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October 2016
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“Arsenal don’t shoot enough and urgently need a new centre forward of merit.”


By Tony Attwood

Arsenal, as we all know, are rubbish at attacking. We know it because it is in the press, and have heard it in the ground.  And as for social media, well…

Here are our goal scorers for the season just gone.

Name Premier League FA Cup Champions League Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Mesut Özil 35 6 1 0 8 2 45 8
Olivier Giroud 26 (12) 16 4 (1) 3 5 (2) 5 37 (16) 24
Theo Walcott 15 (13) 5 3 (2) 2 3 (3) 2 22 (20) 9
Aaron Ramsey 29 (2) 5 0 (2) 1 3 (2) 0 34 (6) 6
Alexis Sánchez 28 (2) 13 2 (1) 1 7 3 37 (4) 17

So how does this compare with the rest of the top clubs?  This original list comes from World Football – I have added a few more columns for the sake of this analysis…

# Player Team Goals (Pen) Lge pos Cuml Club tot % Goal pos
1. Harry Kane Tottenham 25 (5) 3 25 69 36 2
2. Kun Agüero Man City 24 (4) 4 24 71 33 1
Jamie Vardy Leicester City 24 (5) 1 41 68 35 3
4. Romelu Lukaku Everton FC 18 (1) 11 18 59 30 7
5. Riyad Mahrez Leicester City 17 (4) (1) (41) (68) 25 (3)
6. Olivier Giroud Arsenal FC 16 (1) 2 29 65 24 4
Odion Ighalo Watford FC 16 (0) 13 29 40 40 15
8. Jermain Defoe Sunderland 15 (1) 17 15 48 31 10
9. Troy Deeney Watford FC 13 (6) (13) (29) (40) 33 (15)
Alexis Sánchez  Arsenal FC 13 (0) (2) (29) (65) 20 (4)

In the table above I have listed the ten top scorers in Premier League matches in the season.  Three clubs, Leicester, Arsenal and Watford have two players in the list so after recording the player and his total I have given the club listings in brackets for the second player to reflect that they are duplicating an entry.

League position: there is a general tendency to have clubs with a top scorer near the top of the list (the top four in the league are all represented in the top 10 scorers) but after the top four it is a bit random – the other clubs in the list came 11th, 13th and 17th.

Cumulative: adding together the total of the two players where a club had two players in the top 10.  Leicester is a mile out in front in terms of goals, followed by Arsenal and Watford, 12 goals behind.   So clearly, having two goalscorers in the nation’s top 10 for league goals is a good idea as you would expect.

Percentage: What percentage of the club’s league goals did this player score?  Most of these players scored between 31% and 36% of the club’s goals.  Ighalo got 40% of Watford’s goals, stressing how lost they would have been without him.

Club total number of goals: this is the key point.  How does having one or two of the top scorers in the country affect the total number of goals scored?  The fact that Watford, with two top ten strikers was still 15th in the overall goal total in the league, begins to give us a clearer picture of what was going on here.

So is having a top striker better for the club?

Only up to a point.  Clearly the more goals the better – but… Leicester had two players who between them got 60% of their goals.  Arsenal had two players who between them got 44% of the club’s goals.  Tottenham had one player who got 36% of the club’s goals.

This might seem attractive, but just consider what happens if any of these players get injured or lose their form.  Indeed what would have happened to Leicester if both of their top forwards had got injured?  Probably mid-table or worse.

Suddenly the issue of having a top scorer in the club is reversed – if no one is ready to step up instantly, the goal scoring vanishes and there is a danger.

This was always the worry about Thierry Henry – what would happen if he got a long term injury?  It was hard to bring through a second striker who could not play in the team when he was playing, as he would hardly get a game, because Henry missed so few matches – which is why we were so successful during the early Wenger years.

But let’s come back to the brown column in the table and consider the number of goals scored by the top teams.   The league table in goal scoring order for the end of last season read like this

Clubs Goals For Lge pos Top scorer
Manchester City 71 4 24
Tottenham Hotspur 69 3 25
Leicester City 68 1 24
Arsenal 65 2 16
State Aid United 65 7 9*

*Andy Carroll

In short the notion of one, or better still, two top strikers is clearly a bonus, but placing a huge emphasis on them is, it seems, no more a solution that buying a big name player or changing the manager.  It can help, but quite often it doesn’t.  And for getting into the top five as State Aid Utd show, you hardly need a top scorer at all.

Arsenal scored three goals fewer than the champions this last season, and yes, if we had scored just half a dozen more in the right games it would have helped our league position.

But the more and more of these analyses we do (big money transfers, new manager, buy a top scorer) we find that although each factor can help SOMETIMES they are never a complete guarantee.  In fact there are no simple answers.

Indeed this is why our recent analysis on Concrete Thinking and Abstract Thinking (Can possible reasons for unsupported opinions be understood, explained and contribute anything to Untold Arsenal?) and the follow up A new view as to why the media insist on ignoring the key issues in football day after day after day have some importance here.   Simple answers (like the concrete thinkers on social media, broadcast media and the press deliver) are only the right answers in a small number of cases.

