Arsenal’s season review: part 6, the strikers

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.

The numbers:

Alexis Giroud Walcott Welbeck
35 Games Played 27 14 27
2949 Minutes played 1867 441 1711
1469 Passes 764 103 542
76.7% Passing accuracy 67.7% 87.4% 81.7%
74.2% Passing accuracy opp. half 64.3% 88.6% 80.8%
284 Duels won 162 11 130
335 Duels lost 206 21 132
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%
188 Recoveries 60 12 77
50 Tackles won 20 0 24
19 Tackles lost 7 0 11
72.5% Tackles won % 74.1% 68.6%
6 Clearances 23 1 13
0 Blocks 2 0 2
41 Interceptions 6 3 29
0 Penalties conceded 0 0 0
72 Fouls won 29 2 16
44 Fouls conceded 39 2 15
4 Yellow cards 5 0 3
0 Red cards 1 0 0
16 Goals 14 5 4
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
62% Shooting accuracy 50% 75% 53.5%
13 Successful crosses 2 3 1
69 Unsuccessful crosses 9 9 4
15.9% Successful crosses % 18.2% 25% 20%
8 Assists 3 0 3
81 Chances created 29 4 30
8 Offsides 13 3 7
1 Penalties won 0 0 2

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.

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30 Replies to “Arsenal’s season review: part 6, the strikers”

  1. Walter.

    Here are some numbers converted to per 90 minutes. Where you mention them in the text, they seem to be the same as yours. Which is the way they should be. Some analysis is slightly different.

    Per 90 minutes
    _ _ _ _ Alexis _ Giroud _ Walcott _ Welbeck
    Pass _ _ 44.8 _ _ 36.8 _ _ 21.0 _ _ _28.5
    APass _ _34.4 _ _ 24.9 _ _ 18.4 _ _ _23.3
    DuelW _ _ 8.67 _ _ 7.81 _ _ 2.24 _ _ _6.84
    DuelL _ _10.2 _ _ _9.93 _ _ 4.29 _ _ _6.94
    ADuelW _ _0.85 _ _ 4.97 _ _ 0.20 _ _ _2.05
    ADuelL _ _1.62 _ _ 4.82 _ _ 0.61 _ _ _2.37
    Recrv _ _ 5.74 _ _ 2.89 _ _ 2.45 _ _ _4.05
    TackW _ _ 1.53 _ _ 0.96 _ _ – _ _ _ _ 1.26
    TackL _ _ 0.58 _ _ 0.34 _ _ – _ _ _ _ 0.58
    Clear _ _ 0.18 _ _ 1.11 _ _ 0.20 _ _ _0.68
    Int _ _ _ 1.25 _ _ 0.29 _ _ 0.61 _ _ _1.53
    FoulW _ _ 2.20 _ _ 1.40 _ _ 0.41 _ _ _0.84
    FoulC _ _ 1.34 _ _ 1.88 _ _ 0.41 _ _ _0.79
    ShtOn _ _ 1.50 _ _ 1.40 _ _ 3.06 _ _ _1.21
    ShtOff _ _0.92 _ _ 1.40 _ _ 1.02 _ _ _1.05
    Chance _ _2.47 _ _ 1.40 _ _ 0.82 _ _ _1.58

    In terms of duels, I would agree Walcott is the weakest of the bunch. For on the ground duels, Alexis is best but Giroud and Welbeck are not far behind. On aerial duels, Giroud is baout twice Welbeck, who is about twice Alexis. On recoveries, Walcott and Giroud are about even. For a forward, Alexis is the best tackler of the bunch. For what Giroud does, it isn’t surprising that he loses the fewest tackles. In terms of shooting, Walcott shoots more often than the others, they are all off target about the same (with majority on target).

    In Copa America, it was said that Alexis is a pest. He causes more troubles for the opposition than just about anyone. Which is a good thing.

  2. What this article tells me is that we should assemble a hybrid using all four players which will have the industry of Sanchez, the physical presence of Giroud and the finishing of Walcott, we would then be unstoppable!

