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Özil's Debut Analysed

Unlike my countries, France and Australia, present times at Arsenal are looking positive and promising. We've had some very hard days as Arsenal supporters, contending with unrelenting mocking from rival supporters and media pundits displaying nothing but contempt for Arsenal over the last few years. Maybe I am making the situation darker than it actually is but who needs to pay attention to teasing when you have Özil?

It feels great to feel "feared" again, doesn't it? I don't particularly agree with the opinion that Özil makes Arsenal title contenders but he is definitely a tremendous addition to the squad.

To me, it's blatant that he'd be useless if there was no one to score from his wonderful through balls, for example. A team is made of several players not just one player. We had a decent squad and he strengthened what needed to be improved.

We have Özil now and it's all good. Really good. He may not be the type of player we were missing but honestly, could any club out there say they would have refused him in good conscience?

Özil made his debut against Sunderland last Saturday and I thought he had a great start, especially in the first half. He ran out of steam in the second half but his contribution to the game had already made up for a lack of stamina due to illness. Hopefully he'll get well and match fit soon and should be able to provide beautiful football for a whole game within the next couple of matches.

The best part of the manner in which he plays is that he makes everything looks way too easy. When he receives the ball he swivels and sets himself in a good enough position to provide an excellent pass. He also drives the ball forward brilliantly. The main asset among his range of qualities is his intelligence. He understands the behaviour of other players, he knows when, what and where his teammates are going to do.

Ozil touches

The graph illustrates all of Özil's successful passes. The following image shows Özil's positioning throughout the game.

Ozil heatmap

Özil has great breadth – the two images show that perfectly. His initial position is behind the striker but the German sees a lot of the pitch whether he has the ball or he hasn't. Against Sunderland he was often in a good position to receive the ball.

Some players "play" with the ball for ages and after a while it can start to irritate but Özil isn't that type of player. Everything he does looks calculated and very precisely timed. Space is his best ally as he is very fast with the ball.

Ozil key passes

Özil provided three key-passes against the Black Cats. All three were triggered forward in the final third. Also, Özil completed the most passes (34) in the final third among all the players in the Premier League this weekend.

In the future his alliance with Cazorla will probably be a great one. Both players are very technical and have perfect understanding of the game. But against Sunderland, and for a couple more games beyond, Cazorla was injured so I decided to have a look at the Özil and Walcott relationship.

Walcott run 1

Walcott Run 2

On both images Walcott launches his run around Özil's third touch. This weekend was Özil's first appearance but it looked as if he'd been playing at the club for years. His understanding with Walcott was brilliant and we were able to see his capacity of providing perfectly-timed through balls to set up decent situations to score. Walcott was very disappointing with his finishing and wasted several clear chances.

I truly want to believe Walcott will stick to these sort of runs – in behind the defense. His pace and quick start is his main asset, he is unstoppable when he gets going.

Walcott vs Fulham Squawka

Walcott vs Sunderland squawka

If we compare Walcott's heat-maps against Fulham and Sunderland one would easily point out Arsenal's record signing's influence on the Englishman. Walcott stuck a lot more out on the flank, as if he wanted to be ready at any minute for an Özil master pass or something like that.

To conclude this very short tactical analysis of Özil's situation and what influence he had on Saturday's game I reckon that if Walcott gets back on track and Giroud continues in his "on-fire" mode it can be a lethal trio. Especially given we're still missing Podolski, Chamberlain and especially Santi Cazorla.

It's an enticing thought, all of these players fit and on form. I believe good things might be coming up for the Arsenal!

Thanks to Squawka, WhoScored, ESPN, Россия-2 and Sky Sports for images and statistics.

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Tags: Giroud, Walcott, Özil, Debut

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