For all the team building talk that has surrounded the Gunners for the past few seasons, the Gunners have relied mostly on the attacking prowess of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. While the latter is still going strong – with 4 goals, it is the form of Mesut Ozil that has dipped down in recent months.
In the upcoming verses, we determine why the lack of form of Ozil – camouflaged by the winning streak of the Gunners, is a good thing for the North London club.
Having played six matches in the Premier League this season, Ozil has no assist to his name. This is relatively strange for a player who was revered as the King of Premier League assists only last season. To demonstrate how his form has gone down, a glance at recent history would be vital.
At this stage last season, Ozil had managed to assist three goals for his teammates. While Arsenal fans could suggest that he is creating the same number of chances this season, Ozil has created “only” 13 chances this season, compared to 29 from the last one.
So, what has gone wrong? Is Ozil still tired having played his part in Germany in the Euros? Has Wenger, by the omission of Giroud, deprived Ozil of the recipient of his assists? Has Arsenal taken a step backward?
While Ozil could ponder on the first two questions, we’re in a position – thanks to stats, to answer the third one. With Ozil on top form at this stage last season, Arsenal had acquired 13-points from the opening 7 games, 3 less than what they have amassed this season.
What about the goals? Unsurprisingly, given the above-mentioned stats, the Gunners have scored more this season– 16 compared to 10 from last season. Thus, while Ozil might have all the reasons to worry, the Gunners fans might show no sympathy with the German forward.
So, what has changed? Firstly, the playing style of the Gunners. With Giroud at the heart of their attack last season, Arsenal couldn’t afford to press from the front. However, with the installation of Sanchez up front, the Gunners play with more fervor and vitality. To watch more such events get Arsenal tickets now.
The number of long balls has reduced, opposition defenders are harried out to give balls, and as evinced from their win against Chelsea, Arsenal no longer retains possession for the sake of possession. Instead, they always look to attack with a minimum number of sideway passes.
While Sanchez deserves the lion’s share of credit, it would be wrong not to give credit to Theo Walcott. For the umpteenth time in his Arsenal career, Walcott was linked with a move away from the North London club in the summer. Add to it the humiliation of being left out from the England’s Euro squad – though some might argue it was a blessing, and Walcott seemed to be heading out of the Emirates.
However, what no one could have predicted in the summer is the response of the English winger. With Sanchez shifted to the striker role – and Giroud to the bench, Wenger gave Walcott the freedom to play on the right. He has repaid the faith by providing a return of 3 goals in the first seven games of the season.
Thus, while the fans of Ozil might not be happy, the Gunners’ faithful have no reason to worry as long as other players continue to chip in with their performances.