Has Mesut Ozil Helped Arsenal Forget About Cesc Fabregas?


Cesc Fabregas was deemed Captain Fantastic by the Arsenal faithful when he stepped into the captaincy role in 2008. He was the centerpiece of an Arsenal team that continued to lose key players and yet maintain relevance. But in 2011, the Arsenal man returned to his boyhood club of Barcelona with well-wishes and sick feelings from Arsenal fans as they watched another of their main men depart the club.

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In the summer of 2014, Arsenal had the chance to welcome Fabregas back, after his stint at Barcelona didn’t exactly go as planned. But Arsene Wenger denied him the chance to return “home,” as he stuck to his Mesut Ozil signing from the previous year. Given how little Ozil had proven since joining the Premier League at the time, fans were a bit upset, but Wenger claimed that Fabregas had had his time at Arsenal, and the Gunners no longer had any place for him.

Seeing Cesc Fabregas rampaging for Chelsea and assisting on literally everything, it was regret almost instantaneously, especially after seeing him absolutely beat up Mesut Ozil as Chelsea downed Arsenal 2-0.

But since returning from injury, Mesut Ozil has become one of the dominant forces in the Premier League and one of the key components to Arsenal’s successful second half of the season.

So has Mesut Ozil helped Arsenal fans forget that Cesc Fabregas wanted to come back here in the first place?

I think so. Arsenal’s midfield is absolutely stacked. With Alexis Sanchez, Aaron Ramsey, Francis Coquelin, Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil all dominating play at the moment, there has been little room in my mind to wonder “what if” Cesc Fabregas had come back. We’ve no dire need for him and we’re doing quite well without.

Consider the following table comparing the main statistical categories of Fabregas and Ozil on a per 90 minute basis (via Squawka.com):

[table id=40 /]

While Fabregas has the upper hand in assists, Ozil is making more key passes. He’s scoring more goals, successfully taking on more often and just generally contributing more than Fabregas. Granted the Spaniard has twice as many appearances as Ozil, it still begs to be noticed that Mesut Ozil is statistically superior to the man we so wanted to replace him at the beginning of the year.

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While Cesc Fabregas is forever going to be remembered at Arsenal, our new man, Mesut Ozil has at least helped take the sting out of him playing for Chelsea. Captain Fantastic hasn’t even crossed my mind in months, despite him remaining one of my favorite players of all time.

Ozil still has time to leave a bigger impact on Arsenal than Fabregas did, and it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see him do so given the improvements he’s shown in so little time at the club. Arsene Wenger is going to continue to work with Ozil to restore him to the dynamic player he was at Real Madrid. He’s doing so much already and he’s only going to get better.

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