Revealed: next season’s line up: and it raises some question marks.

By Tony Attwood

Granit Xhaka made more passes (116) and had more touches (130) than any other player in the first round of fixtures in the Euros.

So what does that tell us about where he plays?  And what does it tell us about who plays around him in the Arsenal team next season.

The media, always believing they know more about the Arsenal team than anyone at Arsenal have come up with various approaches but the general view seems to be a team that looks something like this:


Bellerin Koscielny ??? Monreal

Xhaka Santi Caz

Ramsey Ozil Sanchez


Which leaves some problems.   The Telegraph suggested that the person they would like to see next to Koscielny is the Roma and Greece defender Manolas.  He is 24, “strong in the air, strong in the tackle”, and “wanted by Chelsea and Manchester City.”

Up front you’ll know all about the Sillyboy Vardy.  There’s a list of possible centre forwards, but none who at the moment are making it clear that no matter what they would love to play for Arsenal and have the ability to score more goals that Giroud.

But instead we get an endless list of midfielders who are supposedly coming our way…

Henrikh Mkhitaryan is one such – you will have read all about him on Sir Hardly’s reportage.  He’s coming, no he isn’t, oh yes he is.  Chelsea want him.  His sister says… You get the picture.

OK, let’s try another line up


Bellerin Koscielny Gabriel Monreal

Xhaka Santi Caz

Iwobi Ozil Sanchez


Just a little difference here because Gabriel is now considered good enough and Iwobi replaces Ramsey.

During the Sillyboy extravaganza another line up was mooted.


Bellerin Koscielny Gabriel Monreal

Xhaka Coquelin

Vardy    Ozil     Alexis


Now let’s start getting very adventurous:


Bellerin Koscielny Gabriel Monreal


Xhaka  Ozil

Iwobi                   Alexis


And yet another I have seen suggested


Bellerin Koscielny Gabriel Monreal


Alexis    Xhaka   Santi Caz    Ozil


Now let’s consider who is missing from these lists who we might consider a first team player

Elneny: won player of the month twice after his transfer, and looked superb in many of the games he played in.  Is there really no place for him in any line up?

Campbell: Seemed to slip a little way down the pecking order, but could deliver some great attacking movement – and score as well.

Wilshere: Are we waiting to see what he does for England?  Always a dubious tactic I think.  At his finest surely he deserves a place in the team.

Walcott: OK he slipped back considerably from his high point of scoring in the Cup Final but just as a player can slip, so he can regain his form.  It has happened before and can happen many times again.

Ramsey: Again it seems ludicrous to exclude him from the team permanently

The Ox: He’s top of the list for established players who might get transferred – it is the injuries that have not helped him.

Gnabry: Now an unknown.  Two years ago he looked certain to burst into the team.  Then went on loan and it all went wrong.  We thought we would get a chance to see him in the play off final of the under 21 season, and he was in the team but substituted just before kick off.

Toral: The player and hero of the year at Birmingham last season.   Is he ready to burst onto the scene?

With that array of talent, I wonder if this is what we will see


Bellerin  Koscielny  Gabriel  Monreal

Variable    Variable

Variable    Ozil     Variable


Now that is where people start jumping up and down about Giroud not being good enough because

a) Arsenal scored three goals fewer than the champions

b) He’s rubbish.

So time to sort of the statistics of the other top forwards.  Let us take minutes on the pitch per goal, since that removes issues relating to injuries from the stats:

  • Sergio Agüero: 99 minutes on the pitch per goal
  • Vardy: 131 minutes on the pitch per goal
  • Kane: 135 minutes on the pitch per goal
  • Olivier Giroud: 152 minutes on the pitch per goal
  • Romelu Lukaku: 176 minutes on the pitch per goal
  • Riyad Mahrez: 180 minutes on the pitch per goal

Now that suggests that far from being a moronic turnip who couldn’t score if the goals were as wide as the pitch, Giroud was the fourth best goal scorer in the Premier League in terms of minutes on the pitch.