These simplistic views which state there is one simple answer (new goal scorer, big transfer, new manager) are just that – simplistic views.   Yes Leicester got it just right with two very good goalscorers who stayed fit most of the season, but in the end they still only scored a few more goals than Arsenal.

So now let’s try it again with shots on target.

The absolute complete and total winner here is Tottenham Hotspur who got 250 shots on target in the season.  That’s 19% more than Arsenal in second place.  But all those extra shots on target resulted in just four more goals.  Four more goals from 40 more shots on target.   Indeed Man City got more goals than Tottenham and Man City like Arsenal had 40 fewer shots on target.   These figures once again come from the excellent Footstas website.

Clubs in terms of Shots on target

Lge pos Team Played Shots On target Goals
3 Tottenham 38 661 250 69
Arsenal 38 572 210 65
4 Man City 38 612 210 71
8 Liverpool 38 629 203 63
7 West Ham 38 556 184 65
1 Leicester 38 523 181 68
11 Everton 38 492 175 59
10 Chelsea 38 526 173 59
6 Southampton 38 519 169 59
15 Crystal Palace 38 466 152 39
18 Newcastle 38 398 152 44
16 Bournemouth 38 463 144 45
17 Sunderland 38 439 143 48
5 Man United 38 430 143 49
13 Watford 38 445 136 40
12 Swansea 38 442 136 42
9 Stoke 38 418 130 41
19 Norwich 38 416 126 39
20 Aston Villa 38 368 111 27
14 West Brom 38 384 106 34

If I take the same table and run it just in terms of shots (remembering that many people have written and said in the past year that Arsenal are goal shy and simply can’t or won’t shoot) we find this.


Lge Pos Team
All Shots Shots On Target Goals
3 Tottenham Hotspur 661 250 69
8 Liverpool 629 203 63
4 Manchester City 612 210 71
2 Arsenal 572 210 65
7 State Aid United 556 184 65
10 Chelsea 526 173 59
1 Leicester City 523 181 68

Now this surely is interesting.  Leicester who won the league so convincingly came 10th in the shots table.  Leicester had 138 shots fewer than Tottenham, the great shooting kings of the League last season.

Once again the point is proven: there are no simple answers.  Indeed one might say, beware of people with simple answers.

I am going to finish with one point that will delight everyone who has written to Untold saying either “you can prove anything with statistics” or “there are lies, damn lies, and statistics”.

My answer has always been that this is wrong.  If the statistics are accurately presented, and the person writing the analysis is honest, these statements are not aphorisms but old wives tales.

This final table shows the clubs in a very specific order: the number of times a shot on target turned into a goal.   So Leicester scored 68 goals, and it took them 181 shots on target to do so.  In other words 37.57% of their shots on target turned into goals.  They ended up top of the league and top of the efficiency league in terms of turning shots on target into goals.

Arsenal took 19 more shots on target but scored three fewer goals.  Their conversion rate was 30.95% – so about 6% worse, but Arsenal end up 13th in the table analysing shots on target into goals.

Lge Pos Team
Total %
Shots On Target Goals %on Target %Goals
1 Leicester 523 181 68 34.61 37.57
7 West Ham 556 184 65 33.09 35.33
6 Southampton 519 169 59 32.56 34.91
5 Man United 430 143 49 33.26 34.27
10 Chelsea 526 173 59 32.89 34.10
4 Man City 612 210 71 34.31 33.81
11 Everton 492 175 59 35.57 33.71
17 Sunderland 439 143 48 32.57 33.57
14 West Brom 384 106 34 27.60 32.08
9 Stoke 418 130 41 31.10 31.54
16 Bournemouth 463 144 45 31.10 31.25
8 Liverpool 629 203 63 32.27 31.03
2 Arsenal 572 210 65 36.71 30.95
19 Norwich 416 126 39 30.29 30.95
12 Swansea 442 136 42 30.77 30.88
13 Watford 445 136 40 30.56 29.41
18 Newcastle 398 152 44 38.19 28.95
3 Tottenham 661 250 69 37.82 27.60
15 Crystal Palace 466 152 39 32.62 25.66
20 Aston Villa 368 111 27 30.16 24.32

The table shows something even stranger – Tottenham, so wildly applauded by the media in terms of the efficiency of its forward line turns out to be one of the least apt at turning shots on target into goals.

My point in including this table is to conclude my general thesis – that simplistic answers, such as buy a new striker, or make the strikers more accurate, in addition to get a new manager or shoot more, are just that: simplistic answers.   The manager’s refusal, if it is that, to sign a new striker, or perhaps the obstinacy that leads him not to do what everyone says he should do, is actually none of these things at all but is in fact a clear understanding of which statistics influence league position.

If we were to take the table above as representative of reasons why teams win or fail to win, Tottenham should have called their much lauded forwards in for endless extra training to show him and his fellows how to beat a goalkeeper.

No, the starting point should clearly be the much more obvious factors such as…

  • How many goals did the team score and how to increase this very slightly?
  • If we brought in a new centre forward, would that diminish the goal scoring of Alexis because it would force a different mode of playing?
  • If we brought in a new centre forward, would he be one of the 25% who make an immediate impact, or one of the 50% who take a year or two to come to the boil, or one of the 25% who simply never make it, despite their price tag?

