Stats prove Mesut Ozil is Premier League's most creative player ever

David Cooper 11/03/2018
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Mesut Ozil

Mesut Ozil became the quickest player to reach 50 assists in the Premier League after setting up Shkodran Mustafi’s first-half goal for Arsenal against Watford on Sunday.

The German has often been accused of going missing for the Gunners, but the stats prove that he is one of the most efficient creative players that the English top-flight has ever seen.

It has taken the 29-year-old 141 league games to reach the landmark, pipping Eric Cantona by two matches in a top five that includes former Gunners Dennis Bergkamp and Cesc Fabregas.

Manchester City maestro David Silva is the only other active player to have his name in the top five, while David Beckham rounds out the list.

MesutOzilArsenal50assists

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Jose Mourinho lauds Marcus Rashford following brace in Man United's 2-1 win over Liverpool

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Happy man: Mourinho is pleased with Rashford's performances.

Marcus Rashford showed Jose Mourinho just why he deserved his first Premier League start of the year by scoring both Manchester United‘s goals as they beat Liverpool 2-1 on Saturday.

His double inside the first 25 minutes means Rashford has more goals from one game than Alexis Sanchez has managed for United since signing the most lucrative contract in Premier League history in January.

The Chilean’s arrival has pushed Rashford down the pecking order despite Sanchez’s struggles to recreate the form that made him so in demand when he decided to run down his contract at Arsenal.

Sanchez has just one goal in nine games in a United shirt, but has shown great hunger and is relentless willing.

Indeed, had it not been for an impact injury suffered by Paul Pogba in what Mourinho described as “the final minute” of training on Friday, there is every chance Rashford would have been sidelined once more.

Instead, Sanchez moved inside to an advanced midfield role Pogba would likely have filled to create the space on the left for Rashford to win the game.

“He scored two goals in a big match against a top class opponent,” said Mourinho. “Of course he was fundamental.”

His first goal in particular didn’t resemble a player short on confidence and without a goal in the league since early December.

Rashford burst onto Romelu Lukaku’s flick-on and turned inside Trent Alexander-Arnold before blasting past Loris Karius into the far corner.

Boosted by breaking his drought, Rashford then swept home a second 10 minutes later with the Liverpool defence again scrambling after Lukaku had outmuscled Dejan Lovren.

“The good thing was the first chance he had, he got it, he scored because I think in the last two months that was not happening with him,” added Mourinho.

“Today, a big game, probably he didn’t expect it, but we trusted him and thought the game adapted to his qualities.”

Rashford’s return to form couldn’t have come at a better time not just for United — who face another two crucial games this week when Sevilla and Brighton visit Old Trafford in the Champions League and FA Cup respectively — but also for England.

England manager Gareth Southgate was among an impressed crowd just five days ahead of naming his squad for friendlies later this month against the Netherlands and Italy.

Those games will be Southgate’s last chance to experiment before naming his 23-man squad for the World Cup in Russia.

“It was nice that he was here to watch but there are a lot of players in contention,” said Rashford.

“He keeps in contact with us and let us know where we are at.”

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Jack Wilshere urges Arsenal to keep fighting in the Premier League

Mark Bryans 10/03/2018
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Jack Wilshere insists Arsenal cannot go easy in the Premier League and believes finishing the domestic season strongly could help the Gunners lift the Europa League.

Arsenal are 13 points adrift of the top four as their search for an immediate return to the Champions League has faltered massively in recent weeks.

Arsene Wenger’s side have lost five of their last seven games in all competitions but returned to form to beat AC Milan in the first leg of their last-16 Europa League clash in Italy on Thursday.

That means winning the Europa League, as Manchester United did last year, presents the best chance of securing a place in Europe’s top competition next term.

But, with Watford visiting the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, Wilshere reckons Arsenal cannot afford to let their Premier League campaign close with a whimper.

“We can’t just give up on the Premier League,” he said.

“We have got to keep fighting in there and get as many points as possible to give ourselves the best chance if anyone does slip up.

“That doesn’t look likely, but we need to be ready to pounce if they do. I think it can help us in this competition as well, if we keep the wins up and playing like this then we have a chance.”

Meanwhile, Danny Welbeck wants to maintain the levels shown at the San Siro, where they shocked their hosts with a 2-0 win.

He told Arsenal.com: “We want to improve but you do go home, look at yourself and say ‘how can I put things right?’

“I think the minimum requirement is to stand and fight in every single area of the pitch. We know that our quality will shine through in the end.

“It’s not just the football, there’s good times and you get praised for them, and there’s bad times where you get negative criticism but you’ve got to take it.

“You’ve got to look at yourself and see how you can improve on these situations.”

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