 30 matches, he will tally 25 assists.
How nuts is Özil’s record so far this season? Fabregas was the last Premier League player to create 20 assists. He did that in 2007/2008, the season most people feel Arsenal should have won the League.
Fabregas had just 32 League starts that season and played just 2859 League minutes giving him an average of 1 assist every 143 minutes.
Özil is crushing that record so far this season with an assist every 108 minutes but how realistic is that over the course of the season? Not very.
Assists are more difficult to get than goals. Almost every year there’s a 20+ goal scorer, but only once in a while do you get a 20+ assister. The reason is simple: more than one player passes the ball to the leading goalscorer while the leading playmaker is doing all of the creating on his own (in theory).
If Arsenal can keep Özil healthy (play more than 30 League games) and he keeps producing at a rate even near his current production, Arsenal have a great chance of winning the League.
Another weird thing about assists is that they don’t normally come in clumps. You get one here and one there. So, if we just look at Premier League matches, Özil has assisted in each of six matches for the Gunners.
That means that he has only failed to provide a teammate with an assist in 4 of Arsenal’s first 10 matches. Arsenal’s record in those games where Ozil didn’t assists is 2 losses, 1 draw, and 1 win (Newcastle, in which he didn’t play). The games where Ozil did assist were all wins.
Özil also leads the league in Key Passes (passes which lead to a shot) with 42. What’s kind of amazing here though is that Özil and Cazorla are #1 and #3 in the League in terms of key passes.
Combined, these two players have 77 key passes. To put that in context, Arsenal have taken 197 shots, 10 more than 2nd best Man City, and that means Özil and Cazorla have created 39% of Arsenal’s chances this season.
No other team can claim such a powerful creative midfield duo. The second best duo is Fabregas and Hazard with 48 key passes combined. In fact, Jose Mourinho’s constant tinkering with his two best creative players along with benching them, taking them off at half time, dropping them, and basically making them feel unwanted for not playing enough defense is probably a major reason for Chelsea’s decline this season.
Unlike Chelsea, Wenger is sowing seeds of harmony and balance at Arsenal. As Patrick Vieira once said about Robert Pires, “we ask that he do the minimum defending but go get us a goal” and they will cover for him.
This same kind of balance is happening at Arsenal right now, with each player on the pitch having a foil for their abilities.
If the League title is locked up safely in London, Ozil is the key, and who doesn’t want to win the League?