Since losing to Southampton on New Year's Day, Arsenal have won 10 out of their 11 Premier League games, having only dropped points in a loss to rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
The latest win, a 4-1 success over Liverpool, saw the Gunners move up to second in the table, ahead of both Manchester clubs, meaning they have emerged as champions-elect Chelsea’s biggest challengers.
It is no coincidence that Arsenal’s winning run began as soon as record signing Mesut Ozil returned from a long-term knee injury.
The German international is not many people’s cup of tea. His critics feel he does not contribute enough in terms of numbers, especially in the big games.
But there are so many positive aspects of Ozil’s game that go unnoticed by the statistics. His four goals and five assists in the league may not seem like many but he has been a crucial player for Arsenal since his return.
The 26-year-old, World Cup winner is absolutely untouchable in the final third. His ball control and composure are incredible and he is able to dictate the play wherever he is on the pitch.
He has maintained an 87% pass accuracy this season, which is a fantastic tally when you consider how often Arsenal are camped inside the opposition’s half.
Ozil is able to find pockets of space in between the lines and influence proceedings constantly throughout matches. He has an ability to speed up attacks whenever he wishes and can play from a wing too.
The German’s off the ball movement and ability to maraud across the final third not only gives him more opportunities to influence play in possession but also allows others more space to run into.
He may not be the quickest or the most powerful player but he is one of the smartest footballers the Premier League has ever seen and Arsenal are much better with Ozil in the team.