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The Wizard of Ozil: Check out the Arsenal man’s incredible record of creativity

by Josh Powell | October 21, 2013

The Mesut Ozil love-in continued this weekend and the Paddy Power Blog team are firmly on board. The German play-maker notched his first, and then quite promptly his second, league goal for Arsenal as the Gunners beat Norwich 4-1 at The Emirates. His second of the game was a header which, if the internet is to believed, is rarer than unicorn piss.

Since arriving in North London, Ozil has played 428 minutes in the league, making 19 key passes, scoring twice and racking up a hat-trick of assists. Not too shabby for a player who cost around £42 million, and positively mind-numbing when you realise that United spent just £15 million less on the hugely underwhelming Marouane Fellaini.

We should hardly be surprised by Ozil’s impact at Arsenal. The stats below are taken from all league games since the start of the 2011 season, and highlight how he plays a key part in creating goal chances (and burying a few himself!).

Creative Kings

Player Goals Assists Key passes Minutes played Minutes per key pass
Mesut Ozil 15 33 214 5,050 20
Juan Mata 18 26 210 5,580 24
David Silva 12 26 228 5,716 23
Eden Hazard 32 28 176 6,467 32
Cesc Fabregas 21 25 108 4,880 37

Despite banging in three goals in his opening seven games for the Gunners, Ozil has hardly been as prolific as Eden Hazard or Cesc Fabregas over the last couple of years. However 15 goals is hardly a disappointing return since August 2011 when you consider the chances he is creating for others. It’s also one more than Fernando Torres has managed to tally up in the league over the same period.

Ozil has racked up 33 assists in that time which is more than any of the other four midfielders have achieved and he’s chipped in with 214 key passes as well. A key pass in this sense is the pass before a team-mate has a shot at goal. In other words it would be an assist if your striker hadn’t made a complete tit of himself by putting the ball in row z.

Here’s Ozil putting one on a plate for Olivier Giroud in the Champions League against Napoli.

Giroud v Napoli (Ozil assist2)

The key stat that stands out is that Ozil sets up a team-mate every 20 minutes he is on the pitch – meaning if you’re playing alongside him you’re likely to be put into a scoring position, on average, more than four times a game. It might go some way to explaining why Arsenal have scored 18 goals after eight games this season – their highest tally at this stage of the campaign for four years.

The dynamic midfielder is 11/2 to score the opening goal of the game against Crystal Palace on Saturday. He is 6/4 to find the net at anytime against the relegation-threatened Eagles.

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