By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes
Mesut Ozil is a striker’s dream who puts the ball on a plate for his team-mates, according to Rio Ferdinand.
The former Manchester United defender has revealed that he is a massive fan of the Arsenal playmaker and refutes the criticism that has come Ozil’s way during his two-and-a-half seasons in English football.
The pressure is on Ozil to create opportunities for the Gunners’ in Greece as they seek the Champions League win against Olympiakos that will take them to the knockout stages of the competition.
Ferdinand is in no doubt about Ozil’s effectiveness.
“I love the way he plays,” Ferdinand told BT Sport Europe on Wednesday night before the Olympiakos match. “He has a relaxed, languid style that some people can’t warm to.
“But he has the most assists in the top five leagues in Europe this season. He’s a striker’s dream. He puts the ball on a plate for strikes. He doesn’t have hazy pictures in his head, he has a feather in his boot. He makes it look so easy.
“He has even started to chip in with a few goals. His desire to get into the box [recently] was something in previous seasons that I don’t know he would have done.”
Ozil added to his outstanding Premier League assists haul when he created Arsenal’s opening goal for Joel Campbell against Sunderland last Saturday.
It was the German’s 12th assist in his 14th Premier League match this season, the most by an Arsenal player in the competition in the same campaign since Cesc Fabregas supplied 13 assists in 2009/10.
It also extended Ozil’s lead at the head of the Premier League assists summit, with the playmaker directly creating twice as many goals as his nearest rival.
The Arsenal man is ahead of Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez, Everton’s Gerard Deulofeu and Manchester City pair Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva, who have all provided six assists.
Moreover, no player in the English top flight has produced more than Ozil’s 26 Premier League assists since the German joined Arsenal in the summer of 2013.