Oezil v Fabregas - a tale of two playmakers
Wenger spot-on in anointing German playmaker than re-signing fallen former hero Fabregas
(Gabriel Paulista 27, Mesut Oezil 63)
At the Emirates Stadium, the new king takes his throne in front of a jubilant crowd.
Chants were sung in full voice in his praise but, in truth, no words need to be spoken.
When a performance is that complete, the feet already does all the talking.
Mesut Oezil, the man who can do no wrong at the moment, delivered the goods once again, for the umpteenth time this season.
One goal and one assist from the 27-year-old attacking midfielder condemned Bournemouth to a 2-0 defeat by the Gunners yesterday morning (Singapore time).
Inspired by Oezil's 16th league assist and third league goal of the season, the north London club moved to the top of the Premiership table with the win.
They will enter the new year as league leaders, unless Leicester City beat Manchester City this morning.
The one whose playing style was deemed by Arsenal fans to be too languid and casual to be a success is now revered by all and sundry.
Not far away, in the same city but donning blue, a fallen star was licking his wounds.
Once the joy and pride of Arsenal, from 2003 to 2011, he thrilled the Arsenal fans the way Oezil did.
On the same Emirates turf and before that at Highbury, he was the master puppeteer who pulled the string with the same deft control.
But Cesc Fabregas' inexplicable loss of form has seen his career spiral out of control.
When Chelsea took to the field against Manchester United on the same day Oezil spun his magic against Bournemouth, Fabregas was nowhere to be seen.
According to Chelsea caretaker manager Guus Hiddink, the 28-year-old Spanish playmaker was a nursing a fever, and therefore did not make the trip.
He wasn't missed, neither by the team nor the club's supporters.
The Chelsea players put in a combative display in his absence to draw 0-0 in Manchester.
Fabregas these days wears the look of a beaten man.
The Chelsea fans, tired with his lame performances over the past year and fuelled by their belief that he refused to give of his best under recently departed manager Jose Mourinho, were quite happy to do without him.
He no longer occupies the same spot in the hearts of the Arsenal faithful too, not after how he forced his way out of the club to join Barcelona, and not after he returned to England under rival London club Chelsea's colours.
There's a twist somewhere in there.
When Fabregas decided to return to the Premiership for a second stint last year, he said that he wanted to rejoin the Gunners and that it didn't happen because the club told him that they already had Oezil.
Arsenal's forgotten hero is now unwelcome at the Emirates and can't find comfort at Stamford Bridge.
The Premier League's former brightest star risks being sucked into a black hole.
His fall from grace contrasts starkly with Oezil's propulsion through the stratosphere.
Oezil is closing in on Fabregas' personal record of 18 assists, set last season with the Blues.
The German registered his 16th of the season yesterday morning with a beautifully lofted corner-kick towards the edge of the Bournemouth six-yard box, which was met by the head of Gabriel Paulista in the 27th minute.
His 63rd-minute goal showed the other side of his game.
Playing a one-two with Olivier Giroud, the Germany international burst past four spellbound defenders to finish an exquisite move started and ended by himself.
The poor Cherries could only watch and learn, then envy upon the realisation that how they could do with a player of his talent.
At the final whistle, Oezil waved at his subjects to return the affection. The appreciation was mutual.
All that, while Fabregas was presumably holed up at home trying to bring down his temperature, and possibly pondering over what might have been if he had not left the Gunners.
Football can be cruel this way.
BY THE NUMBERS
6 Mesut Oezil created all six goalscoring chances Arsenal had in the first half against Bournemouth.
9 Oezil created nine goalscoring chances in the Bournemouth game, more than any other player in a single EPL game this season.
16 Oezil has scored or assisted 16 goals in his last 12 Premier League appearances.
16 Oezil recorded his 16th assist of the season, only four short of the Premier League record (20 by Thierry Henry in 2002-03)