Before his nodded goal struck at a vital moment during Arsenal's slim 1-0 victory over Newcastle United on Sunday, December 29 - a win that saw the Gunners return to the Premier League's summit with a half-season now completed - Olivier Giroud's status as Arsene Wenger's primary attacking weapon had come under scrutiny by Piers Morgan, but is the CNN host right?
Giroud hasn't scored since Nov 23. His drought is now becoming a big problem. #Afc— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 29, 2013
Giroud needs to work out, as I had to, that you can't succeed purely on good looks. #Afc— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 29, 2013
The Giroud issue right there...took his goal well, then missed a game-winning sitter in ludicrous fashion. #Afc— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 29, 2013
In all competitions to date this season (Champions League qualifiers included), Giroud has participated in 27 matches, in 2,258 minutes and has returned 11 goals and six assists, which translates to an attacking efficiency of one goal/assist every 132 minutes.
In Premier League competition alone, the 27-year-old has scored eight goals, but one of those was struck from the spot. His shooting accuracy is also a hair under 40%.
Recruiting a player of the calibre of Luis Suarez (one goal/assist every 43 mins), or Sergio Aguero (every 55 mins), in the middle of the current season is either considerably unlikely or downright preposterous, but how does Giroud compare against the strikers Wenger has been linked with signing when the winter transfer market opens for trading?
Romania forward Ciprian Marica, of Getafe, has returned one goal every 551 minutes of Primera Division football in Spain - a ratio considerably inferior to Giroud in North London.
£10.5m-rated Brazilian, Alex Pato, returned a healthy ten goals from 27 matches in the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A, but this still falls short of Giroud's efficiency as the former AC Milan hauled in an average of one goal every 166 minutes for Corinthians.
With 18 total goals and assists for Real Madrid in both La Liga and Champions League competition, accomplished forward Karim Benzema appears a viable target and, unlike Pato or Marica, actually betters Giroud's statistics as the Los Blancos hotshot affects the scoreline once every 92 minutes, near enough every game on average, inclusive of injury time.
Would Benzema be the answer? Could Karim help shoulder the goal-scoring burden?
image: © ronnie macdonald