By Walter Broeckx
To finish this season’s review we will do this with the finishers. The man out there to put the ball in the net. Not that it is their only task of course. Now I could have gone for the left – central – right approach but those who look beyond the ball you should have noticed that our attackers are usually changing positions during matches. Giroud does this the least as he is the best equipped to play the central role with his height. But the other switch flanks a few times during a match. And switch positions when it is needed because of injuries.
So I took all 4 of the players that playes mostly up front in Alexis, Giroud, Walcott and Welbeck. I have tried to highlight some numbers and put them in bold. That is the top score of that stat and of interest. Well I thought that it was of interest because not all is what it seems to be at times.
|74.2%||Passing accuracy opp. half||64.3%||88.6%||80.8%|
|45.9%||Duels won %||44%||34.4%||49.6%|
|28||Aerial Duels won||103||1||39|
|53||Aerial duels lost||100||3||45|
|34.6%||Aerial duels won %||50.7%||25%||46.4%|
|72.5%||Tackles won %||74.1%||–||68.6%|
|184.3||Minutes per goal||133.4||88.2||427.8|
|49||Total shots on target||29||15||23|
|30||Total shots off target||29||5||20|
|15.9%||Successful crosses %||18.2%||25%||20%|
When we look at the games and minutes played our battery charged Chilean running wonder tops the table. It was amazing to see how he kept on running and battling. He had a bit of a little dip but one thing that never stopped was his fighting spirit. A truly remarkable character and player. My boss a big Barcelona supporter was gutted that Barcelona let him go at the time as Alexis was his favourite player. He promised me we wouldn’t be disappointed with him and he sure was right.
A first surprise is if we look at the passing accuracy. Theo Walcott was the one with the highest score. Welbeck ends second in this and then we find Alexis. Giroud is the player with the lowest passing accuracy of the 4.
One thing that was even more surprising to me was the fact that if we only look at the passing accuracy in the opposition half Theo is again the top scorer but his score even goes up! And that is the first time I have seen this in this reviews. An amazing thing.
When it comes to duels won we see that the best striker on this was Welbeck with just under 50% of his duels won. Second in this table is Alexis. In third place we find Giroud and then we find Walcott. The 4th place of Walcott is not that strange I think. We don’t think of Walcott and duels in the same sentence most of the time.
When it comes to aerial duels won we see the same picture. The two tallest strikers close to the 50% margin with Giroud just over it and Welbeck close under it. Alexis despite being 1cm smaller than Messi still manages to win 34.6% of his aerial duels. Amazing. Theo is not the greatest header and wins only 25% of his aerial duels.
As we go to the recoveries we see that Alexis is the best. He had most recoveries in numbers but also in recoveries in 90 minutes. Alexis makes 5.7 of them on average with Welbeck in second place with 4.05. Giroud and Walcott come to half of them. Given his speed it is something on which Walcott should score higher I think but maybe his low score is perhaps down to not being completely fit and ready
Passing on to the tackles we can say that Theo doesn’t do tackles. He never was a major tackler and given his injury he probably is not yet over the mental hurdle. Giroud shows his battling quality with most tackles won by the forwards with 74.1%. Alexis just behind him with 72.5%. And Welbeck also rather close with 68.6%. So we got a few tacklers upfront but Theo is not one of them.
Looking at interceptions we see that Welbeck was the best in that department with 1.5 interceptions on average per 90 minutes. Alexis in second place with Theo coming third. Giroud is the least effective when it comes to intercepting the ball. To be good at it you need some pace and Giroud being the slowest so no real surprise here.
Alexis and Giroud being the hardest battlers also making most fouls of the Arsenal strikers and get a few yellow and Giroud even a red card when he retaliated after being pushed in to the keeper in a dangerous way. Theo is the gentleman we have learned to know over the years.
Goals. Finally. The goals! If we look only at the total goals we see that Alexis scored 16 goals in the PL and Giroud 14. Theo scored 5 goals and Welbeck 4 in the PL.
But when we look at the minutes played we can see who was the most effective striker and then we see that Walcott scored a goal every 88 minutes. One goal per match. In second place we then have Giroud with 133 minutes for a goal needed. Alexis scored a goal every 184 minutes. And Welbeck scored a goal every 427 minutes. So taking in account the minutes played it was Theo who was the best finisher in the PL for Arsenal.
[Just for the record, Henry’s record in the Premier League across all his time at Arsenal, was one goal every 131 minutes – Tony]
And if we then look at the shooting accuracy we see that Theo again has the highest score with 75% of his shots on target. In second place we have Alexis with 62%. Welbeck is in third place with 53% and Giroud has only a shooting accuracy of 50%.
When we move on to crosses we see that it is Theo again who is the best crosser with 25% of his crosses reaching a team mate. Welbeck in second place and Giroud even does better than Alexis in this department.
What is also important is to create chances of course. And in this department Alexis creates 2.47 chances per match. Welbeck comes in second place with 1.5 chance per match. Giroud comes third with 1.39 and Theo finishes last in this part of the game.
But to know the total importance of a striker apart from his goals we also have to include the assists. And when we add the goals and assists and count them on a 90 minute base we get a goal involvement for each striker. When I did this I found that Theo still was the most effective goal involved striker with a goal involvement every 88 minutes. Giroud is in second place with one goal involvement every 109 minutes. Alexis then has a goal involvement every 122 minutes. And finally Danny Welbeck has a goal involvement every 244 minutes.
Now I did another exercise for the strikers. Because, let’s face it, Alexis can dribble the whole defence then gives a ball to another striker who just has to tap it in but the striker misses for some reason. That should have been an assist if it wouldn’t have been for the mistake of his partner. So creating chances is also something that has to be taken in to account, I thought.
And so I recalculated the whole thing with goals, assist and chances created. And then looked at the minutes played and so I calculated the ‘possible goal involvement’ of the 4 strikers. And then I found this.
Alexis is involved in a PGI every 28 minutes. Giroud is involved in a PGI every 40 minutes. Welbeck every 46 minutes and Walcott every 49 minutes.
So what does this teach us? All and nothing I would say.
It tells us most and for all that all our strikers have different attributes which they use. Theo is the best finisher and with him completely fit for the pre-season I really look forward to him delivering more goals and getting back to his assist qualities that he had before his injury when he was having most assists for 2 seasons I think.
It also shows us that Alexis is not the most clinical finisher but that because of his work and power he creates most of the dangerous situations of all our attackers. And that Giroud and Welbeck are useful in their own way. Giroud with his strength and battling and tackling and very decent finishing. Welbeck in his first season with ups and downs but in some stats he really was excellent. If Wenger can show him how to finish better we are looking at some attack. And if there is one manager who can create finishers it is Wenger.
I know that I am looking forward to see our strikers develop. Theo completely fit, Welbeck having a normal pre season with us, Giroud not injured and Alexis just being Alexis. That gives us height, power, finishing, speed, finesse…
I like it.
Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910