Stats: Where Olivier Giroud must improve for Arsenal this season

The French forward has the ability to lead the Gunners to the Premier League title, but must improve his finishing.

Olivier Giroud heads into the new Premier League season as Arsenal's clear-cut first-choice centre-forward after a successful 2013-14 campaign.

The Frenchman started last season strongly and cemented his place as Arsene Wenger's top striker, netting 16 times in the league and helping the Gunners secure a Champions League place.

But it could have been so much more for both Giroud and Arsenal. The 27-year-old's form tailed off towards the end of the campaogn and he was occasionally replaced by young striker Yaya Sanogo in the starting line-up.

In a campaign filled with so much promise early on, fourth place felt more like a disappointment than an achievement for Arsenal fans.

This year the Gunners are primed for a title challenge, and Giroud figures to be an integral part of the team once again. Statistically, there are a few areas he must improve in 2014-15.

  AppsTouches per gameFlick-onsAccurate flick-onsPass accuracy (%)GoalsGoal Assist
Olivier Giroud 36 48.22 175 59 68.94 16 8

Giroud played a key role as a target man in Arsenal's attack last season. He ranked third in the league in flick-ons, behind Christian Benteke and Peter Crouch, which is no mean feat considering Wenger's teams are traditionally averse to playing the long ball.

His pass accuracy was good for a player who was expected to challenge for high balls and to hold up possession, and his 16 goals tied him for sixth among the Premier League's top scorers. He chipped in with eight assists, fourth among players with over 15 goals.

  AppsTotal shotsShots on targetConversion rate (%)Big chances scoredBig chances missedBig chance conversion rate (%)
Olivier Giroud 36 112 38 14.29 11 20 35.48

Where Giroud clearly needs to improve, however, is in front of goal. His finishing was simply not up to the standard required for one of the league's top centre-forwards, and his conversion rate was well below the likes of Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Sergio Aguero.

More comparable strikers, such as Romelu Lukaku and Wilfried Bony, also converted a higher percentage of their chances than Giroud.

Where the Frenchman really slipped up was when he was presented with a clear-cut scoring opportunity. Of the 31 times he found himself in that situation, he converted only 11 chances, giving him a poor conversion rate of 35.48%.

In comparison, of the 18 players who scored at least 10 goals last season, only Aguero and Benteke converted fewer of these chances. Giroud's teammate Aaron Ramsey, a midfielder by trade, scored over 70% of his clear-cut chances.

Finishing can make or break a striker's season, and Giroud was not so drastically poor in front of goal that it derailed his 2013-14 campaign. He is still one of the most effective strikers in the Premier League, and if he can be more clinical up front next season, then Arsenal could be legitimate title contenders.

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