True he took 17 minutes more on the pitch to score each goal than Kane and 53 minutes longer to score than Sergio Agüero, so maybe we could find someone better – but we are then looking for a player of Sergio Agüero’s ability and quality.  And they don’t come up for sale that often.

It is also worth noting just how much Kane has been drooled over by the media in England this past season, largely because he is

a) English

b) A Tottenham player.

But in reality although he does beat Giroud by 17 minutes a goal, much depends on the players around him..

One answer to getting those handful of extra goals we need is indeed to find a replacement for Giroud, but another is to change the way we play around him.  Consider that 4-1-4-1 format above which had

Alexis    Xhaka   Santi Caz    Ozil


at the front end.  Giroud can and does score goals.   With defenders distracted by Alexis, Santi Caz, and Ozil all doing their stuff behind him, this could indeed see a change in terms of the way the team approaches the game, and the resultant number of goals.

One doesn’t always have to change the centre forward to get more goals.

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41 Replies to “Revealed: next season’s line up: and it raises some question marks.”

  1. OT:

    What is it about Arsenal players, that opponents feel the need to push them into the advertising in an attempt to end their careers? Come on ref, give that DA a red!

    Competent medja – Guardian say Wales is wearing red. All the pictures show Wales in blue.

  2. I like your analysis however, I would ask you to consider taking it a step further and look at goals from open play per minute played. Here is your list. These are league goals only, which also favor Kane and Vardy because neither played a lot of games in the cups or Europe. Leicester didn’t go far in either cup competition and didn’t qualify for Europe last season and Kane was poor in Europa League games while Giroud was excellent in the Champions League and FA Cup. Lukaku scored well in the FA Cup but wasn’t in Europe at all and Aguero did not play a lot of cup games or score well in Europe.

    Sergio Agüero: 99 minutes on the pitch per goal
    Vardy: 131 minutes on the pitch per goal
    Kane: 135 minutes on the pitch per goal
    Olivier Giroud: 152 minutes on the pitch per goal
    Romelu Lukaku: 176 minutes on the pitch per goal
    Riyad Mahrez: 180 minutes on the pitch per goal

    If you eliminate goals from penalties, which Leicester were awarded more of than any other team in football, by double. Tottenham were the next highest. Leicester were awarded 10 times the penalties Arsenal were awarded. So many penalties are dubious, a lot are never awarded, and a striker may have earned penalties himself but just as likely didn’t. With goals from open play only, the numbers look like this;

    Sergio Aguero: 118 minutes per goal
    Olivier Giroud: 162 minutes per goal
    Harry Kane: 165 minutes per goal
    Jamie Vardy: 168 minutes per goal
    Romelu Lukaku: 187 minutes per goal

    These numbers are worth looking at because you can’t count on penalties but a player’s quality, determined by how often they score from open play, tends to be pretty consistent from season to season, adjusted for injury.

  3. I think we should have a look at chances converted and winning goals by giroud compared to those of other strikers. I think the fact that we create so many chances and also that maybe a lack of decisive goals by giroud is the reason many fans are frustrated. Maybe I’m wrong though.

  4. Paul35mm

    These stats, minus penalties, have been done on here a few times and I must admit to being surprised Tony didn’t use them above, because I think they are more indicative of a forwards efficiency than those that include penalties.

    But it is a bit of a minefield because I think others have also produced a table of goals scored per chances, in which I believe doesn’t show Giroud in such a good light.

    But overall goals per minute in open play seems to me to be the best barometer by which to judge the quality of a striker, and there can be no doubt that, despite the constant derision that Giroud gets from the media and AAA alike, Giroud is a fantastic forward.

    To me there is an elite group of strikers.






    They are in a class of there own and would all cost £60 to £100 Million if they where to come on the market.

    Then there is a level just under that who, should they come on the market cost anything up to £50 or £60 Million, in which I think Giroud would easily hold his own.

