Football

Erik Lamela v Mesut Ozil: Who will shine the brightest?

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£72m worth of new Premier League talent - Erik Lamela and Mesut Ozil - two of the best young players in Europe, now on opposite sides of the north London derby divide.

So who's going to prove the shrewder acquisition? Well, Ozil is obviously the headline signing - he cost at least £12.5m more and he's four years older, but he's already an established world class talent.

Looking at the statistics, the two attacking midfielders have very different strengths.

The German is an assist-king - last season he set up a goal every 156 minutes - and only Leo Messi has as many in the last two years as Ozil.

Lamela, meanwhile, prefers to do the scoring himself. In 33 Serie A appearances last term, he managed 15 goals - fifth best in the Italian top flight.

He still chipped in with five assists for Roma, but he's not Mesut Ozil. That bodes well for Tottenham though. They signed Christian Eriksen to provide the passes.

What they'll be lacking following the sale of 24-goal Gareth Bale is people to stuck the ball away. Lamela has no trouble doing just that.

Ozil, in contrast, will play in a position that was not obviously an area Arsenal needed to strengthen - they have Santi Cazorla after all. Does this make Tottenham's signing a smarter pick?

Comparing the two using whoscored.com data, Lamela averaged a higher rating - 7.58 to Ozil's 7.41 - but you could argue Spain's La Liga is a tougher competition.

And Tottenham fans may be worried by Andre Villas-Boas's recent admission that Lamela does not speak a word of English.

As Mauricio Pochettino has showed at Southampton, that's not necessarily as serious a concern as initially feared. But Villas-Boas urged Spurs fans to give the Argentine time to settle.

Unfortunately, he's largely viewed - at least in terms of Tottenham's summer signings - as the Gareth Bale replacement.

Replacing the world's most expensive player puts a lot of pressure on Lamela, and may go some way in explaining Villas-Boas's comments today.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have no such concerns over Ozil. Arsene Wenger said Arsenal made a "statement of intent" this summer, and it's hard to argue with that.

The German playmaker is already one of the best in the world, and Wenger revealed he expects Ozil to become a "dominant" player - one who makes the step up from "very good to great".

Both Wenger and Villas-Boas admitted neither Ozil nor Lamela were guaranteed to slot straight into their respective teams this weekend - although it would be a surprise if they didn't feature.

Spurs take on Norwich at White Hart Lane on Saturday - a perfect opportunity to give Lamela his first home start.

Chris Hughton's side are extremely difficult to break down, and Eriksen and Lamela could be crucial in avoiding a repeat of last season's disappointing 1-1 home draw against the Canaries.

Arsenal face a trip to Sunderland, who've started the Premier League season in shaky form. A good chance for Gunners fans to see how Ozil fits into the Arsenal team.

So, if the two signings play - who do you expect to have the better game?

And looking ahead to the campaign as a whole, who will impress more - £30m Lamela or £42.5m Ozil?

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Topics:
Tottenham Hotspur
Football
Arsenal
Premier League

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