After West Ham’s 2-0 win at the Emirates on Sunday a controversial opinion was brought forward by a Hammer’s fan: Dimitri Payet is better than Mesut Özil. But is there actually some truth within this opinion? Of course it is subjective, but within the main aspects of an attacking midfielder does Payet have the edge over Mesut Özil? It’s very easy to flat out reject this opinion, but to truly find out stats must be used – and then maybe after some analysis this argument can be over and done with once and for all.
The main purpose of a midfielder is to pass,of course, and this can be judged through a few different statistics. In my opinion the best are: the amount of assists, pass completion rate, chances created, total passes and also key passes are the most suitable for an attacking midfielder. Take note that all statistics used will be per 90 metrics to make the comparisons as fair as possible taking into account that one player may have had a lot more time on the pitch than the other.
As the picture shows Özil makes more passes than Payet and has a higher success rate in these passes however, Payet has around double the amount of assists per 90 minutes and creates 0.56 more chances per game. So what exactly does this show you may ask. Well, essentially Özil has far superior passing in general and in a superior league also, Payet seems to have been able to create more direct play in Ligue 1 hence the high amount of assists and slightly higher amount of chances created. Wether he can actually replicate this in the Premier League is yet to be seen. However, using Payet’s season in the Champions League, and Özil’s two we begin to see the gap between the two. Payet’s Champions League campaign in 2013/2014 began in the same group as Arsenal so this is a brilliant way to compare the two as they played the same teams as well as each other in the competition.
With this we begin to see how Özil begins to pull away from Payet completely except in the assists category, there are two reasons for this: firstly Payet took all free-kicks and corners for Marseille last season and secondly, of course, the strikers Ozil has been working with in such a tough league, quite a popular opinion that is shared by many television ‘pundits’ and fans alike including former gunner Thierry Henry, who was quite a good striker himself. So hopefully this concludes that Özil’s passing is unmatched by Payet but, maybe this myth isn’t busted quite yet. What if Payet has better attacking and dribbling qualities then?
Well, to find out if Payet does in fact have these qualities, I will be using statistics yet again- keeping in mind that Payet was playing in what is universally considered a weaker league.
With these stats we begin to see that Payet actually isn’t a better goalscorer than Özil, which is quite shocking if you ask me, considering how often Özil actually scores. There is only a 0.02 difference in goals per 90 metrics between the two, in Payet’s favour and when we combine this with shots per 90 metrics, there is a real story shown. Özil has a shots per goal ratio of 7.42, whereas Payet has one of 10.52, quite the difference, a 2.9 difference in this statistic shows that although neither are clinical however Özil is far ahead in terms of goalscoring. What about Payet’s take on ability then? Surely he must have an edge in at least one category? Unfortunately not, yet again, Özil has what is almost a 10% gap in successful take on percentage and a 2.46% lead in total duel percentage, concluding that Özil also has an edge in this category.
As I begin to search deep down in statistics to show that Payet might just be better than Özil and defending is his last hope. Using tackles won, interceptions, percentage of aerial duels won and blocks.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse for this idiotic argument, it turns out that Özil is also far superior defensively than him, having double the amount of tackles per game, almost triple the aerial duels won percentage, 0.15 more interceptions per game and we can see from the stats that Payet didn’t even make one single block all season in his 36 appearances in Ligue 1.
All in all I have to disagree with the man who started this argument (and the numerous sheep that have followed him on his crusade), a “YouTuber” by the name of SpencerFC, (@SpencerOwen) on twitter, if you would like to subject yourself to the torturous task of reading more tweets of this sheer amount of stupidity. Putting Payet within Europe’s top 25 attacking midfielders, this list is something I would like to see in the future from Spencer, (after all who knows who could be within his list) and comparing him with the likes of Mesut Özil is the wrong thing to do, Payet was £30 million cheaper than Özil and if he was genuinely better than Özil (in some alternate reality situation possibly quite like ‘Back To the Future’ or something of that nature), surely Arsenal’s extensive scouting system in France would’ve spotted this world class talent and stopped him from ending up at Upton Park, unless Spencer is in fact a better judge of talent than all of Arsenal’s scouts, who watch players and search for talent for a living and also Arsene Wenger himself, who likes to keep his finger on the pulse of Ligue 1 to find the latest stars, then I think it is safe to say that Mesut Özil is better than Dimitri Payet. This isn’t to say that Payet isn’t a good player by any means, it is a great signing for West Ham and their fans should be excited by his arrival but to compare him with one of Europe’s top attacking midfielders will only leave you red in the face. I am disappointed that this argument ever had to be entertained, and even outside of the stats Özil’s superiority can be witnessed so easily, since arriving Özil has created more chances than David Silva- who some would consider as the best attacking midfielder in the league, that is an argument for another day but the point stands.
This opinion obviously arose due to West Ham getting one win against Arsenal putting wind in someone’s sails and them in turn praising Payet as if he’s the best thing since sliced bread. I’m sorry to break the news, well actually I’m not in reality, but Payet made one chance in the whole game against Arsenal, from a dead ball situation. Mesut Özil created 4 in the losing side, while he was apparently in Reece Oxford’s pocket? So maybe Spencer should calm down after West Ham’s one win against in around 4 years, take a step back, breathe slowly, think about what he is saying and reevaluate the damage already caused, making thousands agree with him and his opinion which is based out of his supposed nine games he’s watched Payet in the flesh, or maybe even just from FIFA 15. I must admit that I haven’t witnessed him in the flesh but from what I’ve witnessed on the television and in these stats I don’t understand how anyone of any level of intelligence or on any narcotic ,no matter how strong, could come to this conclusion. So the answer to the question of “Is Payet better than Özil?” Funnily turns out to be no: Who would’ve guessed?