    Ibrahimović (at his prime would of been in group 1)



    Now I know some wont agree that Giroud should be with those but I believe his goals per minute stacks up along side them, but the sad truth is, Giroud is not fashionable and thus takes a constant bashing from the media so I’d be surprised if he would achieve much over £25 Million if we where to sell, which is ridiculous.

    Anyway Paul35mm, thanks for re acquainting us with those stats again as I think they are very telling and go to show just how truly underrated Giroud is.

  5. Paul35mm

    Just to reiterate, you are banging a drum I was banging over a year ago. The following I have cut and pasted from an article in the archives entitled:


    from the 6th of May 2015


    May 8, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    GIROUD, a World Class striker, and here are the statistics to prove it.

    Here are Arsenal statistics prior to his re appearance in the Manchester United game:

    Pl = 12
    Wo = 4
    Dr = 5
    Lo = 3
    Pt = 17

    Win Ratio = 1 in 3.0 Matches

    Goals per = 1.58 Per Match

    Post his appearance in the Manchester United Game:

    Pl = 22
    Wo = 17
    Dr = 2
    Lo = 3
    Pt = 50

    Win ratio = 1 in 1.3 Matches

    Goals per = 2.27 Per Match

    -Post Girouds return, we more than DOUBLED our win ratio and almost increased our scoring by as much as a goal per game.

    Now how does he compare to some other PL scorers?

    To give a pretty good indicator I thought I would use goals scored per minute on the pitch.

    The stats show: Mins Pld/Goals(pens)/Per Min/Per Min Ex Pens.

    Costa……1960 19(0) = 103, 103

    Aguero…..2270 22(4) = 103, 126

    Giroud…..1597 14(0) = 114, 114

    Kane…….2317 20(2) = 115, 128

    Silva……2391 11(0) = 217, 217

    Hazard…..3109 14(3) = 222, 282

    -When you exclude penalties, Giroud is the 2nd most efficient goal scorer in the PL behind Costa.

    In conclusion, when you look at how much we improved for his return to the side, and then look at how he compares to his peers it is simply ridiculous to question his ability.

    With that kind of ability to even suggest that Giroud is not good enough to lead our attack is quite simply ridiculous.”””

    ___ As you will see, excluding penalties he was still above Kane back then and was actually above Aquero too, although he was behind Costa.

    Well as we know Costa has given up footballing to take up cage fighting, all be it on a football field, and Aquero has, well, continued to be Aquaro.

    I’m not sure where it is, but I know at the time I did something similar to this comparing him to Benzema and Lewadowski, and he came out very well.

    Giroud is a top top striker no matter how many try to say otherwise.

  6. Pleased to hear our new boy Xhaka is doing so well at the Euros.
    Giroud forever!

  7. Thank God Vardy has leveled up for England to assert the believes in some quarters he deserves a starting role for England during their Euro games.

    It 75m into the match as I am typing my comment and is still 1-1. I hope England will find a way to score the winner in this game to bail themselves out of the hysterics taunt of the Wales players. 80m into the game and is still 1-1. England should win this UK home derby match.

    My propose Arsenal regular starters for next season if the Boss has his ways in the transfer market are:
    Sanchez Ozil Wilshere.
    Mkhiteryan Xhaka.
    ???? ???? Koscielny Bellerin.
    ???? indicates, to be bought in the transfer market.

    However, this doesn’t mean the rest of: Ospina, Szczesny?, Ospina, Jenkinson, Debuchy, Rhinosacker, De Abreu, Monreal, Gibbs, Ramsey, Cazorla, Elneny, Coquelin, Oxchambo, Iwobi, Campbell, Walcott, Giroud, Mavididi-promoted? and Willock-promoted? All 20 won’t be given the opportunity to start or come on as substitutes as the season pans on even if the Boss brings in Vardy Mkhiteryan, a top grade CB and a top grade LB to have the impossible 31 senior team players registerable with the FA.