That is the sort of thinking that is needed – for the simple reason that it reflects the reality of contemporary football.

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47 comments to “Arsenal don’t shoot enough and urgently need a new centre forward of merit.”

  • nicky

    What the statistics do not show are those players in Arsenal’s attack who favour shooting at any opportunity.
    Alexis is a clear example.
    I sometimes feel that our fast, close passing game up against massed defences simply does not lend itself to shooting opportunities.

  • G Arrow

    With all due respect it seams to me that all you’ve succeeded in proving here is that certain questions require only simple answers. Will Luis Suarez improve Arsenal’s goal haul? Yes. Simple.

  • GoonerDNA

    I don’t need to see the stats to know Giroud isn’t the best striker IF anything it’s Ozil stats which show we should be scoring more.

    Let’s answer your last questions quickly – Welbeck is our newest striker in our team I’m only focusing on The mighty Arsenal as each team is unique other teams stats DON’T APPLY

    Second question regarding Alexis – tbh if we’re winning more games because of a new striker then I don’t really care if Alexis is scoring less and I bet my left b…….. that Alexis cares more about winning then scoring.

    Third question: Change is progression in any form, Wenger would agree hence why he’s going sign a striker and act like its about Welbeck’s injury when really he’s had enough of Giroud.

    Gooner for life!!!!!

  • Josif


    Alexis actually scores fewer goals when Giroud is on the pitch. Alexis’ best performances where the ones with Theo on the pitch (United at home, Leicester away) and most of his goals in 2014-15 were scored while Giroud was injured. It’s quite logical if you consider Carlo Garganese’s notion when Alexis signed: “Alexis needs space, not player in front of him.” Giroud is a target man with far less mobility than, say, Danny or Theo. Alexis likes to use space to release one of his powerful shoots.

    Arsenal need a new striker, a world-class finisher who will score 20 goals in the league. Giroud had four seasons to prove he is one and he didn’t do that despite having creators like Santi and Ozil to help his case. Also, he is a very unreliable striker as he regularly goes AWOL in terms of goal-scoring which usually coincides with the failure of our title challenge. He went 15 league matches without a goal.

    I think he can be a perfect super-sub though or, to use that corny phrase, he can be our plan B.

    To the certain extent, same goes for Theo except Theo can play on the wing.

  • doc

    Quite interesting. I also would have like to the see the number of blocked shot included if the could be found.

  • XX

    This is crazy!! Big teams win the premier league and champions league. Arsenal have never won the Champions league and last won the league 12 years ago. Bad strikers, like Giroud, will never win Arsenal the league no matter what your over- the-top analysis say. Wenger should sign a new striker and central defender. Full stop.

  • Mad Eye

    Interesting analysis. I was pondering this after the villa game. By 75 mins when it was still 1-0 and we were dominating possession I and others around me were getting very frustrated with lack of final product and apparent unwillingness to shoot in good but not perfect situations. All came right in the end of course, but I think the nagging suspicion is that if players shot in those less than perfect positions it would have been 7 or 8 rather than 4. We can’t run the game again wth different instructions from Arsene so we’ll never know. But we do know that Arsene prefers players to wait until in the box before shooting – Elneny commented on it in a recent interview that it was one of the instructions he was given.

    In that light I think the raw stats across teams need to be adjusted for style of play. Leicester have been a counter attacking team and e nature of the chances you get and so shots to goals ratio will be quite different for that kind of team. It would be interesting to see how it varies with possession and also home and away.

  • Mandy Dodd

    We have a number of players adept at scoring, not just a striker, unfortunately Alexis always injured…for much of the season and theo…..just out of form, although I expect better things from him next season. Ox is another who can chip in with the odd goal….again, injured.
    Danny welbeck…..can score vital goals…..injured.
    A pattern here?
    Giroud is much better than some believe, and does more than some notice, but is prone to barren spells, I believe Wenger has looked at other strikers in the past and will again this summer…..perhaps even some sort of loan signing to cover Danny’s absence.
    But, a very interesting article, and some surprising stats on our neighbours as well.
    As for goal scoring…….the odd penalty ….or a bit more than that in the case of Leicester helps the stats as well.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Meant Alexis WAS injured for much of the season, not always injured

  • Rosicky@Arsenal

    Interesting article. But a few thoughts.

    1) People question Giroud for his striking abilities and his lack of speed. True. But he had some additional qualities like his link up play,his defensive utility at set pieces and above all his assist stats in front of goal. Tony and Walter pls give Giroud assist stats which people forget.Theos goal agaisnt Leicester comes to mind as it was Girouds assist and what a useful one it was and there were a few more if one can recall.
    Girouds headed goals agianst City last year and Bayern this year have been match winners aginst top opposition.

    I am mot saying Giroud is the perfect striker but he has his qualities.

    If Arsenal can get Suarez or Lewandoski if they want to come and there club permits they are surely upgrade as far as there finishing is concerned but they dont bring the defensive cover Giroud gives to the team.

  • man de tory

    stats prove only one thing,none of the forwards convert enough of the chances made and giroud converts LESS,so we need a striker to upgrade and keep giroud for spare parts

  • Rosicky@Arsenal

    The biggest factor for not winning the title this year

    1) Santi and Alexis injury at the same time.
    2) Leicester got the rub of the green from the refs and the usual ref bias against Arsenal.

