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Silva V Özil: Who’s the better attacking midfielder?

Silva V Özil. Two of the best creative talents in the Premier League and both are World Cup winners. Silva and Özil are absolutely crucial to the success of Man City and Arsenal respectively. They’re the link between the midfield and front men, the difference between functional and world-class. The two playmakers now have a few seasons in the Premier League under their belts. They’ll meet on the pitch this Sunday, so there’s no better time to ask the question, who is the better player?

SILVA V ÖZIL: THE CASE FOR DAVID SILVA

Silva V Özil: The case for David Silva

Jinking left, gliding right, the wizard of the Etihad is pulling more tricks. Man City heavily rely on the creative talents of David Silva. Their new coach this season recently heaped praise on the Spaniard:

“One of the reasons I came here was to be with him. He is special. I was impressed how competitive he is when I met him. He’s a winner, a fighter and he runs. He is a fantastic player.”

The flattering words came after Silva notched up his 62nd assist at City. In under seven years, the midfield maestro has created more goals than any other player in the Premier League. Silva rarely goes missing in the big games, either. At the Etihad before Christmas, Arsenal took a surprise early lead through Walcott. City looked on the ropes before the sublime Silva took over. His assist to Sane gave the home side their much needed equaliser, and Guardiola’s men would end up winning 2-1.

SOLID FOOTBALL FOUNDATIONS

Silva’s footballing education was at the home of Valencia, the Mestalla. Fully committed supporters create a cauldron for opposing teams and fans to enter. Such is the desire of the home fans to win, it heaps pressure on their own team. Silva showed his talent and self-confidence early in his career, and continued his development over his four seasons with the first team. 8 goals and 7 assists in just 30 games during his final La Liga campaign in 2009-2010 highlighted the play-maker’s ability.

Silva quickly adapted to the less patient English game. In his first two seasons alone, the Spaniard was able to add 26 assists to his impressive statistics. His second year brought City’s first Premier League title. This is even more impressive when you consider Gareth Barry was Silva’s usual partner in midfield. 15 assists and 6 goals was a major contributing factor to City’s triumph. Silva knows how to win, and without him, City are a far weaker side.

SILVA V ÖZIL: THE CASE FOR DAVID SILVA

SILVA V ÖZIL: THE CASE FOR mesut ÖZIL

“The sale of Ozil is very bad news for me. He was the player who best knew my moves in front of goal… I’m angry about Özil leaving.”

La Marca reported that Ronaldo had this to say about Özil, upon hearing that Madrid had accepted a bid from Arsenal for the German genius. The Portuguese superstar had reason to feel aggrieved. In Özil’s final two seasons at Real, he managed 34 assists in just 60 starts in La Liga. Nobody in Europe could touch him at the time. When Özil is firing (and has a functioning team around him), there are few better players on the planet.

Critics are quick to slate Özil when Arsenal lose a match. It’s either Wenger or the Gunner’s best creative force that receives the brunt of the criticism. While the defensive mistakes are conveniently often overlooked. Özil hit the ground running when he joined Arsenal in 2013. In just 26 Premier League games, he scored 5 goals and notched up 9 assists. That’s a goal or assist every other game. In an injury hit season the next year, in 22 games, Özil scored 4 and had 5 assists.

ASSIST MACHINE

The 2015/2016 season, when Leicester struck gold, should really end the conversation on who is the best creative midfielder in the Premier League. Özil scored 6 goals and had 19 (NINETEEN) assists to his name during the campaign that saw Arsenal eventually finish second. Nineteen assists. This was just one short of the record held by Thierry Henry.

Özil was a key member of Germany’s World Cup winning side in 2014. He was Ronaldo’s favourite player at Real, where he managed to win La Liga, the Copa Del Rey and the Spanish Supercup. Two FA Cup titles at Arsenal have been added. Özil took a gamble in joining Arsenal. It’s not his fault that the club hasn’t invested in their weak areas. A player of his ability should be protected by his teammates and celebrated for being such a wonderful attacking force.

It’s decision time. Who do you think is the better midfielder? Let us know by voting below:  

Silva V Özil: Who's the better attacking midfielder?

Now that you’ve made this decision, check out Lukaku vs. Mane.

Photo by Corey-Adam Crowley Graphics

Photo by joshjdss

Main Image: ESPN

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