Giroud stats/ analysis: The proof Arsenal need ANOTHER striker - who?

Olivier Giroud 3

The Gunners centre forward is not performing as well as a number of other strikers in the division…

Arsenal's push for Premier League honours this season could be significantly bolstered should Arsene Wenger elect to sign another goal-scorer, to compete with Olivier Giroud in his first XI selection, as the France forward is - statistically-speaking - not as efficient as a number of other strikers in England.

Giroud does have five goals to his name in the league (eight in all competitions) and has contributed four assists in the division, but the 27-year-old has not maintained his exceptional early season form, has not scored since the Crystal Palace win five match-days ago and question-marks have been raised over whether he is already suffering fatigue from having to spear-head the attack by himself for the whole campaign to date.

If the last point is true, then that still lends itself to the opinion that Wenger requires an additional man in order to relieve the goal-scoring and regular match-playing burden from Giroud.

However, in recent data analysed by Here Is The City, published here, Giroud's shot accuracy (40% on target) pales in comparison to his peers and is considerably lower than stat-leading strikers such as Romelu Lukaku (71% on target), Sergio Aguero (67% on target) and Loic Remy (67% on target).

To date, Giroud has had attempted 30 shots on goal, from 964 minutes of competitive Premier League football. However, he only averages one shot on target every 80 minutes, which, again, is sub-par when compared to the top ten Premier League strikers by consensus.

Liverpool forward Luis Suarez averages a shot on target every 36 minutes, Aguero once every 43 minutes, Remy every 55 minutes, even Southampton's Ricky Lambert tests the goalkeeper every 57 minutes, as does Aston Villa front-man Christian Benteke.

It stands to logic that the more accurate a striker is with his shooting and the more frequent his shots on target become, the more goals he inevitably scores. Suarez and Aguero are the two strikers who have the best shots on target per minutes statistic and are both leading the way for the Golden Boot award, with eight apiece for the season to date in the league.

Giroud should, by no means be sold, nor replaced. But his early-season performances were particularly strong and if there were another player with a similar quality level added in January to compliment the club's weaponry up front, then he may be able to return to that form for what will be a crucial second half of the fixture calendar.

However, who would be the best fit?

Wenger would be unlikely to return for Suarez, considering the amount of millions he would have added to his valuation because of his unparalleled performances thus far but the club have been linked with an abundance of attacking talent including Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema, Corinthians star Alexandre Pato and Juventus shooter Fernando Llorente.

In Serie A football, Llorente has returned two goals and one assist from 500 minutes, or one contribution every 166 minutes (almost three hours), he is also valued at near £20m.

With just nine goals from 24 matches in the Brasileiro Serie A this season, Pato has return rate of a goal and assist once every 162 minutes. He would be a far cheaper option than Benzema, at perhaps as little as £10m - £15m, but considering the boost Wenger has received in transfer funds of late, there is no reason to look for cheaper options.

Benzema, valued at around £30m, is a similar calibre… he is a creative forward yet a physical presence up front and, like Giroud this season, has been effective as a chance creator, assist provider as well as a goal-scorer in Primera Division competition, returning a goal or an assist once every 85 minutes (Giroud's return is once every 107 mins).

Benzema may also have seen the success enjoyed by former Real team-mate Mesut Ozil and see the Emirates Stadium grass to be greener than that of the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. 

All that remains to be seen is whether Wenger, like he did on deadline day in the summer, bids big when the transfer market reopens in January…

image: © wonker

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