Finally, what we’ve all been waiting for! Player Comparison: Coutinho Vs. Özil. Now, before I begin this article and quite frankly, this fierce debate, I’m going to lay my cards out on the table – I like Philippe Coutinho, A LOT. I have rated him ever since he arrived at Liverpool from Inter in 2013 for the bargain price of £11m. However as well as the Brazilian, I view the 5 time German player of the year extremely highly as well.
Coutinho and Özil are arguably very similar players; they both love getting on the ball, creating chances and taking men on. These two have both played in more than one of Europe’s top leagues. Coutinho enjoyed time as a youngster for Inter in Serie A, meanwhile Özil has spent periods at both Werder Bremen of the Bundesliga and more notably Real Madrid before arriving at Arsenal. This article will not compare their time overseas. Only will their Premier League stats come into play as a way of levelling the playing field to see who really is the better player, Coutinho or Özil?
When analysing the statistics of these two players I noticed how much it can depend on team mates for creative players to be deemed as good or not so good.
Certainly in-depth stats undoubtedly, yet controversially show Özil to be the better player of the two. His pass completion percentage, key passes per game, chances created per game and successful take on percentage are all marginally higher than the Brazilians. Although Coutinho has a better ball redemption figure (tackles won) these statistics don’t provide a convincing argument to show that the Liverpool man is the better of the two.
However, looking into more basic statistics, it shows how Özil isn’t necessarily as good as the more precise analytics make out. The German has been involved in 8 goals this season in the Premier League alone (5 goals, 3 assists). Interestingly, not a single goal coming from outside the penalty area. Coutinho, on the other hand, has been involved in 10 goals this season (5 goals, 5 assists) and 3 of his goals have come from outside the area; one being his incredible free-kick against Özil’s Arsenal on the opening day of the season. Personally, I believe these stats are key, and incredibly fair. If Arsenal were a much less abled team than Liverpool then these comparisons would be harsh. Both these players are playing with attackers of a similar ability and that suggests to me that Coutinho provides more for his team than Özil does.
One of Mesut Özil’s largest criticisms is how he performs in ‘big’ games. This season, of the big teams, Özil has played: Chelsea, Spurs, Manchester City, and United. In these games he has scored 1 goal (Vs Chelsea) and created zero. His average match rating (WhoScored.com) in these games was 7.15 (highest 8.75 Vs Chelsea, lowest 6.0 Vs City). Not a flattering stat for the German.
Coutinho on the other hand has played Arsenal, Spurs, Chelsea and Manchester United. In these big games, like in his previous seasons, he has performed well. The Brazilian attacker has scored 2 (Vs Arsenal) and assisted 1 (Vs Chelsea). His average match rating being 7.68; 0.53 better than Özil’s. These figures show how although Özil can score goals and make assists on a regular basis, he fails to possess the qualities, or confidence, to do this when it matters. Coutinho over the last few seasons has consistently cropped up with important goals. In his career he has scored 5 times against City, 3 times against Arsenal and twice against Spurs and Chelsea.
These statistics are enough to prove to me that Coutinho is of a better quality than Özil. Whether he does more or less against smaller teams is less important to me than other qualities needed to be a great player. When teams like Liverpool and Arsenal come up against poorer quality sides, say, in the bottom half of the Premier League, the workload is shared across the whole team. However, in these top of the table clashes, the big names in teams NEED to step up. For me Coutinho does that, maybe this is why Liverpool are so formidable when facing the top 5/6 clubs in the Premier League. Özil on the other hand, doesn’t and it is no coincidence that Arsenal tend to struggle both home and away against the big sides too.
Overall, statistics shape this argument for me, but there is no denying that for any neutral, both of these players are absolutely outstanding. Now, for anyone who isn’t convinced by my argument, here’s the magician’s top 10 goals…
Thank you for reading.
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Article by @KopiteJames.