In terms of defining moments in the title race, the contest is as big as they come for each side and nothing should be left in reserve with victory absolutely vital in the pursuit of glory.
Over the course of the campaign much of the background noise surrounding each camp has concerned the men upfront, an overworked Olivier Giroud’s pedigree questioned as Jose Mourinho has rotated the suspect trio of Samuel Eto’o, Demba Ba and Fernando Torres.
Eto’o should get the nod for the weekend’s massive encounter after scoring against Galatasaray midweek whilst his French counterpart will lead the line for Arsenal this side of a shock start for Yaya Sanogo.
So with the fate of the clubs’ title charges set to be in the balance in west London come Saturday, let’s take a look at how Eto’o and Giroud stack up statistically.
Goals and shooting
|Name||Team||Goals||mins / Goal||Big Chance Missed||Shot Accuracy||Mins|
Giroud comes out on top in the purest and most defining measure of a forward, with 12 goals to his name as Eto’o has hit seven.
However, the France international has played nearly 1200 more minutes than the Cameroonian this term, and has indeed been a far less efficient force than the former Inter man.
On average, Eto’o has hit the back of the net every 168 minutes as Giroud has posted a mean of approximately 195 minutes between strikes.
This phenomenon can be attributed in part to the Chelsea player’s markedly superior shot accuracy rate of 44.9%, dwarfing Giroud’s wasteful 31.3% clip.
Yet most damning for Arsenal’s summer 2012 signing from Montpellier is the fact that he’s spurned a conspicuous 15 big chances, five having passed by on Eto’o’s part.
|Name||Team||Total Contest||Won Contest||Was Fouled||mins / Dispossessed||Mins|
Neither Giroud nor Eto’o - particularly at his age - is the type of striker to run at defenders with the ball to trouble them.
In turn it’s not surprising to see that both are relatively unsuccessful in the dribble, though it would be unfair to say that beating a man with skill is beyond them.
The Frenchman is disposed to holding up play with his strength to allow team-mates to get forward on the overlap, leading to a great deal of fouls committed on him, Eto’o preferring to make clever incisive runs and use his guile to work space.
On the whole, Giroud has seen the ball taken off him more than the Chelsea man but boasts a better dispossession rate of once per 38.9 minutes, even given his decidedly physical style of play.
Neither striker is relied upon heavily as a creative outlet with talented attacking tridents to support them, but nonetheless have the potential to prove decisive in this regard.
Giroud leads Saturday’s adversary in total key passes, though Eto’o has set his team-mates into scoring positions with greater regularity based on his inferior number of minutes.
Still, the Arsenal man has made far and away more assists with seven to the Careroonian’s two, more inclined to participate in build-up play in having racked up 149 accurate layoffs to Eto’o’s comparatively paltry 13.
|Name||Team||Ontarget Att Assist||Goal Assist||Accurate Layoffs||Mins|
Quite simply, the two are differing breeds of strikers.
Giroud most often plays with his back to goal, creating the platform for his support to take up positions and serving as a target man in the area.
Meanwhile, Eto’o is less confrontational with defenders and looks to make use of a more clinical edge to take his chances when latching on to the end of cutting passes.
Regardless of a departure in style, both have had their critics but will have a golden opportunity to silence doubters at Stamford Bridge.
And the better of the two may just play a defining role in determining the outcome of the title - certainly something that could take precedence over the question surrounding their viability this term.