Arsenal’s failure to beat Stoke City shows reliance on Mesut Ozil's creativity

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With 16 assists so far this season, Arsenal's Mesut Ozil has been one of - if the not the - best players in the Premier League this season.

However, when the Germany international was injured for Sunday’s clash away at Stoke City, the Gunners created very few clear-cut chances and were made to settle for a goalless draw.

Arsenal currently lead the way in the Premier League after 22 games played and many see this as their best chance to win the title since 2003/04, but Arsene Wenger’s men have been helped out by the inconsistency of those around them.


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Manchester City have struggled defensively without their inspirational captain Vincent Kompany, while Leicester City appear to have stalled in recent weeks.

In the red corner of Manchester, Louis van Gaal’s job is still under scrutiny due his side’s below-par performances, while Chelsea’s title defence has fallen flat on its face. This seems like the perfect time for Arsenal to finally make a sustained challenge for English football’s biggest price.

Last season, Alexis Sanchez was Arsenal’s star man, the Chilean scoring 16 league goals and providing six assists. With the former Barcelona man struggling with injury recently, though, Ozil has been charged with the responsibility of being the club's leader.

And he has stepped up to the plate in quite some fashion. The German has been in superb form for the Gunners and established himself as the league's best number 10.

Arsenal were once criticised for trying to walk the ball into the net, yet Ozil’s style of play has changed all that, creating 86 chances and playing killer passes whenever possible.

At Stoke, however, with the 27-year-old absent with a foot injury, Arsenal were pretty blunt in attack. Wenger's side only managed to create two clear-cut chances throughout, both falling to Olivier Giroud and both saved by Jack Butland.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was given the chance to impress in the creative midfield role, yet the Englishman made very little impact when compared to the difference Ozil makes.

The lack of chances created showed just how instrumental Ozil is to the success of this Arsenal side.

Even without Sanchez these past few months, the Gunners have remained a threat in front of goal, yet without Ozil, Arsenal lack incision and imagination. The difference is there for all to see.

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Thierry Henry
Premier League

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