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Lacazette: does this statistic show that Arsenal are getting the wrong man?

by Tony Attwood
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There is a headline doing the rounds at the moment which says that Lacazette’s statistics are “134 minutes per goal, excluding pens, in a weak league” and his statistics are examined and compared to Giroud.

Then we are told, first take out the penalties and don’t count them.   Then measure how long Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette has been on the pitch and work out how many minutes it takes him to score.    Then do the same with Giroud, and you find that Giroud scores more goals an hour than Lacazette.

So the logic appears to be, Giroud is better, Wenger is an idiot.  Again.    Except there are some problems with this analysis.   Let’s try and run through a few of them.

First every club needs a couple of penalty takers – preferably men who don’t miss very often.  In this regard alone Lacazette is a valuable asset.

Second as we’ve pointed out before players can change.   The most obvious example was Thierry Henry who couldn’t get the hang of being a centre forward for a while, but did eventually.   And Robert Pires who didn’t have a first season that could be compared to his second, largely because his style of play was changed.   He then learned how to play alongside Henry, and together they were an absolute joy to watch and behold.

Third much depends on the team that Mr Wenger is going to place around Lacazette if he comes to Arsenal.  The best teams are built by managers who don’t just analyse individual players but make them work together as a unit, each playing off each other’s strengths.   Since we don’t quite know what the manager has in mind for the rest of the transfer window or indeed how he will re-organise the team around Lacazette this one is hard to judge.

We don’t know, for example, if this means the end of Alexis at Arsenal, if there are other players who are going to be brought in, or anything.

But if you do want to make direct comparisons, just for the sake of it the WhoScored figures show us this:

  • Giroud overall score in Premier League: 6.81
  • Lacazette overall score in Ligue 1: 7.57

As for the strengths analysed we can see this.

Lacazette Giroud
Finishing
Very Strong Strong
Long shots
Strong
Through balls
Strong Strong
Dribbling
Strong
Key passes
Strong Strong
Holding on to the ball
Strong
Passing
Strong
Heading
Strong
Ariel moves
Strong
Defensive support
Strong
.
Six strong ratings each, but with Lacazette getting a “Very Strong” as well.
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In short these are very different players in themselves, and they will be working with their teammates in different ways which rather makes the comparison of the players quite difficult.
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Here is Giroud’s data at Arsenal
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Season League Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals
2012–13 34 11 47 17
2013–14 36 16 51 22
2014–15 27 14 36 19
2015–16 38 16 53 24
2016–17 29 12 39 16
Total 164 69 226 98
Career total 353 134 437 188

And Lacazette at Lyon.

Season League Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals
2009–10 1 0 1 0
2010–11 9 1 11 2
2011–12 29 5 43 10
2012–13 31 3 37 4
2013–14 36 15 54 22
2014–15 33 27 40 31
2015–16 34 21 44 23
2016–17 30 28 45 37
Total 203 100 275 129
Career total 203 100 275 129

So let’s take the last two seasons as fairly representative of where the players are at the moment.

Grioud scored 40 goals and Lacazette scored 60 goals.

Ah, but a lot of Lacazette’s goals are penalties it is argued.   Yes that might be true but on the other hand there are such players who are able to hold on to the ball, dribble their way into the area and then either score, or get fouled by a lumbering defender.

Of course in the Premier League one can’t always expect the referee then to give a penalty, but even if we got half the penalties that could arise in such situations, we would be doing ok.

Mr Wenger has a long history of changing players, and the notion that somehow over the past three years of chasing this player Mr Wenger and all his statistical analytics people have failed to notice that Lacazette scores penalties as well as goals from open play seems a bit unlikely to me.

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9 comments to Lacazette: does this statistic show that Arsenal are getting the wrong man?

  • Gord

    The first few paragraphs, look somewhat like medja hacks copying from an article at Untold a few threads ago.

    I.e.: the medja hacks copied Untold and produced articles, which Tony has been seeing today, and produced this comment on.

