Arsenal welcome Liverpool to the Emirates Stadium at lunchtime on Saturday with the two club's both challenging for a top-four spot. This clash will see some of the Premier League's best players pitting their talents against one another.
Olivier Giroud is perhaps the Premier League's most in-form striker to date. The Gunners striker heads into Saturday's tie having been recognised as the top-flight's best player in March. He has been exceptional in recent weeks, scoring five goals and providing one assist in just four appearances. Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge, meanwhile, has scored just twice in the same period.
With the weekend encounter boasting such high stakes, both Giroud and Sturridge will be heavily relied upon by their respective sides. Considering the quality on show, this tie is likely to be won or lost by the smallest of margins, and ultimately the end result could be decided by who takes their chances best.
|Team||Goals per game||Shots on target per game||Assists per game||Key Passes per game||Conversion Rate (%)||Aerial Duels won per game||Touches per game||Appearances|
In terms of the past two season's statistics, there is little to split between the duo. Having scored 25 goals in 40 appearances, compared to Giroud's combined tally of 27 goals in 55, Sturridge just edges the competition when it comes to his goal output per appearance. However, the Frenchman holds a slight advantage in terms of his creative contribution for the Gunners.
Considering the fact that many people have questioned Giroud's ability in the past, it's testament to the Frenchman that the statistics are even comparable to one of the most highly coveted centre forwards in the country. Sturridge is widely regarded as the key man at Anfield - until relatively recently few would have said the same about Giroud in North London.
The Arsenal striker's unconventional style of play sees him far more involved in his side's displays - he is the focal point of the Gunners' front line and an attacking outlet at all times. Having averaged 46.2 touches and 4.02 successful aerial duels per game he is far superior to his Liverpool counterpart in these key attacking areas.
Where Sturridge thrives in a fast pace counter-attacking system - a style of play Brendan Rodgers has built his side upon - Giroud's success is more heavily based on the technical side of his game. Having said this, the stats suggest that the duo's differing styles are equally effective.
It is a difficult task choosing between the duo, but the home advantage for Arsenal could see Giroud emerge superior.