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Is Aguero more effective than Giroud, van Persie, Sturridge & Benteke?

Arsenal, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Manchester United and Manchester City are all benefitting from a top striker this season, but who is most efficient?

Widely regarded to be the deadliest hitman in the Premier League, Robin van Persie is, statistically speaking, the least effective striker of the top five forwards on current form in domestic action.

He has played one fewer game than his striking rivals and, while he is the most prolific at getting his shots away (one shot made every 23 minutes), he is the more wasteful in front of goal and has an effectiveness that pales in comparison to Aston Villa talisman Christian Benteke, Liverpool front-man Daniel Sturridge, Arsenal ace Olivier Giroud and Manchester City hero Sergio Aguero.

The 30-year-old Dutchman was crucial to the club's successes last term and began the current campaign in jaw-dropping fashion thanks to a brace that included a golazo volley against Swansea City mid-August. Community Shield and European exploits aside, van Persie's sole contribution aside from the Swansea theatrics was a penalty spot conversion against Crystal Palace.

The striker with the worst strike rate (one shot every 57 minutes) is, extraordinarily, the one who has the best efficiency in front of goal as, across Manchester, Sergio Aguero is in bang tidy form. The Argentine may have only peeled away six shots from 341 minutes and five appearances but he has returned three goals and one assist already, meaning he is contributing to a goal once every 85 minutes.

What may obscure Aguero's stats, though, is that two-thirds of his goals in the Premier League arrived just yesterday, as he returned a double against City's neighbourhood rivals United. His only other domestic goal was a cool finish versus Newcastle United on City's opening game of the season. He has, however, added a European goal to his overall tally as he sealed the 3-0 victory over Viktoria Plzen last week.

One striker who is thus far proving a reliable outlet for goals spread over a number of matches is Arsenal finisher Giroud. The club's fans were deafening in their enthusiasm in the Gunners' pursuit of Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez, however, if France international Giroud maintains his current efficiency then perhaps there will be little need for striking recruitment when the transfer window reopens in January.

Giroud has shot 15 times to date in the 2013/14 campaign, with 40% of his efforts finding the target. He puts his laces through the ball for a strike rate of one shot every 28 minutes and either scores or assists every 86 minutes. So far, his contributions have aided results against Fulham and Sunderland, he was the solitary hero in the club's 1-0 triumph over Tottenham Hotspur, he opened Arsenal's account against Aston Villa and he even scored a penalty in Europe, against Fenerbahce.

Benteke, like Giroud, spreads his goals over a number of games but, due to Villa's results, he is more often than not on the losing side when compared to Giroud and Arsenal.

Benteke secured the equaliser against Newcastle United (before the Magpies went on to win), he leveled the scoreline versus Chelsea (before the Blues went on to win) and he secured the equaliser against Arsenal, before scoring another to ensure it was the Villans who won. He even scored in the League Cup.

In league duty alone, though, his efficiency (one goal scored or assist created every 97 minutes) is bettered only by Aguero and Giroud, while Daniel Sturridge lags someway behind despite scoring just as many goals as Benteke.

Liverpool goal-getter Sturridge has returned four games from five matches to share the number one spot in this seasons golden boot race, however, he has been on the pitch for far longer than any of his striking rivals, playing every minute of the five games. He takes a shot once every 32 minutes, which compares to Giroud, but his overall efficiency is only slightly better than fifth-placed Van Persie.

Note: Stat-table below relevant for Premier League competition only.
 Name Games Goals Mins Shots On Target Success Assists Strike Rate Effectiveness
 Aguero 5 3 341 6 5 66% 1 57m 85m
 Benteke 5 4 388 9 7 78% 0 43m 97m
 Giroud 5 4 431 15 6 40% 1 28m 86m
 Sturridge 5 4 450 14 7 50% 0 32m 112m
 van Persie 4 3 345 15 5 33% 0 23m 115m

Can you prove anything with facts or do statistics fail to tell the whole story? Who do you think is the Premier League's most effective striker so far this season? Tell us in the comment section below!

image: © ronnie macdonald

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