Should Arsenal Play Ozil Or Cazorla?


Arsenal have long been plagued by decisions as to who should get a game out of their overcrowded Attacking Midfield options, and we’re going to take a look at who should get the nod in the No.10 role for the big match waway at city this week: In form Cazorla or Big Money buy Mesut Ozil?

Firstly let’s have a look at the stats for both the players: (all stats from squawka)

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Not pretty reading for Ozil, because he comes up short in every category except for his passing in which he rivals Cazorla for his accuracy. Cazorla’s form has taken him past Ozil’s class at the moment, and with Ozil recently featuring on our ‘Worst Arsenal Players of 2014‘ article you can see the difference. In fact is is so pronounced Cazorla featured on the opposite list here.

Cazorla has been full of energy and running and for me that is the biggest difference between the players, especially with Ozil not pushing on to his previous levels, and one that can provide Arsenal with the beating of almost any team on their day.

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Ozil was renowned for his passing ability and the wonderful vision to spot passes that no-one else could, increasingly so when it came to delicate touches around the box to set people in on goal. However it has become less effective as Arsenal have sought to play more on the break, meaning that picking up the ball in your own half and driving hard with the ball needs to be part of your armoury. Cazorla puts Ozil to shame in that department, highlighted by the take on success rate the table above.

Another stat that’s not covered in the box is that Ozil’s average pass length is shorter than Cazorla’s, as well as almost the entire Arsenal midfield. His is far more in line with Welbeck and Giroud’s pass length, showing that he is involved predominantly at the top end of the pitch rather than getting there, and against City you have to assume we’re not going to dominate possession and play most of the game 35 yards away from goal.

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It is worth noting that the games those stats are taken from are just this seasons EPL, in which Ozil only played the early matches. During these matches, by all accounts, Arsenal were far from their free-flowing best and struggled as a team. Cazorla has been in fine form but he’s also been boosted by the wonderful Alexis Sanchez playing better than almost any other player in the EPL. It’s easier to play better when you’re surrounded by players on top of their form. Ozil hasn’t had that luxury so far.

Despite this qualifying factor, I don’t think Ozil has done enough to warrant taking Cazorla’s place in the starting XI, and he should be on the bench against City for me. Ozil is a great player and I think he’s got a lot more to bring to Arsenal but introducing him slowly back into it may be the way to go. What do you guys think?

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