Considering Mesut Ozil has spent the lion’s share of his Arsenal career playing in the number-10 role, he has always flattered to deceive from a goal-scoring perspective.
Many will argue that the German is in the team for his chance-creation and assisting abilities, but others responsible for similar duties at rival clubs do tend to contribute more in the way of goals.
In the Premier League last term, Ozil was one of only three players to create more than 100 chances, but had only 47 goal attempts alongside this.
His six top-flight goals may have equalled Christian Eriksen, but Gunners fans may be within their rights to expect a total closer to the nine managed by Dimitri Payet.
In total, Ozil registered eight goals in 45 matches across all competitions. As average as this seems, it is his best return across three completed seasons at the Emirates. The 28-year-old’s best return anywhere was the 11 he managed for Werder Bremen in 2009/10.
However, this term there has been a marked improvement in Ozil’s scoring return. He has six goals in 10 Arsenal fixtures, including a first career hat-trick in the Champions League romp over Ludogorets. From a current total of two in the Premier League, it is 8/1 that he scores over 11.5 league goals this season.
There are a couple of obvious reasons for this development:
Having taken only 12.8% of his opportunities in the Premier League last season, Ozil is being more prolific at over double this rate this term. His goal conversion has climbed to 27.3%.
Interestingly, his shot accuracy has marginally dipped alongside this from 38.3% to 36.4%, showing that he is doing a better job of keeping his on-target efforts out of reach of opposing goalkeepers.
With the rate of his goal attempts only marginally improving from 1.3 to 1.6 efforts per game, it is the quality of the chances that have moved forward.
Ozil’s penalty-area touches have considerably increased from 3.6 to 6.1 per game, with his 43 this season more than the likes of fellow attacking midfielders Dele Alli (30), Ross Barkley (33) and Dusan Tadic (35).
The downside has been that Ozil has created only 18 chances in Arsenal’s opening eight Premier League outings and is still waiting for a first assist of the campaign.
Arsenal host a Middlesbrough side next that has only kept one clean sheet in their eight Premier League matches and might be low on confidence having collected a solitary point across their last five.
Ozil is 6/4 to score against Boro in the 90 minutes and 66/1 to net a second successive hat-trick.
Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing