Stat proof: If Cleverley is United's scapegoat then here is Arsenal's - not Giroud

Manchester United midfielder believes he has been unfairly targeted… is there an Arsenal player in a similar position?

The fall-out from Arsenal's 5-1 loss to Liverpool and their goal-less draw with Manchester United has seen the Gunners go from Premier League title contenders who have played the most consistent football of the season, to typical chokers who screw-up in February and are jinxed when competing against the bigger clubs of the division.

Since their fourth round 4-0 FA Cup win over Coventry City on January 24, Arsenal have participated in four Premier League matches, but have won just once, versus Crystal Palace, while drawing the other two (2-2 to Southampton, 0-0 to United), while losing one - to Liverpool.

The four points pocketed from a possible dozen has seen them lose their command over the rest of the Premier League, slip to second with the possibility of dropping to third should Manchester City win their game in hand.

Even renowned social media commentator of all things Arsenal, Piers Morgan, who Tweeted that the club may well miss out on a top four position in the division, rather than actually challenge for the title.

While striker Olivier Giroud has been criticised throughout the season by Morgan, latterly the media and fans alike have turned to Mesut Ozil, but he is arguably being scapegoated far more than Manchester United's Tom Cleverley.

The Englishman recently told Sky Sports: 'When I first started getting singled out, it stung but it's something you have got to learn to take when the team is not doing well. My job goes under the radar at times. I am not a player who's going to beat three or four people and stick it in the top corner or go round tackling people like Roy Keane.

'I feel I've been made a scapegoat a little bit. A few people in the media certainly seem to have a perception of me not doing much in the team.'

Like Cleverley, Ozil has been accused of doing enough for Arsenal like he did when he first joined the club in a £42.4m record transfer from Real Madrid.

However, it is not Ozil who is to blame for Arsenal's poor run of late and one only need to look at the statistics to see why. Below is a data table highlighting various passing statistics taken from Ozil's most recent five matches, up to and including his man of the match display against Manchester United.

PlayerTouch /AppTotal Pass /AppAcc Pass /AppPen Area Entry /AppChance /AppAssist /AppGoals /AppAppsMins
Ozil 86.00 71.00 62.80 3.40 3.00 0.20 0 5 411

The data table below highlights statistics taken from Ozil's first five appearances in the red-and-white from North London, who made his debut against Sunderland.

What is first apparent is that Ozil's two goals and three assists far out-do his attacking efficiency in these factors from his most recent five games, where he has returned no goals but only one assist. However, that does not detract away from his overall impact. In both cases, he made a similar amount of touches while there is a negligible difference in terms of total passes per appearance on average and accurate passes per game.

Considering how similar the stats are, is Ozil becoming Arsenal's scapegoat for their poor run?

PlayerTouch /AppTotal Pass /AppAcc Pass /AppPen Area Entry /AppTotal Att Assist /AppGoal Assist /AppGoals /AppAppsMins
Ozil 87.20 67.60 59.20 4.00 3.80 0.60 0.40 5 428

image: © Ronnie MAcdonald

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