  • Polo

    I agree with Mandy.

    It doesn’t hurt to have another quality striker while Danny is away injured.

    AW had put a lot of faith in Theo and Giroud when there were relentless criticism about not having a ‘world class’ striker. I hope they can repay that faith back next season by being more clinical in front of goal.

  • Rich

    Interesting that the top three are all counter-attacking teams from outside the traditional big four/six.

    If it were possible to separate chances on counter attacks from the rest, I’d bet on our conversion rates being very similar to those mentioned and up there with anyone’s in the league.

    The massive difference- mentioned in the past on here- between our home and away (think we were 1st or 2nd in the league, away) conversion rates strongly suggests this.

    Leicester, West Ham and Saints all benefited this year from being teams set up for counter-attack football who the opposition are unlikely to sit very deep against.

    Anyway, we can’t moan about that (though I find it impossible not to think ‘park the bus against them, see how they deal with it. ****** *****! Kick them while you’re at it!) , we just have to find a way to create better chances or finish more of the chances we create against the bus. The other side of it, of course, is trying to make some improvements on the defensive side of the bus challenge- i.e counters and set-pieces.

    There’ll be more of it than ever this year. For almost every home game, you can safely put a mark- ‘bus’, or non-bus- against the teams we face, and most are bus.

    First time I’ve ever looked at the three promoted teams and had an absolutely clear picture of precisely how they’ll set up against us. You can just close your eyes and picture how the game will begin and what they want to do. Bus, basically. BUS, BUS, BUS. Kick, kick, kick.

    I’ll have hope for the new season whatever happens, but in truth I’ll only have serious belief that we’ve a great chance this year if we can find something extra in attack.

  • Zuruvi

    I enjoyed reading this article from Tony. And for once I don’t quite agree Tony.

    Those of us who think our weak-link is our strikers do so after watching many games and seeing the many good chances that are missed. We see that we never really capitalise on so-called half-chances as is done by the really good strikers like Agguerro, like Suarez, and like the Leicester city strikers Vardy and Mahrez.
    Our strikers tend to miss too many “easy” chances which top strikers don’t. We as genuine Arsenal fans (ie supporters) don’t have to listen to the horrible media or to the WOBs to know a great striker when we see one. We watched Thierry Henry, we watched Ian Wright, we watched Dennis Berghamp, we know great attackers. We watched Pires. And yes we watched that great Dutch striker who was possessed by a little boy who whispered that he should leave Arsenal to join Man Utd. Yes, that fellow Robin van Persie was a great striker.

    Our current strikers are good but not great. We as supporters of Arsenal and supporters of Le Prof simply think with better strikers we can do better. Le Prof always tells us that at the very top it is the fine margins that count, it is the milli-seconds. I think Prof is right. The difference between winners and also-rans is small.
    Arsenal is the 5th biggest/richest club according to the Deloittes and Forbes Rich Clubs List. Surely we should have strikers that are better than Spurs, Leicester, Liverpool or Southampton. Welbeck is a very good winger but an average striker. Walcott is a great winger but an average striker. Giroud is a good striker but not a great striker. I love all these Arsenal attackers but we should get another top level striker to complement them.
    All teams at the very top of European football depend on having a superstar striker:
    Real Madrid – Benzema and Ronaldo.
    Barcelona – Messi, Suarez, etc.
    Bayern – Lewendosky, etc.
    Atletico – Griezmann, etc.

    Friends, we cannot afford to avoid genuine criticism even if it comes from genuine haters such as some sections of the media (such as TalkSh#t).

    Arsene Wenger himself has noted that we have on many occasions failed to win games because we were not clinical in front of goal.

    Whilst I respect the good statistical research done by Tony, I think the key stat that is missing is the number of goals scored per good scoring chance created. Another vital stat would be percentage of “half-chances” converted into goals. These are stats that are probably not collected but they would show up the efficiency and effectiveness of a strike-force. Arsenal creates many more goal-scoring chances than Leicester, Spurs, etc. Our strikers should therefore have many more goals than the strikers of these teams. Remember that even Adebayor used to score 30 goals a season when he played for us. Why did he score so many goals when at Arsenal (yet he failed to do so at City, Spurs, etc.)? It’s simply because Arsenal style of play creates scoring chances for any striker.

    I do hope Le Prof buys a very good striker before the next season starts.

  • para

    It’s not about the shots on goal, it’s about the finishing. Sometimes i sense a hint of indecision, then boom, we’ve lost the ball or shot wide. Most of the time we keep the ball that little moment too long and again a hurried shot or ball lost.

    The fact that Elneny was told by AW to ‘not shoot as often but to adher to how Arsenal plays'(it was on seemed to make him indecisive in the following few games.

    If AW is going to let the players have free reign while on the pitch without his input, then it should be so, and let them decide when and if to shoot.

    As said, i sense an aura of indecision from players. Hope this gets sorted and then we would have no problems scoring more.

    Still, i wish that our players(wo ever they are) are “let off the leash” for the coming season, and i know we will tear football apart once again.

  • Passenal

    I think you should have deducted Leicester’s penalties from the analysis as surely that gave them a disproportionate edge?