    That means to bring the number down to 25, 6 of my aforementioned players have to either be dropped to the loan deals transfer market or 1 or 2 out of the 6 could be sold to recouped some money used in bringing in others. But The Boss doesn’t favour selling any of his senior players who still has a year or 2 to runout of his deal. But this Boss decision has caused problem for Arsenal in the past as we seen in the recent cases of Rocisky and Arteta who couldn’t contribute any tangible performance for Arsenal in the last 2 years of their deals, but the Boss kept them despite that their failures.

  8. Mickey, If refs actually started giving free kicks/penalties when the opposition fouls Giroud then the defenders would have to tone down the wrestling and Giroud would definately get a few more chances where he’s not being fouled at the same time. Although even then he wouldn’t get to Agueros level.
    Jambug, I agree he’s much better than the loud minority claim but I’d put him at the top of the level just below Benzema etc as a pure striker, however what may put him back into that group is his team play although to give him his due, Benzema is actually pretty good at that as well, just not quite as willing to make himself available as Giroud, whilst also playing for a team that refs will award penalties to.
    Zlatan would be in the top group if he could be bothered to turn up for every match (not just the big ones) rather than strutting around posing. Such a shame as he’s awesome when he’s in the mood.
    We do need another striker and as we’re no longer on our uppers, hopefully we’ll spend for some class (future or present class).

  9. Personally I’d rather see us sign great wingers which seem to be more available on the market this window. Surely Sanchez could thrive in a central role? I would quite like to have seen what he could do with Mahrez Ozil and Mkhitaryan playing behind him. That would leave plenty of importance for Giroud as competition.

  10. Paul35mm

    Aaaarrrrgh, so annoying.

    I was trawling back through the archives trying to find the comparisons I made to Benzema etc. and realised I had made a small error with the above stats back in May ’15 when cross referencing. It made a difference but didn’t change the basic premise of the stats, but in the interest of accuracy these are the slightly revised figures I also posted back at the time. Sorry again about that.


    May 8, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    After all that I forgot the goals scored and I also did points per game and got a couple mixed up cross referencing so her there are.


    Scored 19 Played 12 = 1.58 goals scored per game
    Played 12 Points 17 = 1.41 Points per game


    Scored 47 played 22 = 2.136 goals scored per game
    So an increase of over half a goal per game.

    Played 22 points 50 = 2.27 Points per Game
    And an increase here of nearly a point per game.

    Sorry about that.

    Makes it all a bit messy but it doesn’t change a thing about how everything gets better with Giroud in the team, and in particularly about how he out performs his peers”””

    —So as I said at the time, makes it a bit messy but the fact remains Girouds figures are good, and he IS a class act.

  11. Thank God Vardy has leveled up for England to assert the believes in some quarters he deserves a starting role for England during their Euro games.

    It 75m into the match as I am typing my comment and is still 1-1. I hope England will find a way to score the winner in this game to bail themselves out of the hysterics taunt of the Wales players. 80m into the game and is still 1-1. England should win this UK home derby match.

    My propose Arsenal regular starters for next season if the Boss has his ways in the transfer market are:
    Sanchez Ozil Wilshere.
    Mkhiteryan Xhaka.
    ???? ???? Koscielny Bellerin.
    ???? indicates, to be bought in the transfer market.

    However, this doesn’t mean the rest of: Ospina, Szczesny?, Ospina, Jenkinson, Debuchy, Rhinosacker, De Abreu, Monreal, Gibbs, Ramsey, Cazorla, Elneny, Coquelin, Oxchambo, Iwobi, Campbell, Walcott, Giroud, Mavididi-promoted? and Willock-promoted? All 20 won’t be given the opportunity to start or come on as substitutes as the season pans on even if the Boss brings in Vardy Mkhiteryan, a top grade CB and a top grade LB to have the impossible 31 senior team players registerable with the FA.

