Arsenal’s Mesut Özil has scored just 12 goals in 74 Arsenal appearances since his 2013 move from Real Madrid.
Goals have always been missing from the playmaker’s game; three years with the Spanish giants saw him net just 27 goals in 159 appearances and he has never scored 10 league goals in a season.
While the midfielder orchestrates Arsenal games, pulling string and setting up his team-mates, Özil knows he has to score more goals and is aiming for that this season.
“I want to score more goals than in the last two seasons and that’s my aim for this season,” Özil said in an interview with Arsenal Player. “What’s important firstly is that we are successful as a team.”
This is the root of Özil’s unselfishness in front of goal: he is all about the team. He will sacrifice goal scoring opportunities to lay the ball off for another player, but he knows he has to develop something of a killer instinct.
Laying on goals for others is one thing, but Arsenal also need Özil putting the ball in the back of the net more regularly.
“That’s most crucial for us and as I said, for me it’s not just goals and assists that mean everything, what’s more important is that we’re successful as a team,” said the German midfielder.
“My aim is to help the team and I’ll do all I can to achieve that. In truth I’m more the sort of player who doesn’t really go for goal, I tend to look for my team-mates and think, ‘Can I play this pass?’
“I think now and then I need to become a bit more selfish – then I’d definitely score more goals.
“But I’m a player who thinks for the team first and not for my own needs and that’s why I will carry on to play the way I always do. I think that’s one of my distinguishing characteristics.”
Playing the way he does is no problem, it makes Arsenal a far better and more dangerous side. But seeing Özil wheel away more frequently will make a team that lacks natural goalscorers an even stronger team.