  • Peter12

    I think that Zuruvi has nailed in spot on. The statistics given by Tony did show some interesting points; I would be inclined to use them cautiously as Zuruvi implied. Yes, we should be scoring more because we are creating more; and yes, we should be scoring the sitters more often than we do; and yes, we should be scoring more half-chances; and yes, we should be more deadly with one-on-ones which we are hopeless at (embarrassingly so!). The problem with Giroud is that, essentially he is not a finisher; he is a hold up player – a good one. He holds the ball well until the others can join in and (others) can score. This doesn’t suit Alexis, nor even Ozil really. Another point that Tony’s statistics unfortunately hides is that Giroud can score several goals in one game (when one would probably win the game, eg against Aston Villa) while in numerous games he would miss a single sitter that my grandmother would have scored in her sleep and the team would would have won Same with one-on-ones! Arsenal needs (at least one, preferably two) out-and-out finisher (not Giroud type) to convert the umpteen chances we create. It may sound ridiculous to say but, you know, even Defou even at his age is a more deadly finisher (compare the number of goals scored in the number of minutes he has been on the field and from the number of chances created by a relegation threatened team like Sunderland). If we had a finisher like Defou (preferably younger) on the bench to come in I am convinced that we would have been neck-and-neck with Leicester this year. We didn’t win because we didn’t have (and still don’t have) a finisher in the team; it isn’t good enough to have the only striker who misses sitters (therefore barren) in 15 games then may score 3 in the next two games. Anyway, this is my view.

  • Polo

    Well said Zuruvi, I feel the same way. I think we need an aguero type striker, who is mobile, clinical, and can take on defenders in tight space.

    I can imagine our strike force for different situations:

    Theo or Danny use for matches when we have more opportunity for counter-attack e.g against Bournemouth, Tottenham, Manchester City.

    Giroud can be used against opponents who is poor in dealing with set pieces e.g Liverpool or Swansea.

    New striker for against park the bus teams or good defensive teams.

  • Mick

    I am sure everyone on this site would like a striker of the quality you indicated, who wouldn’t want an Aguerra, Messi or Suarez in their side, they would improve any team. I am sure Wenger would love one too. The problem is of course that such top quality goalscorers are in short supply and consequently not available unless you find one by chance, or produce your own from the youth ranks. It is all very well saying just pay whatever you have to to tempt one of the top strikers to the Emirates but we are probably talking £50 million and upwards, plus wages that we would struggle to be able to afford. Although we are a wealthy club we are not able to compete with the super rich clubs. Even a player like Morato is being quoted at £42 million and his goal scoring ratio is below that of Giroud and Sanchez.
    The answer is probably going to be another 2nd tier striker I am afraid to fill in till Welbeck is available again plus a general improvement in scoring from every one else in the squad. If all who played last year had scored just one more goal each, not a lot to ask, we would have comfortably topped the goal scoring stats and finished close to Leicester. And a fairer crack of the whip with penalties would be nice as well, if we had had as many spot kicks as Leicester and they had as few as us I think our final league positions would have been reversed!!

  • G Arrow – but you have ignored the baggage that Suarez come with. Who is to say whether next season he will start taking lumps out of players again with his teeth? That is the point, both the questions and the answers are complex.

    And that is before we consider if Suarez and can fit into the team or if we need to change the whole forward line. He worked this season because of those around him and no other club can afford that forward line, unless like his present employers they are willing to either engage in or at the very least turn a blind eye to tax fraud. Hence the multiple legal cases.

    You can’t take into account just one fact, and not the rest.

    Unless you want to be a mainstream journalist.

  • Again you ignore the factors around this. The team is a team not a collection of individual players.

  • Gord

    I don’t think you can include scoring from penalties in this. The fraction of shots on target in penalty situations should be almost 1, it has to be significantly less than 1 for shots from open play.

    If you subtract that off, nearly all the top scorers have numbers consistent with a 20 GPA (Goal Per Annum) scorer, even Giroud is consistent with that. (16 is not statistically different from 20, assuming Poisson statistics).

    I think Messi and Ronaldo in Spain are up in the 50 range, which is easily different from 20.

  • insideright

    Apart from penalties (by which the other strikers largely out-scored Giroud’s total) the blocked shots argument is a good one. When you are a break-away team you tend to shoot against a relatively open defence. We don’t get that luxury because of the aforementioned bus parking.
    Mass defences also leave no room behind them into which to run so a Henry-type striker (Walcott?) becomes much less effective. Against the type of defence we face it is more productive to have a Giroud style centre-forward and for others to use him for wall pass based approaches.
    If Arsenal didn’t get enough goals it was more down to the lack of penalties and the support forwards (including Ramsey) not chipping in with what we know they are capable of.
    I’m not saying that Giroud can’t be improved upon but the solution still lies in his style of play and getting at least an average number of penalties awarded to us.

  • Gord

    Para, redefining the problem is not an argument. Scoring a goal is for most people (PGMO employees seem to have an inordinately large problem with this) a well defined event. Finishing is very vague.

