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Olivier Giroud a Flop? No, statistically one of the best in Premier League!

  ‘Olivier Giroud after  only 3 months in England is already the second most effective striker in the Premier League so far this season.’ Here goes Dave again off on one of his over optimistic rants, trying to defend Wenger’s bargain baseme...

Olivier Giroud after  only 3 months in England is already the second most effective striker in the Premier League so far this season.’

I never held with any of the early season knee jerk fan or media reaction. I had watched him for Montpelier and suggested a year ago this month that Wenger should sign him as the long term successor to RVP. His movement is top draw both for himself and in his awareness of pulling defenders and making space for colleagues. His finishing, so emphatic in Ligue 1, was always there and once he found his feet, was bound to return. In addition, certainly at Arsenal we expect our strikers to contribute in the final third as creators of goals and well as finishers of goal. Giroud, like Henry, Bergkamp and van Persie before him, has this firmly in his locker. Last season whilst topping the scoring charts in France with 21 league goals, he contributed a healthy 9 assists. This incidentally was the 6th best in Ligue 1 and 5 more than his team mate, who so many Gunners pine for, Belhanda. In fact in winning the league, Montpelier scored 68 times with Olivier having a direct hand in 30 of them (44%.)

However the statement I made at the outset was a bold one and no mistake. I have him as the 2ndmost effective striker in the EPL to date this season. Given how may top attackers we have in our league, this might seem an outrageous claim and you may be right, but cut it any way you like, you can judge a striker by goals scored or goals created, whilst on the pitch, This last part is key as it is a tad tricky to score or assist from the stands or bench, I find!

So first I wish to assess which of the EPL’s top striking talent claim the honours so far this season in relation to goal contribution per minute on the pitch in all club football,  league, Europe and Capitol One Cup.

Premier League StrikerClub Minutes  on pitch 2012/13Club Goals 2012/13Minutes per Goal
Dzeko643791
Van Persie113611114
Suarez133111121
Ba9667138
Defoe11718146
GIROUD8986149
Jelavic8455169
Fletcher9145182
Torres15347219
Aguero8113270
Tevez11804295
Rooney9143304

Fairly clear results tell us that Dzeko is easily the most potent finisher from the Premier League so far in 2012/13. He has scored virtually a goal a game in terms of his ration to minutes on the pitch. This is even more impressive given so many of the minutes are coming on as a substitute. The next 5 names are fairly high profile strikers and our own hotshot Olivier Giroud comes in nicely at No.6, hitting the back of the net every 149 minutes, considerably better then what is deemed a top class ratio of a goal every other game. It is interesting to see that Tevez, Rooney and Aguero are currently all worse than a goal every 3 matches ratio. I am sure players of this quality will come good but I have not seen the headlines criticizing these guys lack of contribution for the 2 Manchester sides.

However as I hinted earlier, having a pure finisher is not the Arsenal or certainly the Wenger way. For me, this would explain his lack of interest potentially in Huntelaar? No, at the Emirates we expect more from our strikers so all round contribution to team build up play and assists as crucial.

This next table therefore adds in goal creation to the equation and effectively combines goals and assists to measure how often a striker makes a game changing/telling  contribution for his club.

Premier League StrikerClub Minutes  on pitch 2012/13Club Goals 2012/13Club Assists 2012/13Minutes per telling contribution
Van Persie113611475.73
Dzeko11367180.37
Giroud8986489.8
Rooney9143791.40
Suarez1331112100
Defoe117182117
Ba96670138
Jelavic84551140.83
Tevez118043168.57
Fletcher91450182
Torres153471191.75
Aguero81131202.75

The above, I hope, clearly demonstrates that so far this season in which I only see Giroud improving, as his compatriots like Pires and Henry did coming to England, Olivier is already extremely effective where it counts. He is one of only 3 players, the other being RVP and Dzeko, who has scored or created a goal at a better rate than one per 90 minutes ratio. There is no fudging of the figures here to make him look good and I have not left anyone obvious out. I could have included midfielders such as Mata, Nolan and Fellaini, but I am comparing front line strikers.

So the only other factor which I thought might be interesting to add into the picture would be the cost of the players concerned, or at least the relative transfer market value. I hope the below table suggests that despite not spending the huge money Wenger perhaps has at his disposal, he has at least on the face of it spent £13 million very wisely.

Premier League StrikerMarket Value  (www.transfermarket.co.uk)
Wayne Rooney£65,000,000
Kun Aguero£45,000.000
Robin van Persie£38,000,000 (Odd!)
Fernando Torres£35,000.000
Edin Dzeko£25,500,000
Luiz Suarez£25,500,000
Carlos Tevez£20,000,000
Demba Ba£13,000,000
Olivier Giroud£13,000,000
Steven Fletcher£10,500,000
Jermaine Defoe£10,000,000
Nikaca Jelavic£9,000,000

So there you have what I hope is a fairly enlightening piece which heartens you ahead of a huge weekend for the club, facing the old enemy at the Emirates. In February, the heroics of a team under pressure and 2 nil down revived and energised our season and sent us on a long run of top form.

I have a sneaky feeling that Olivier Giroud many well be the next Frenchman with a penchant for scoring against our North London neighbours.  Well Olivier, if I am right you need 8 ‘mon ami’ to match Gooner legend ‘Alan Alan Sunderland,’ and overtake Bobby Pires on 7 North London derby strikes.

Gooner ”Hair’ Legend Alan Sunderland holds the goals record v Spurs

Of course we are only 3 months in to his Arsenal career but even his sternest critics, and there were many of you, must admit that the signs are positive. I have followed and watched him longer than some,  and so far nothing has suggested to me that Wenger has done anything other than secure a top talent at a fabulously low price. We will know in May whether I am right or wrong, but in the context of some of the inflated transfer deals we have seen in the past 2 years the smart money says…

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