Giroud 2013 v Welbeck 2014 - Which Arsenal striker had better start to the season?

Olivier Giroud and Mathieu Debuchy

With Olivier Giroud back in action for Arsenal, can he usurp Danny Welbeck in the striker role?

Arsenal have been dealt a massive boost today with the news that Olivier Giroud has been passed fit for the game with Manchester United this weekend.

The Frenchman has been out of action since breaking a bone in his leg against Everton back in August. In that game he showed off his importance to the team with the equalising goal in the 90th minute.

But Arsenal did not stand still in the transfer market after the injury to Giroud. Instead they snapped up Danny Welbeck from Manchester United in a £16 million deal in September.

Welbeck has been impressive since his arrival at the club so will Giroud be able to nudge him out of the starting line-up. 

To have a look at a comparison between the pair it is easy to see that the difference between each is marginal. If you look at Giroud's form from the 1st September to the 20th November 2013 compared to Welbeck in the same period this year the differences are small.

  PositionTeamGoalsAssistShots on  goalShot Off TargetAppearancesMins Played
Olivier Giroud

FW

Arsenal      3 4 32 15 9 792
  PositionTeamGoalsAssistShots on goalShot Off TargetAppearancesMins Played
Danny Welbeck  FW

Arsenal 

 

2 2 26 10 8 696

Giroud appears to come out the better, with more goals, assists and shots. But he also played more minutes, the difference between the pair is small.

The main bonus of having Giroud back is depth. Arsenal have struggled without that extra man on the bench for much of the season.

The chances are, as time goes by, it will be a battle between Giroud and Welbeck to see who starts with Alexis Sanchez. Because the Chilean's record in the same time period is frightening:

  PositionTeamGoalsAssistsShots On GoalShot Off TargetAppearancesMins Played
Alexis Sánchez FW Arsenal 7 1 22 4 7 556

This weekend will have come too soon for a Giroud start, but in the future it would appear that he has a abttle on his hands to usurp the superior Alexis and the similar Welbeck from the starting XI.

Or Wenger could play all three.

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