    Waiting for the ball to be in touch with the ground is something many players do, as it (approximately) sets how far their foot must be from the ground in shooting. Striking a ball just before it hits the ground is probably better in terms of accuracy and power. Hitting a ball just after it has left the ground on a rebound is probably worst for accuracy.

    Your finishing argument probably brings those kinds of situations into play, and a host of other ones.


  • Zuruvi

    Guys, I accept we can’t afford Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo or such like. But let’s be fair. Suarez wanted to come but we only offered £40m plus £1. That’s not being serious! Our offer was derisory. But we were also dealing with ungentlemanly and possibly crooked Liverpool executives who it is reported told lies. It takes two to tango. So Liverpool didn’t want to tango so we didn’t dance.

    The question still remains: Can a top, too club which is based in attractive London and is the 5th richest club in the world according to Deloitte and also Forbes not afford a better striker than Giroud? Can a team coached by the brilliant Arsene Wenger not attract a super quality striker? Can a team that plays such beautiful attacking football not attract a clinical finisher?

    I love Wenger but I think we need a clinical striker. Higuan was available, we haggled over the price. Today Higuain has just finished the season as the top scorer in Italy. We haggled over the price for Suarez. Today Suarez is the top-scoring striker in Spain. These are recent events. This shows that someone at Arsenal (obviously Le Prof) knows that we need a top quality striker. It’s unfortunate that we don’t seem to want to pay the going price. That’s sad in that we the fans are being denied a better chance to win the league. We really need to help ourselves because we all know that the unholy trinity (the referees, the media and the FA/Premiership) don’t like us and put huge obstacles in front of us. The playing field is always tilted against us.

    Arsenal needs and deserves better strikers. Why would Atletico have Griesman when we have Giroud? Why would Dortmund have Aubamayeng as their striker when we have Welbeck or Walcott?
    I honestly don’t want to show any disrespect to our current strikers. I think they are good. But I say they’re not great. We need at least one great striker in our team.. We create many good chances that are wasted by not having a great striker.
    When we had great strikers we won the league title again and again. We could beat any team, any team.

  • Giroud has done a good job for Arsenal and not just in the scoring department but what I’ve noticed is that when an opportunity for a shot of goal open’s up some are very reluctant to take that shot. In the final third it became very congested not enough space. We at times did not break quickly enough and to many touches where took. I think we do need a striker with Welbeck out of action but one who fits into how Arsenal play.
    I truly believe that Theo Walcott and Ox were the most affected by atmosphere and name calling at the Emirates, I was there and you could see by the body language just how much is was getting to them and I felt ashamed that people who call themselves supporters could put those most affected through this.Members of this team were afraid to put wrong thus they did not take the opportunity to shoot for fear of the abuse if the ball did not hit the back of the net. One thing I can say about Giroud is he does not let the boo boys get to him thank God but everyone is different. We need a sticker but one who has a very thick skin but the Boss I’m very sure will make sure if he buys one he has that in his DNA.

  • Should read a foot wrong, sorry.

  • GoonerDave

    I don’t think Giroud is good enough to lead the line. He is too static, not consistent and tires easily. No striker who goes 15 games without scoring during a title challenge should be starting for us. Totally unacceptable.
    I realise the value of his link up play and defensive headers, but we can do much, much better. Giroud has a place in the squad, but he’s nowhere near the level of previous Arsenal starters. In my opinion, its imperative that we upgrade him to striker worthy of Arsenal.

  • Mick

    ‘It’s unfortunate that we don’t seem to want to pay the going price.’
    Maybe it is more a case of can’t, given the fact we do not have limitless resources, afford to pay the going price. The price by the way also includes wages.
    Have you considered that the £40 million that was offered for Suarez was the maximum Arsenal could afford to pay. It’s very easy for you to say we should have done this or that sitting at home with only a fraction of the salient facts to base your opinion on.

  • goonersince72

    You forgot shots off the woodwork, lol. I think the Gunners led the league. My take away from this piece is this: IT’S COMPLICATED. And I agree with you. Money helps, a top scorer helps, lack of injuries helps, unbiased refereeing (lmao) helps, even match scheduling helps. If winning were easy the pundits would be managing clubs instead of criticising them. But they aren’t, are they?

  • Zuruvi

    Mick and all Arsenal supporters. Tony had created this wonderful and insightful blog to share ideas, facts and opinions about our beloved club. No we don’t work for Arsenal FC Ltd. No we don’t sit on the board of directors of Arsenal FC Ltd. Yes we are fans. Yes we are supporters. Yes we like the Prof. And yes we have opinions (rightly or wrongly) about our club.
    As fans, do we have the right to air opinions (whilst sitting at home without the salient points)? Yes.
    If anyone offers £40m plus £1 it isn’t right. It shows Arsenal in a very bad light. We look like the Scrooges of football. We look like a team that lacks class (yet we are indeed the most ethical and classy club in the UK and possibly in Europe).
    I want the best for Arsenal.
    I’m certain that Arsenal will never ever try that strategy of offering just £1 above the supposed Release Clause Fee for a player. It is a pathetic strategy which does harm to our brand.
    If we can’t afford a player that’s fine. Don’t go with silly (£40m plus £1) offers.

