Mesut Özil has not swapped assists for goals. Mesut Özil is a player that utilises his talents to help the team in the most efficient way possible. Arsene Wenger called out for his team to score more goals and Özil is just one of the players who answered. With 8 goals in 45 appearances last season, the German has already matched this tally within 18 appearances and looks set to continue pushing forward.

“He’s got more of a taste to score goals because he’s running in behind more. Before, he only liked coming to the ball and providing, but we want him to be a provider and a scorer. It looks like he’s slowly moving towards that better balance. He’s playing with confidence.” – Arsene Wenger on Mesut Özil

The fluidity of Arsenal’s front players has allowed Özil to take advantage of his greatest asset. Reading space like no other Arsenal player can the 28-year-old is able to tear down defences with sharp runs and incisive passes. Positional diagrams and passing network maps for Arsenal show Ozil is one of, if not the, most forward player in the side. Bursting through and receiving high up the pitch. Vacating and occupying space at will with the best outcome for the collective always the aim.

Mesut Özil is often the first press for Arsenal, constantly pushing up high alongside Alexis Sanchez in a bid to unsettle those on the ball and win possession. The Chilean has perhaps been the initiator for Özil’s slight change of role and presence in the side as Sanchez’ position as striker has boosted the forward fluidity of Arsenal and acted to spread out the responsibility of goal-scoring throughout the midfield. This season Özil is averaging more shots per game than any other as an Arsenal player, shooting on average every 48 minutes compared to last seasons 65 and his worth to the team in terms of control and directness has continued to increase.

Alexis Sanchez’ false nine role sees him drop deep, providing space that Özil among others often exploit. Sanchez coming deeper for the ball and receiving in wide areas means that opportunities are present for those that want. Arsenal’s two best players have combined to devastating effect this season, combining for a multitude of goals. The exquisite interplay between the two against Chelsea leading to an Özil goal stands out but other examples display the havoc that the German’s forward runs have caused thus far this season.

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Sanchez recieves the ball in a wide area whilst Mesut Ozil runs directly into the Watford box before scoring a free header.
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Sanchez looks to receive the ball deep but slips. Mesut Ozil points to where he wants the ball before driving past the Stoke defence and scoring another header.
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The combination of Sanchez’s vision and Ozil’s pace combines to great effect, Alex Iwobi takes advantage of the space created to score a goal.

Mesut Özil continues to improve his efficiency and use of space, his relationship with those around him is only helping matters.

Follow me on Twitter: @ElliottM95

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