Arsene Wenger's Arsenal travel to Newcastle United on Saturday in what is already a huge clash for the Emirates outfit. With just four points taken from a possible nine in the club's opening three games of the season, defeat to Steve McClaren's side could prove a cruel blow to the Gunners' Premier League title aspirations, leaving the club chasing a sizeable deficit just a month into the new campaign.
Newcastle, meanwhile, have enjoyed a steady start to life under Steve McClaren, with two draws and one defeat - including a hard-fought goalless stalemate at Old Trafford. The former England manager is still chasing his first competitive win with the Magpies, but early signs suggests that they will far out-do their efforts of last term, under John Carver.
Ready to decide the outcome of the match stand Georginio Wijnaldum and Mesut Ozil, both of whom will be integral to their respective side's chances of emerging with three points. With this in mind, HITC Sport have analysed the duo's early season statistics to decide who will hold the upper hand at St. James' Park.
|Stats per App||Goals||Shot Accuracy (%)||Assists||Key Passes||Pass Accuracy (%)||Successful Final Third Passes||Successful Dribbles||Times Dispossessed||Appearances||Mins Played|
Having only recently highlighted the need to add goals to his game, according to The Guardian, it comes as little surprise to see Ozil flagging behind Wijnaldum based on his success in this department, especially considering the Newcastle man already has one successful Premier League strike to his name - picked up in the club's opening day draw versus Southampton.
However, when it comes to the creative side of the playmaker's game, the German international is king. With one assist and 12 key passes to his name already this season, his achievements far outweigh that of the Magpies summer signing. Meanwhile, his passing ability - particularly in the final third - proves far superior.
When Arsenal visit St. James' Park on Saturday, Ozil's contribution is likely to prove vital. While he often receives criticism for his performances, the way he pulls the strings from midfield is truly remarkable and, as he has shown consistently throughout the opening weeks of the season, he is the club's most creative asset.
Based on the statistics, Ozil should outshine his opposite number at the weekend, but with the Toon army behind him, Wijnaldum will be confident in his ability to cause an upset. The former PSV Eindhoven captain poses a far greater goal threat than his counterpart and this could prove the difference as Steve McClaren's side look to target an injury-stricken Gunners defence.