    My point remains: Our current strikers are good but we deserve great strikers. With better strikers we will achieve bigger things as a team.
    I’m sick and tired of the many games where we have 65% possession and 25 shots at goal but lose or draw against a bottom-half-of-the-league team who only had 2 or 3 shots at goal.
    Do you remember the Crystal Palace game?

    Do you remember the West Brom game?

    Arsenal deserves better and more clinical strikers. We’re the 5th richest club in the world! We are one of only a handful of clubs worth a billion pounds (the others being Real Madrid, Barca, Man Utd, and Bayern). Compare our strikers to the strikers of the other “Billion-value” clubs. Only Man Utd seems to be worse at present which is due to their managerial inadequacies but with Fergie they always bought top strikers. Maybe Maureen-o will buy a striker as soon as possible.

  • Mick

    I am sure if that top class clinical striker is available and affordable and the deal with all it’s intricasies can be done, then he will be bought. All the names I have seen mentioned so far though are either not absolute top tier or if they are either too expensive or not available. I fear you may well finish up being disappointed.

  • Notoverthehill

    Tony, well done!

    Parking the bus, is all about blocking Zone 14 or “the hole”. The area in front of the penalty area. Grant and Williams (1999) did a study of Manchester United for season 1998/1999. That passing was the most common form of assist. Moreover, the majority of passing assists came from central attacking area. That is Zone 14.

    Crossing the ball is Zones 16 and 18. The goalkeeper area is Zone 17.

    All, very technical. Ronaldo and Messi, can find it difficult with that other team in Madrid?

    As for Higuaín, the father Jorge was the source for Arsenal and Juventus supposed bids. According to Florentino Perez, Arsenal made no bid whatsoever.

  • Ajay

    Rather than get a single world class striker who you need to pay a bomb for, you would also need to consider that there is a chance that he may get injured. I just wish that with the kind of attacking mid fielders we have, they would all contribute to the cause with a 10-15 goals a season. That way our strikers going through a lean patch won’t feel bogged down and won’t be made into a scape goat. After all football is a team sport, not a game of individuals like Tony mentioned above.

  • Georgaki-pyrovolitis


    Are you new to Untold? The £40m +£1 has been discussed to death. Arsenal were activating a clause in Suarez’s contract which should have led to a negotiation. Liverpool lied about it because they had no intention of selling to Arsenal.

  • Pat

    Arsene Wenger would have bought Suarez if Liverpool hadn’t lied about his contract. In recent comments it was clear that Arsene Wenger rates Suarez. I don’t believe he’s bitten anybody at this current club.

    As to whether we buy another striker now – that depends who is available.

  • Peter12

    I think there is an important paragraph in Zuruvi’s post (one before the last one) in which he says “Atletico has Griezman while we have Giroud, Dortmund has Aubamayeng while we have Walcott & Wellbeck”. It is well worth pondering on this. Why is it that this is the case? Atletico and Dortmund (just to mention a couple) are not wealthier than us; so how is it That they have better finishers than us? Did they pay astronomical fees for Griezman and Aubamayeng respectively? No! They were vigilant enough to pick them up before they became famous, and, unattainable by the likes of us. We just don’t seem to be able anymore to identify those recruits who are available at reasonable fees before they become famous before they get our attention and interest by which time we can no longer afford them. A case in point is Mahres of Leicester City. How come that Leicester can spot and recruit such a player or Vardy from Fleetwood but we can’t with huge team of recruiting staff that we have. How come? Why is it that we are trying always to admire players and try to poach them that other teams managed to recruit instead of following their example and find our own? Even within our ranks, failing to recognise Kane and likes. Asking Ibrahimovic to trial – again not recognising class act and wait others discover them and they become famous that we show interest but cannot afford. What about recognising Morata’s talent last year for around £10m instead of waiting for him to do well in Italy before struggle to recruit AFTER he becomes well known. What about Higuin? Why laugh at the fee of £35m before he moved to Italy and now try to move heaven and Earth now at a much higher fee now that he had an excellent season? So … , what is the point being made here? It is our failure in the transfer market to identify and recruit talent around the world that we can easily afford; instead waiting until they become so famous (therefore so expensive) that only the top 4 or 5 clubs in the world can afford, NOT US. It is ludicrous to expect us fans to identify “before-they-became-famous” class of players around the World and present it to the club. It is the club’s responsibility and job to do that and rather than say “they are all out of our reach”. Now they probably are. The message is to the club: DO YOU HOMEWORK! IDENTIFY THOSE PLAYERS WHO ARE NEARLY THERE BUT NOT QUITE WORLD RENOWN – BUY THEM THEN; NO DERISORY BIDS, NO £40m + £1 STUPIDNESS. ARSENAL DOES NOT HAVE A VERY EFFICIENT FINISHER (STRIKER) WHICH IT DESPARATELY NEEDS. BUY THAT PLAYER! This is my view.

  • Pat

    Arsene Wenger has bought many a bargain. Our scouting system is always spotting players other people haven’t gone for. And who is to say that these high scoring players would have been just as high scoring if they had been playing in the English premier league?

  • Pat

    Just to add – as far as I can recall Arsene Wenger and Arsenal made Thierry Henry into a high scoring striker.

