Mesut Ozil... When is an assist not an assist?

Ozil Arsenal 8

Assist-king Mesut Ozil was on fire for the Arsenal at the weekend, but how many will count towards his official stats?

Mesut Ozil has had no trouble settling into life at Arsenal, playing a key role in Arsenal defeating Stoke at the Emirates at the weekend.

He created seven chances for teammates, but when it comes to assists you may hear differing figures depending on who you choose to believe.

The German playmaker delivered perfect crosses into the box for headed goals from Per Mertesacker and Bacary Sagna, with the pair showing they can find the net if presented with the right service.

Ozil's silver service is just that, notching up two assists for his role in the goals.

It was the first goal however which is the contentious one from a statistical point of view, and it's all to do with how assists are measured.

Ozil shot at goal from a free-kick, which goalkeeper Asmir Begovic saved - palming the ball into the path of Aaron Ramsey who fired into the net.

Officially this is not counted as an assist, because it was Stoke man Begovic who laid the ball into Ramsey's path rather than Ozil.

However when it comes to fantasy football, the definition of an assist is far more generous.

Due to the fact Mesut Ozil's free-kick made him the last Arsenal player to touch the ball during the passage of play, Begovic's touch simply counts as a rebound into Ramsey's path, and Ozil receives the assist.

The same would count if the ball had have struck the woodwork on it's way back to Ramsey. Winning a penalty does not count as an assist either, but for fantasy football purposes, it does.

Should you see figures thrown around stating that Ozil had three assists in his game -  this is why.

Ozil has three assists in total for the Premier League season, with only one against Sunderland officially recognised under Opta's official guidelines.

The good news? The three assists in total is the highest of any player in the Premier League this season.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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