  3. Undoubted true season performance statistics of our quartet strikers have been revealed. It’s good to note how every one of the 4 had performed. And also to take note what they will need to do to raise the level of their performances during the coming season campaign. While we can excuse Welbeck for a low scoring season performance of 7 goals, we can understand he joined us in January as he didn’t begin the season journey with us from the start. Would he had gotten up to 14 goals in all competitions if he had started the season with us? But even then, 14 goals are not good enough. His minimum are 20 goals in all competitions. The samething applies to Giroud & Walcott. Had Giroud not had his Tibia broken that sidelined him for 4 months, he might have grabbed 20 goals. 20x4strikers=80goals is the minimum benchmark of goals scored in all competitions I am setting for our 4 strikers not to compromise next season, if we are to win the title and 1 or 2 trophies. Both our midfielders and defender should guaranteed us 50 goals minimum benchmark to bring our total forecast goals to 130 minimum. If Petr Cech comes in and a better LB can be brought in also, and Gibbs is shifted in field to partner Coquelin, the Gunners defending could become more disciplined not to lose vital points in any of the big games and against our buggy teams of Stoke, Swanseas and of recent, Southampton. Can Arsenal resist Man City not to tempt Jack Wilshere away from us as he looks to play at the RW with Ramsey also forced there whether he objects or not? Would the Boss signs the 3 new players l have been advocating for? A LB, a DM and RW to reinforce his team against any possible earthquake of injuries during the season campaign in all competitions? It is better to be well equipped than to be less equipped.

  4. I still think AW is experimenting his front four. Ozil and Sanchez are confirm full time member but another two more is still up for grabs. In my opinion, Ox will eventually cement one place for himself, maybe the coming season. That leaves Giroud, Walcott, Welbeck and Sanogo to compete for the remaining one. Maybe AW might surprise us all by adding a gem by purchase. I would like to stress the whole eleven players play equal important parts but extra qualities will complement and brings the best out of everyone else. The whole team can still improve so AW might just use the bird in hand to start next season. COYG!

  5. I keep checking the main web site, and it isn’t showing. Maybe it is all a bad dream?

  6. One of Arsenal’s failings in recent years, IMO, was the persistent “tippy tappy” football in the opponents’ penalty area, attempting to walk the ball into the net to achieve the perfect goal.
    The arrival of Alexis and his skill has clearly demonstrated that powerful, well-directed shooting from beyond the penalty area will bear fruit.
    His goal in the FA Cup Final and Wilshere’s two in the recent international will no doubt be an inspiration to the rest of our attack next season. 😉

  7. It seems to be a bad dream for me concerning Cech, am i the only one?

    Man, i hope i am really really really wrong if we do buy him and that our medical team takes him apart and then puts him back together before we do.

    I was hoping it was just a sort of warning for our GKs to up their game. 🙂

  8. This thing is not letting me go.

    Hope Arsenal does not take this to the last day and then Chel$ was just “playing”.

  9. Any confirmation on the Cech story? I don’t mean rumours from the rumour mongers. Unfortunately I can’t think of one reliable news outlet apart from but no news from them yet.

  10. I too, keep check the main Arsenal web site. Reliable, for me doesn’t include checking Chelsea. All I know, is that the BBC still isn’t saying anything.

    I don’t like this story. It feels like a nightmare.

  11. The most startling stat to me is the number of duels Alexis was involved in 619 in 35 games – that’s nearly 18 a game or 1 every 5 minutes. The guy is an absolute live wire as well as incredibly talented. A proper footballer.

  12. I cant for the life of me see anything wrong with our keepers.

    Certainly didn’t want Cech.

    But this is how he is seen elsewhere. I was talking to 2 Mancs at work, both said he’s World Class. Both said he’s better than what we have.

    One went as far as saying ‘if you get Cech I think you’ll win the League.

    Not saying I agree (I think we can win the PL anyway). Just pointing out how highly he is regarded.

    If it’s true he’s signed I’ll be gutted for both our keepers, but it’s a tough World, and if the boss thinks it’s right, I’ll give Cech every chance to prove my doubts unfounded.

  13. Interesting stuff Walter, just shows what a potent attacking threat we now carry. Add to the 4 strikers, the attacking options from Ozil, Ox, Santi, Jack and Ramsey and all the ‘we need a better squad’ nonsense seems just that, nonsense.
    Top marks to AW for assembling such a force and apparently keeping them all happy and motivated.
    Hope the Cech thing goes away, we already have 2 top class keepers, neither of whom deserve to be discarded.
    Roll on August!