  • omgarsenal

    There are ,as Tony and others correctly point out, numerous factors that account for the lower % of successful shots on net (goals) and here are a few:

    1)Shooting accuracy is vital. This can be developed even in professionals with specialized training and rigourous practice under game-like conditions….I know AFC do this but need to find a more efficient way to increase the goals percentage, by only a few goals.
    2)Taking more shots from outside the box and encouraging more of the attacking midfielders to mix and diversify their shooting versus passing. I believe Xhaka will add a great deal in this area as he is both a long-range passer and shooter.
    3)Develop a better tactical use of the wings, where spreading the play out there will open up a packed defense automatically. Guys like Sanchez, Walcott, Ramsey, Ozil, and the Ox,offer great alternatives to playing through Giroud as the main striker.
    4)The use of Wilshere,Cazorla,Coquelin, Bellerin and Monreal as attacking midfielders or fullbacks has proven very useful in the past and with a better defensive midfield now available (El-Neny, Xhaka,Coquelin), Wenger can afford to allow his attacking midfielders and fullbacks to move into scoring positions particularly against a packed defense that is not playing counter-attacking Football.
    5) For teams that excel in counter-attacking Football, this is where AFC’s ability to keep possession and mount a quick counter-attack is vital. with the defense in safe hands, we can spread the play out quickly and switch the play diagonally, posing a threat from either side of the box and particularly just in front of it.

  • Menace

    I do not have a problem with any individual player. I have an issue with professional footballers that cannot kick a dead ball onto a target as big as a goal. I can teach anyone with a reasonable kick to manipulate a ball over a wall & into the goal from within 20/40 yards of goal. There is technique required most players can achieve quality free kicks if they understand the basics. A professional earning obscene money must be able to spend at least 2 hours a day practicing free kicks. Once the technique is perfected it can be used in flight rather than just for dead balls. Bending a ball is not rocket science but certainly involves understanding flight basics.

  • Georgaki-pyrovolitis

    The list of players Arsene and his team plucked from obscurity is impressive. Off the top of my head, Anelka, Toure, Clichy, Eduardo. Anyway, I couldn’t be bothered with some of the posts tonight. It would seem they are ignorant of Wenger’s early years and why should Arsenal spot every Tom, Dick and Harry? Goodnight

  • bob

    our strikers’ conversion rate is very poor relative to the large number of opportunities created by the likes of ozil. why would ozil with 19 assists be distancing himself from negotiations which would make him our all time highest paid player? does he know – from experience in the thick of it – that something needs to change?; something that all your statistics don’t fathom? you defend Giroud to somehow defend AW’s bringing him here. I think a 15 game drought at the time is maddening; and AW himself indicated as much in his rationale for keeping him on, which imo reads as much of a reason to let him be a Plan B specialist. Welbeck’s injury is reason and cover enough to bring in the top-top talent that – despite the we can’t afford it like the truly biggest brigade – we can afford. Look at the departues, the TV bonanza, the CL finishing, the absence of stadium payoffs, the high gate receipts, Stan’s booty and tell me with a straight face that we cannot compete with any single club for any single player. Crying poverty nowadays is blowing smoke.

  • Gord


    You know which way electrons flow relative to electrical current, I believe.

    I’m looking for some other stuff, and I happened across a USB dongle: NooElec NESDR Nano 2+. Which is apparently compatible with Android and that fruity stuff. I wonder if this SDR dongle will let you in on PGMO communications?

    Maybe there are other dongles that work with Android. This was just the first one I seen.

  • chibyke

    One point we are leaving out, which unfortunately cannot be statisticalized is “fear factor”. Imagine a db10 bearing down your goal with TH14,Robert and lunberg making darting runs all over the place.defenders panic cos both the ball holder and runners are deadly finishers! Your level of cohesion as a defensive unit is negatively affected when the ball holder is as devastating as those making the arsenal of today, Sanchez is the only player who opp players are afraid might shoot from outside the d. The rest?(Özil,Ramsey,wilshere,arteta,carzola) are very much less inclined to try a opp players ignore them and aggressively track the runners. Leicester & spurs in truth have more fear factor going for them than we do. Apart from dembele(who despite his poor shooting stats has a wonderful combo of physicality and penetrative dribbling skills) eriksen, kane,lamela,even their fullbacks are unpredictable in attacking positions. If mahrez is on the ball, u need 2 people on him while u track the tireless and deadly duo of Okazaki and vardy. Fear factor does contribute to creating chances, which increases your opportunity to score goals and the more you score , the more fear factor u create. Ask yourself, if a Leicester team with vardy @ the tip, spurs with Kane @ the tip and arsenal with Giroud @ the tip is attacking u, who would u be most wary/scared off? If u r sincere, our team wont be the first.

  • Josif


    I reckon from your previous posts that you are a football coach. I recall once reading an interview with, if my memory still serves me well, Miroslav Blazevic of Croatian bronze medal at World Cup 1998. Blazevic had some memorable logical comments (“Don’t take a cross-bar challenge on trainings! The point of the game is to put the ball between the posts and under the bar, not to hit them!”) and one includes shooting technique. I think it was said that you should always shoot straight down the middle as the ball will change the direction anyway and if you pick the narrow angle yourself, you are likely to miss the shot. What’s your take on that opinion?