Arsenal v Tottenham: Eriksen comparison highlights Ozil's shortcomings

Mesut Ozil's work rate has been criticised by Unai Emery, and comparisons to Spurs' Christian Eriksen do not make for favourable reading.

Mesut Ozil of Arsenal (L) and Tottenham's Christian Eriksen   -  Getty Images

Christian Eriksen and Mesut Ozil are the creative lynchpins for Tottenham and Arsenal, but they head into Sunday's north London derby after starkly contrasting Premier League weekends.

While Denmark international Eriksen played a starring role in Spurs' brilliant 3-1 victory over Chelsea by creating seven chances, two of which ended in assists for Dele Alli and Harry Kane, Ozil was an unused substitute as Arsenal overcame Bournemouth 2-1 at the Vitality Stadium.

The former Germany star has struggled to ingratiate himself to new boss Unai Emery, whereas Eriksen continues to go from strength to strength in Mauricio Pochettino's team.

We use Opta data to analyse the productivity of each playmaker as Ozil appears to find himself marginalised by Emery.


Since the start of the 2016-17 Premier League season, Eriksen (150.23) has a superior minutes-per-goal involvement ratio to Ozil (176.85).

However, the German is seemingly hindered by poor finishing at Arsenal, having created more chances per 90 minutes (3.15) than Eriksen (2.89) – a disparity that grows when looking at opportunities engineered from open play, with Ozil at 2.45 and his counterpart down to 1.95.

But the former Ajax star has manufactured more big chances (0.42) than Ozil (0.37) and has done so with three fewer touches per match.


Emery picked Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to flank Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in a 3-4-2-1 formation at Bournemouth, his decision to leave Ozil on the bench fuelling suggestions of a fraught relationship between the pair.

Speaking about why he left the 30-year-old out in his post-match press conference, Emery suggested he was not up to the "demanding" task of taking on Bournemouth.

"We thought how we can do better in the match, a very demanding match with physicality and intensity," he said, before stressing every player in his squad is important.

In the Premier League this season, Ozil has covered an average of 10.3 kilometres per 90 minutes – a figure significantly down on that of Eriksen (12.6).


Not only does Eriksen appear to work harder physically, he evidently has a greater impact defensively.

The Dane has averaged more tackles (1.34 to 0.82), interceptions (0.76 to 0.43) and duels won (3.29 to 3.22) over the course of 90 minutes than Ozil in the Premier League since August 2016.

Ultimately, though, Arsenal's win rate over the same timeframe is eight per cent higher with Ozil than without him (58 to 50).

While the Gunners have averaged 0.1 more goals scored in his absence, they have conceded 0.3 fewer when he is present in the line-up.

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