Should Arsenal have held on to Chamakh? Comparison to Giroud...

Chamakh Palace

Former Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh is slowly rediscovering his form and confidence at Selhust Park under Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis but will the Gunners live to regret selling the ‘flop’ forward?

The 30-year-old Moroccan international left the Emirates in the summer after three painful years in which he rarely made the bench, never mind the pitch under Arsene Wenger.

The French boss had his reasons – the former Ligue 1 striker had impressed upon his arrival in 2010 but scored just one goal in the Premier League between in two years since 2011.

After going out on loan at West Ham last term he was finally moved on by Wenger to Crystal Palace whom, under new leadership from Tony Pulis, are winning their fight for survival so far.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the table, the Gunners sit in 2nd place behind Chelsea following their 0-0 draw with Manchester United on Wednesday and their disappointing 5-1 thrashing at Anfield last weekend – in both games current first-choice centre-forward Olivier Giroud missed some decent chances and failed to make himself effective in the final third.

Comparing the two strikers, one might be inclined to suggest either Arsenal should have kept Chamakh or Giroud needs to improve considerably. They have made exactly the same number of appearances, 24, with Chamakh coming on in three of those as a substitute and Giroud starting all his.

PlayerTeamGoals AssistAerial Won / appsWon Contest / appsWon Tackle / appsDispossessed / appsShot Accuracy %AppsMins
Olivier Giroud Arsenal 10 6 4.29 0.67 0.63 2.29 29.49 24 2,064
Marouane Chamakh Crystal Palace 5 1 5.25 0.79 1.42 1.75 57.14 24 1,811

Giroud has scored twice as many goals as Chamakh, 10 to the Moroccan’s five, and made six assists to Chamakh’s one so far this term but, there is, of course, reason to assert that Arsenal are a better team that create more chances, take more possession and possess more quality overall than Palace. If you can exclude the goals and assists – the production stats – looking at the performance stats, Chamakh is more effective than Giroud.

Chamakh, even with Palace and their generally lower passing success compared to Arsenal, has a higher pass completion rate – his is 70.2% to Giroud’s 67.4% so far. The two players have a very similar average number of passes per game so the percentages are over much the same number of passes with Chamakh making the slightly fewer 29 passes per game to Giroud’s 32.

They also complete much the same number of key passes with Giroud just slightly ahead on 26 key passes so far in total to Chamakh’s 24. There’s not much in it, despite the fact Arsenal have enjoyed an average of 57% possession in the league this season and Crystal Palace have the lowest possession in the league of just 38.6%.

Chamakh is also superior in the air to the Frenchman, winning 53.7% of his aerial duels to Giroud’s 52.5%. Chamakh wins an average of 5.2 aerial duels per game to Giroud’s 4.3 per game.

He is also more successful with his dribbles and take ons – Chamakh has successfully dribbled past an opponent on 19 occasions this term to Giroud’s 16 and, furthermore, been dispossessed less. Chamakh has been dispossessed by a player of the opposition 42 times this term to Giroud’s 55 times, averaging 1.8 time per game for Chamakh and 2.3 times per game for his Gunners counterpart.

Meanwhile, Giroud’s work defensively this season for Arsenal has definitely seen the Gunners improve their record at the back with Wojceich Szczesny keeping 11 clean sheets so far but Giroud still doesn’t work as hard as Chamakh who has made almost twice the number of tackles – 43 to Giroud’s 23 – as well as more clearances and interceptions.

But, above all of these stats, the one that perhaps counts the most for a striker who is expected to score goals and finish off attacking phases of play, the most alarming statistic Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger should be looking at is that Olivier Giroud’s shot accuracy rate is just 38% at present.

Of the 61 attempts on goal the Frenchman has had this term, 23 of them have been on target and just 43% of those have resulted in a goal. Marouane Chamakh has a shot accuracy rate of 57% on target and of those on target 62.5% of them have resulted in a goal for Crystal Palace.

images: © Ronmacphotos

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