  • Hunter13

    i have traveled here from another dimension to thank fins for this:

    ‘that the managers are discussing athletes and not cattle in an abattoir *coughs* “coz dey iz against Modern Football”

    praise praise praise

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    To me, I am skeptical if the signing of Lacazette without the staying of Sanchez in the Arsenal team next season will see an improvement in the Gunners performance in the new season on their last season performance when Arsenal finished 5th in the table in the Premier League.

    Sanchez has proved to be a reliable and consistent top goals scorer for Arsenal since he has joined the club. He competes with Giroud for the Arsenal golden boot win every season and both of them have rotated the win on number of occasions among themselves with Sanchez winning the last season’s one while Giroud won that of the previous season. The reason why Giroud did not get more goals past what he got in last season’s campaign was I think he joined the Arsenal season campaign late as a result of his playing in the Euro 2016 tournament. And the low output of goals scored recorded by Sanchez in 2015-16 season was as a resort of his playing in the Comobol which led to his returning to Arsenal season campaign late and couple with the sideline spell he suffered due the injury he sustained during that 2015-16 campaign.

    The underline factor am trying to draw here is both Sanchez and Giroud have been very vital to Arsenal season campaigns and I believe they’ll still be next season. Therefore, it’s important Le Prof keep this vital to Arsenal season by these two Gunners going at Arsenal next season and enhance it with the signing of top quality striker Lacazette for option and cover. While even if Lermar is signed which I think he should. Or if it’s Mahrez that’s signed, Walcott should not be discarded. For, as the season could be long for the Arsenal that will compete in four major competitions domestically and in Europe next season, I am sure a time will come during the campaign when Walcott service will be needed.

  • para

    I notice that Giroud has got better at keeping the ball, and seems to be playing differently now, with more fun and effort . If he keeps on improving it will only be good.

    Imagine this at the front:
    Alexis Mbappe Lacazette ?
    Welbeck Giroud Theo ?
    and any combination thereof
    (including the youth who make it this season!)

  • Yagyik

    Perhaps it’s also a question of the context(s)/situations in which Giroud was used by Wenger, i.e., brought on when it was thought he would be most effective and therefore at least somewhat more likely to score. On the other hand, it seems Lacazette had to start (emphasis on “start”) pretty much every game? I’d expect that any striker would be expected to be more or less effective against some teams and Lyon didn’t have or at least didn’t use the option of using a different player up front too often whereas we had Sanchez and Welbeck.

    There’s also the question of how many years of data were used to arrive at the headline you mentioned at the beginning of the article. For example, I don’t think it’s fair to use 7 years of data since Lacazette is only 26 now. Total fan of Giroud but I expect his performance will drop over the next few years due to age whereas Lacazette’s (I expect) wouldn’t.

    Anyway for this next season I don’t think it should be or even is an either/or between Giroud and Lacazette in the sense that they aren’t expected to fulfil the same roles.

    But yeah… lies, damned lies and statistics eh!

    On a side note, Giroud should totally get a “strong” on long shots I feel. Guy hits them so sooo cleannnnn! 😀

    Big fan of Untold, first time commenting 🙂

    Cheers!

  • Andy Mack

    BBC is reporting that Lacazette is with us at Colney for a medical!

  • Gord

    There is nothing listed at Arsenal.com in that respect. There is supposedly a new article of pictures showing people training. As I never see images at Arsenal.com articles that have images (they all look like a black bear at night), I can’t comment.

    I suppose that:
    The Daily Mail reports that the BBC is lying about Lacazette.
    The Telegraph reports that the Daily Mail is lying.
    The Independent reports that the Telegraph is lying.
    The Sun reports that the Independent is lying.
    and so on

  • Gord

    Oh Andy Mack, Marca agrees with you and the BBC.

  • Neo

    Is it just me or is Wenger trying to fill the team with players named Alex?

    Laca , Sanchez , Iwobi , Ox and possibly Golovin 😀

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