Analysis: Who is PL's most effective striker? Not Giroud, not RvP

Arsenal, Aston Villa, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle United and Southampton strikers all featured in our data-crunching.

Liverpool's in-form forward Luis Suarez, Manchester City's attacker Sergio Aguero and Newcastle United striker Loic Remy are the top three most effective strikers in the Premier League according to the latest data available.

Statistics also indicate that Olivier Giroud, despite his good performances on the field, could be more productive up-front when it comes to the evidence on-paper, that Robin van Persie is the least creative strike partner in terms of chances created for his team-mates and there is no elite forward in England better at beating the offside trap than Romelu Lukaku.

While goals alone cannot be used as a barometer for efficiency they, are in this case, fairly apt as one of the Premier League's top goalscorers - Suarez, tied first-place atop the charts with team-mate Daniel Sturridge and Citizen Aguero - also has an assist to his name.

When factoring in his nine-goal contribution (eight goals plus one assist) and his six-match suspension at the start of the season, it shows that he has in fact been responsible for one goal every 60 minutes he is playing on a Premier League pitch.

However, Aguero is not far behind with his eight goals plus four assists netting one contribution every 64 minutes he plays.

There are, of course, other points to consider. For instance, Suarez stands alone in his shooting efficiency.

While Everton's on-loan addition from Chelsea, Romelu Lukaku, is the most precise striker of the football (ten shots of his 14 attempts have been on target to date), this only works out at one shot on target per 59 minutes of action. Suarez, with a 50% accuracy in contrast, is actually more efficient as he hits the target once every 36 minutes despite being slightly more wayward.

Interestingly, the least effective striker when it comes to shooting an accuracy is Olivier Giroud. The Gunner has hit 12 shots on target, but has been on the pitch 964 minutes, meaning he only hits the target once every 80 minutes, a little better than once per game.

As Suarez clearly shows, if you are more prolific and adventurous with your shooting opportunities, you are more likely to a: test the goalkeeper and/or b: beat him.

Giroud, despite his physical prowess and his height, is far from a target-man and is an all-round striker. This has been demonstrated by his assist total (4) which is only one shy from his goal haul (5). However, his minutes per goal scored or assist created (107) is the eighth best on the ten players listed below, with Southampton ace Rickie Lambert ninth and Aston Villa man Christian Benteke tenth.

Looking at Giroud's assisting though, while joint top of the league in terms of contributions, he only creates a chance for a team-mate once every 57 minutes, which is behind Lambert (once every 54 minutes) Wayne Rooney (every 49 mins) and far behind the stand-out leader Suarez (every 30 mins).

Could Arsenal, therefore, be better off with an additional/replacement striker in the January transfer window?

What are the causes for van Persie's lull in shooting accuracy and chances created?

 Arsenal  Giroud  964  5  4  107  30 (40%)  80  57  12
 Aston Villa  Benteke  687  4  -  172  20 (60%)  57  40  10
 Everton  Lukaku  591  5  1  99  14 (71%)  59  118  5
 Liverpool  Sturridge  974  8  2  97  35 (51%)  54  89  12
 Liverpool  Suarez  539  8  1  60  30 (50%)  36  30  8
 Man City  Aguero  769  8  4  64  27 (67%)  43  40  11
 Man Utd  Rooney  835  5  4  93  27 (55%)  56  49  10
 Man Utd  van Persie  822  7  2  91  26 (46%)  69  137  8
 New Utd  Remy  655  7  1  82  18 (67%)  55  60  12
 Southampton  Lambert  861  4  3  123  28 (53%)  57  54  10

 The key to reading the above data is as follows: M/GA = Minutes per goal scored/assist created, Shots = total shots (shooting accuracy), M/SoT = Minutes per shots on target, M/Ch = Minutes per chance created.

image: © little-pete

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