  14. I love Sanchez. I Love Giroud. Welbeck has won me over as a guy, but as a player he’s had a too stop/start season to convince, yet !

    But as regulars on UA may know, my favourite, and first name on the team sheet (when fit and well) is always Theo.

    I think these stats certainly suggest I have a point and they sure as hell dismiss the fools that still doubt his quality.

    If he stays fit this coming season he will be a sensation. 20 plus goals easily.

    The Sun suggested the other day that Sterling was a £50 Million player and Theo a £20 Million.

    What a crock. The other way round more like.

  15. Love all our strikers, hope Theo,is staying. A for Welbeck will improve and add serious competition to HFB.

    As for Cech, when the great Bob Wilson says he has signed, I believe him.
    I like all our keepers, but welcome Cech, if Ospina really is off, thanks to a very good keeper, and good luck for the future, and hope Chezzer uses Cech as an inspiration to achieve the level we all know he is capable.

  16. WWC 2015

    Well, England vs Norway is on. English manager feels none of the Arsenal contingent are meant to start, but all are on the bench. Still 0-0.

    I am still hoping this Cech thing is a dream, trick or something. But, still nothing at the Arsenal site.

  17. Norway 1 England 0…off a corner, flicked in near post…thought the Norwegian player was interfering with the keeper

  18. Norway 1 England 1…off a corner, far post knocked back and in to the near post…not much for marking

  19. Women’s World Cup…No where near the depth of players as in the men’s game…Beyond the top few teams, the quality drops off…lots of poor first touches, etc. HOWEVER, absolutely no diving/simulation. It is very refreshing to see players trying to defeat each other and not the referee.

  20. Norway 1- England 2 good shot from their Right Fullback 25 yards out (Bronze)

  21. Pity few want to comment on Walter’s numbers for the attackers (or my rewriting them for per 90 minutes).

    As far as the WWC games goes, Arsenal had this quote:

    > The five Arsenal Ladies were unused substitutes as England secured a quarter-final place by beating Norway 2-1.

    Yes, all 5 Arsenal players just got slivers for their time today.

    Most of the game appeared to be the Men’s side, let’s bore them to death.

    Oh well, it’s their (the FA’s) tournament.

  22. Am hoping that all of them contribute their share in goals and hoping at least 20 each from Alexis and Giroud , and 15 each from Theo and Danny .
    With 5-10 each from the midfielders , we should be be in a very good position as far as goals are concerned.
    Do hope it all pans out .
    Up the Gunners !

  23. 50% accuracy for Giroud is just not enough. At some point a striker don’t need to win aerial duels, but just to score goals ! The first leg against Monaco was a clear sign to what can happen with a striker who does not get a great accuracy. He can miss 5 times a very easy shot. If we want to win the champion’s league, in some games we will have a very few occasions. That’s at that time that a striker with a good accuracy is needed. As cazorla said recently, Walcott is not a proven striker. So we need a new striker. Henry said it too. We son’t need to buy tons a player. Cech plus a striker is enough. Eventually a left back (as your stats did show it).

  24. I hope Cech story is a hoax. Can’t imagine either the younger and in-form duo of Ospina or Szech going out for much, much older has-been player. Not even for Buffon at 34.

  25. @Gord the figures you gave were difficult to read so that is probably why there is little reference to them. I rarely look at the stats because my opinions are drawn on what I see.

    Alexis is the rabbit – everywhere and is effective in most of what he does. He seemed to have been restricted from shooting – until the FA cup special. Giroud is holding, scoring & defending striker – great asset. Welbeck – still a rough diamond. He will sparkle within this squad. Theo – the best is yet to come & what has come is awesome. He has everything to make him one of the best players in EPL history if he stays with the squad. There is some good football to come this season & we will have compete with a new Liverpool who seem to be attempting to buy success.

    The only negative is the PGMO & FA in their poor management of the beautiful game. They may try to destroy another season with the help of their media pals whilst tilting the pitches for those they favour.

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