If Arsenal have the best playmaker in the Premier League, Manchester City have his biggest rival.
And vice versa.
Mesut Özil and David Silva are both fit, and the man who has more influence on Monday night’s game is likely to be on the winning side on Monday night. Both of the attacking midfielders make their sides click and tick going forward.
“They are similar players because they’re very creative players,” Manuel Pellegrini said on Friday, clearly wary of Özil’s quality ahead of the gamme. “They’re important at the offensive part of the team, it starts with their passes.”
As far as creation is concerned, Özil has no equal this season. That’s not just in England, it’s across Europe, where no player has created more chances, and no player has as many assists.
Of players to have clocked a significant number of minutes, Silva is sixth in the Premier League for key passes per 90 minutes, short of Özil who leads the pack. As far as assists are concerned, Silva has averaged one in even fewer minutes than Özil this season. The two creators-in-chief will go head-to-head on Monday, and it’s exciting.
Nonetheless, Pellegrini was quick to insist both sides could play well without their main men.
“I repeat we can play without David Silva and I think Arsenal can play without Özil.”
Maybe that’s true Manuel but, as far as Arsenal are concerned, I wouldn’t like to find out. Just in case.