By Walter Broeckx
This is the final article in our series is about the centre forward. The number one man to hold this position is of course Olivier Giroud.
Giroud is one of the favourite targets of the AAA.
In his first season he scored 13 goals and had 7 assists in total so a goal contribution of 20 goals in total.
In last season he improved and scored 22 goals and had 10 assists so a goal contribution of 32 goals in total.
He started in 79 matches in his Arsenal career so far and was directly involved in 52 goals.
If we only look at matches he started and goals scored we see that he scored 35 goals in 79 matches. 1 goal per 2 matches. If we add assists we see that this goes up to one goal contribution every 1,5 match.
I think these stats are not that bad at all. But yet if you would believe some fans he is rubbish. Or he is not good enough.
Now if we go back a few seasons ago after Henry left us we first had a go with Adebayor. A big lump centre forward. Lots of critics until he had a season in which he scored around 25 goals, thought he was too big for Arsenal, lost his head and made a mess of his further career.
We then went for Van Persie after that. Had Wenger lost his mind? He should have gone for a big strong centre forward. Van Persie would be more in hospital than on the field. Wenger made Van Persie one of the best strikers in the world. Till he thought he was too big for Arsenal, lost his mind, went to Utd, had one good season and then hopefully made a mess of his further career.
And then came Giroud. Haha, a big lump centre forward. But as he was rather new to the scene he wasn’t known well enough and besides for such a low amount he couldn’t be any good.
Now I know all too well that he is not a Suarez, Aguero type of striker. He is more the type of the big strong centre forward who is strong in the air, battles with the defenders for 90 minutes, makes life difficult for them. So if we want to compare him we need to compare him with other strikers like that.
We know Wenger tried to buy Suarez so he wanted to go for a Suarez type of striker. So the moment we buy one like that I will compare him with such a type.
Now if we compare the stats from Giroud with the other big centre forwards in the PL he is not bad. Others like him are Dzeko, Lukaku, Bony, Adebayor,…dare I say it £35m-man Carroll.
And then if we compare goals and assists we find that he is the striker with the most goals and assists in the PL with 23 goals + assists.
Second in this table of big strikers is Lukaku with 15 goals and 6 assists or a total of 21 goal contributions, a player we should buy they say. As an aside note and as we speak of Belgium players I note that the Belgian Messi also known as Hazard had a total goal contribution of 21 goal contributions (14 goals + assists).
Did you get that right? Giroud has scored and assisted more goals than Eden Hazard! But I don’t want to compare both players. But still….
Bony and Dzeko had a total goal contribution of 20 goals in total last season. So Giroud had 3 more than both of them in the PL.
And another one I will compare him with is Adebayor. His goal contribution was 15 in total. So Giroud did 8 goals better than Adebayor. And finaly let us compare him with the man of £35m. Andy Carroll scored 2 goals and had 2 assists last season. The grand total of 4 goal contributions. Compare that with the 23 goal contribution of Giroud.
And then tell me he is a bad striker. Based on what? Your prejudice? Because Wenger bought him on the cheap? Giroud is no Henry, no Van Persie, no Adebayor. Giroud is Giroud. A very good striker who works hard for the team and who puts in a shift whenever he is on the field. He isn’t the flashy Suarez type of forward but he has skills that Suarez hasn’t and Suarez has skills that Giroud hasn’t. They are very different and not comparable.
As things stand and based on the words of Wenger we will have another striker added to the team. Who or what or when or where, I don’t know. I leave it up to the wise old man in the office.
What I do know is that Giroud for the money we have paid for him is a more than decent signing.
Players that could step in when Giroud isn’t playing are Sanogo, Theo or Podolski. Now first thing I need to mention is that Giroud is almost never injured. (touch wood please) And that itself is amazing.
Sanogo has played mostly in the cups and made the defenders of the other team sweat. Unlucky not to have a goal behind his name as when he scored at Everton he was onside and this would have taken a big burden of his shoulders. I somehow think that once he gets on the score sheet he might score more. It’s all about confidence and being calm I feel.
Theo might step in at centre forward but as he is a completely different type of player he will play a different game. And the same could be said about Podolski.
I read the following sentence on the internet from one of the members of the Arsenal Belgium supporters club when someone had a go at Giroud: “Imagine signing a player that got 39 goals 29 assists in 2 EPL seasons for £11.5m?” Now the numbers might be not completely correct, but the message behind it is very valid. I think Wenger pulled another one out of his magic hat.
Oh and did you read what Wenger said about Giroud? He also was a learner. Now doesn’t that sound promising?