With Mourinho moaning about a lack of forwards and Arsenal famously having just one, let’s assess whether the strikers made the difference this season.
Both those sides, Manchester City and Liverpool, finished in the top two positions in the league, with third placed Chelsea only reaching 71, and fourth placed Arsenal finishing 68 times. Coincidentally, these four sides finished up in the order of goals scored, highest to lowest. This would suggest that, as has been alluded to during previous seasons, whichever team scores the most wins the league!
With this mind, let’s have a look at each of the top four in striking terms.
|Sergio Agüero||Man City||FW||17|
|Edin Dzeko||Man City||FW||16|
|Álvaro Negredo||Man City||FW||9|
|Stevan Jovetic||Man City||FW||
Total: 45 of 102 goals (41%)
Total: 52 of 101 goals (51%)
Total: 19 of 71 goals (27%)
Total: 17 of 68 goals (25%)
As we can see, both Liverpool and City had forwards totalling around half of their huge goal tallies. If we removed the strikers contributions altogether, we can see that, with the slight exception of Manchester City who had 20 goal midfielder Yaya Touré, all sides scored a similar figure. This again strongly suggests that those who have the highest scoring forwards ultimately win.
This leads me to question why Wenger didn’t do everything within his power to sign a forward during his two windows of opportunity. The Arsenal manager would have been privy to higher analytical means than I, and yet still Giroud was left alone to shoulder the goalscoring responsibility.
These stats suggest what everyone assumed - that if Arsenal had signed a striker to contribute even just ten more goals, they would have most probably finished in a superior position.
As for Chelsea, Mourinho’s whining grows old fast. He was quick to ridicule his leading-men for not scoring as frequently as perhaps they should. However, public derision probably wasn’t the most astute motivational tactic, and Mourinho himself independently shipped out 32-goal-in-66-game striker Romelu Lukaku so must foot some of the blame for his first finish outside of the top two.
Liverpool fielded just two strikers all season and still managed a return of 51 goals between them. They will have to strengthen their options if serious about a title challenge next season, as for both forwards to continue with such scintillating runs of form is improbable.