Arsenal and Marseille share turf this evening but we highlight who the more efficient forward is, statistically speaking…
Arsenal host Olympique Marseille in Group F of Champions League competition later today, Tuesday, and Arsene Wenger will witness first hand a player whom he has been linked with on and off for a number of years; Andre Pierre Gignac, currently valued at £7.5m by transfermarkt.co.uk.
The French talent-spotter will no doubt be delighted with his choice at recruiting Olivier Giroud in June, 2012 for £9.6m as the 27-year-old fulfills a number of roles in Wenger's selection… he is a target-man, a finisher of team-moves and a provider of chances. And, considering Theo Walcott's return, Giroud's positional nous and aerial strength will no doubt be rewarded by one of the few natural wingers Arsenal possess.
In domestic competition alone, Giroud has played a far more prominent part for Arsenal than Gignac has for Marseille. While Gignac would brag a greater minutes per goal ratio, when assists are factored into the equation, it is Giroud who has the better statistic, returning one goal or assist every 95 minutes (see table below).
|Andre Pierre Gignac||653||6||0||109||28||59|
When data from Champions League football alone is collected, Giroud demonstrates that he is able to step-up his game according to the opposition. He has two goals and one assist from four appearances, or 359 minutes, which is a ratio of one goal or assist every 119 minutes. Gignac, meanwhile, is yet to open his European account.
That is not from a lack of trying from the OM man. After all, he has actually made more attempts on goal than Giroud and his influence in the final third is almost directly comparable when it comes to passing and creating key chances, yet his execution has not been as exact as Giroud's.
|Andre Pierre Gignac||189||0||0||N/a||27||189|
For all of the speculation linking Arsenal with a striker when the winter market opens for trading, Giroud remains very much in Wenger's favour as, not only is the striker producing the goods, he is also a rare commodity in the modern era.
'I like his play,' Wenger is quoted by ESPN to have said recently. 'He has improved his link play with the other players, he is dangerous in every single game. Is he the best in his type of play? I like what he does. There is plenty of this type of player [but] you had more before.
'If you go back to the 1960s and '70s and look at the strikers who were good in the air and English, [they were at] every single club. And tell me now today have you got same number? I’m not even talking about quality, but have you got the same number who go in for crosses, go in the air?
'We teach more play on the ground, we have better training pitches. Before, even in the games in the 1950s, you had to lift the ball and bump it forward and you needed somebody who could fight for the ball.
'Today we educate more on the ground. Maybe we pay a bit of a price of having less people who are ready to go for this kind of [aerial] ball.'
image: © wonker