With three goals and 16 assists in 20 Premier League appearances this season, questions surrounding Mesut Özil’s end product shouldn’t still exist.
He isn’t exactly prolific, but he creates for his teammates at a rate that can’t be matched by anyone else in Europe. The German playmaker has managed five goals for Arsenal all season and ‘only’ 17 in 98 competitive appearances for the Gunners since he joined from Real Madrid in September 2013. He wasn’t particularly prolific there either, but why does it matter?
Ángel Di Maria, Kevin De Bruyne and Neymar are all on nine league assists for the season so far, a remarkably long way from Özil’s 16 in the Premier League. The 27-year-old’s form has seen him crowned German footballer of the year for the fourth time in five years, and he doesn’t feel his direct contribution to goals needs to improve at all as long as the teams he plays for are successful.
“It doesn’t really matter if I’m scoring or assisting, as long as we win,” the midfielder told the DFB website.
“I don’t think I will be doing myself any favours if I focus on scoring more, or becoming more selfish in front of goal – and certainly not my teammates.”
Özil is all about doing good for his teammates. His selfless running off the ball often goes under the radar, but he is finally receiving the recognition he deserves for his creativity. With 4.5 key passes per 90 minutes this season, nobody in Europe can match him.
In the last two years, Özil has won the FA Cup twice and won the World Cup, so what’s the aim for 2016? With Arsenal top of the Premier League and the European Championships on the horizon, his answer shouldn’t surprise anyone.
“In any case, stay healthy – that’s what counts. Naturally with Arsenal and Germany I would like to play until the end for the title, no question.”