90.2% to 89.9% passing success - Comparing the debuts of Eriksen and Ozil

Christian Eriksen

How did the Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal debutants get on in their respective fixtures yesterday.

Yesterday saw both North London clubs show off two of their summer recruits - with each player bringing with them a set of qualities not dissimilar to one another.

For Tottenham Hotspur it was the £12 million recruit Christian Eriksen from Ajax, with Arsenal starting their more expensive summer acquisition Mesut Ozil.

At £42.5 million Ozil has broken the club record for a transfer at The Emirates - and Andre Villas-Boas was quoted yesterday as suggesting that The Gunners had overpaid for the German international.

Interesting when he has a similar, but perhaps not as illustrious new signing in Eriksen - who cost £30 odd million less than Ozil.

So how did the pair get on in their respective debuts?

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Eriksen has long been heralded as the next big hope of Danish football, but until last season he was failing to live up to that promise. Often played out wide due to his age, he was finally utilised in the playmaker role last term - and performed wonders for Ajax in both domestic and European competition.

Yesterday he was very impressive. He played a role in both goals for the club - with a direct assist leading to Gylfi Sigurdsson’s opening goal. He then sprayed the ball wide for Paulinho to deliver a perfect cross into Sigurdsson for his second. He was picking up the ball in all the right areas - towing the line between the Norwich defence and midfield in imperious style - conducting the play like a master of ceremonies.

His pass success rate from the game demonstrates this fact - with 90.2% accuracy.

One area of criticism however was his crossing. He was quick to take free-kicks and corners yesterday - as he was an expert from dead-ball situations with Ajax. But from seven attempted crosses not a single one found a team-mate effectively.

Mesut Ozil also impressed, despite having a stomach bug on Friday. He to delivered an assist, squaring for Olivier Giroud to give the Gunners a lead.

His pass success rate was down on that of Eriksen, but only by a small margin at 89.9%, and he also attempted more passes in his debut in a similar amount of playing time (Eriksen 71 minutes, Ozil 80 minutes).

The key factor here is dribbling. While both have the ability to play key passes on a regular basis, on the evidence of yesterday’s game Ozil is the only one who can really take the game to opponents with the ball at his feet.

Ozil ran with the ball at feet much more than Eriksen, which probably gives him the edge in terms of performance.

But at a £30 million pound difference in cost - there is no doubt which one looked the better value for money yesterday.

Who do you think will have a better debut season?

All stats courtesy of WhoScored.com

image: © Martin Nikolaj Bech

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