    That means to bring the number down to 25, 6 of my afforestation players have to either be dropped to the loan deals transfer market or 1 or 2 out of the 6 could sold to recouped some money used in bringing in others. But The Boss doesn’t favour selling any of his senior players who still have a year or 2 to runout of their deals. But this Boss decision has caused problem for Arsenal as we seen in the recent cases of Rocisky and Arteta who couldn’t contribute any tangible performance for Arsenal in the last 2 years of their deals but the Boss kept them despite that their failures.

  12. The analysis given on Giroud by Tony for overall goals scored and Paul35mm and Jambug for goals in open play are brilliant. That goes to show we have a class act who cost a fraction. If we are going for a striker/forward we need some one who can better what Giroud offers at the moment.
    Samuel, I don’t know why we need another LB when Monreal put in a awesome shift all of last season and Gibbs as back up. Why do we need Heinrikh as CDM when we have coquelin and elneny who did a brilliant job last season and we just bought Xhaka. The way Cazorla pulls strings in the midfield is unmatched, and he is ambidextrous hence can shoot with both feet. Adding to strengthen is the motto not buy a whole team and out with the old. Also honouring player contracts is something I like about Arsenal regardless of tangible contribution.

  13. Paul35mm, you’re a star.
    Your analysis makes a good effort of comparing apples with apples.

  14. Whilst I agree that Giroud is a very good player (offensively and defensively), I still think Arsenal will do better if it had a world-class striker. Arsenal is the most offensive team in England, we create more chances than Leicester and Spurs so an Arsenal striker should indeed score many, many goals. Even Adebayor used to score more than 30 goals a season when at Arsenal!!!

    Another dimension that needs to be looked at is the number of goals scored scored by a striker relative to the chances that his team creates.

    If we consider the following example:
    Striker A is given 100 good chances to score but scores 26 goals;
    And Striker B is given just 60 good chances per season and scores 18 goals.
    It could be argued that Striker B is the better striker despite scoring fewer goals.

    Arsenal creates far more chances to score than Leicester does. An efficient and clinical Arsenal striker should indeed score many, many goals.

  15. This week I’ve been watching some of Europe’s best strikers not score goals, but none of them have had the number of chances as Giroud. Seven by my estimate for a return of just one goal. By now he should have been the tournament’s leading scorer by a mile.
    People can publish all the stats they want to make him look a top striker, but he’s not. He’s just an average PL target man who’ll never be remembered as anything other than that.
    He’s Ok, I like him, but we need someone who puts away at least 60% of the chances he gets. At his age (29) he’s not going to get any better and Wenger obviously knows this otherwise he wouldn’t be attempting to buy Vardy or whoever else he has in mind.

  16. According to the BBC’s live match report, England’s first goal today was scored by Arsenal’s Jamie Vardy. This is courtesy of 7amkickoff who have the screen grab.

  17. @ Leon
    I wonder who was the last striker to put away 60% of his chances? His efficiency in terms of shots taken/shots on target/goals is in the same ballpark as all the EPL strikers ahead of him. They take more attempts and therefore scored more goals.

  18. Hmm, I wonder where Brickfields will turn up next?

    How are you on witch doctors?

    He said that

    Ooo eee,ooo ah ah ting tang
    Walla walla, bing bang
    Ooo eee ooo ah ah ting tang
    Walla walla bing bang…
    Ooo eee ,ooo ah ah ting tang
    Walla walla ,bing bang
    Ooo eee ooo ah ah ting tang
    Walla walla bing bang

    Another song form the 1950’s (1958). Slightly before I was born. Sat for 2 weeks at #1 in the Top 100.

    According to Wikipedia, a song so great, it was covered by Alvin and the Chipmunks.

    It would seem the song’s composer/performer, eventually creatd Alvin and the Chipmunks?

    The version I have is Don Lang’s I believe. Don Lang is from Yorkshire, and probably wasn’t an Arsenal fan.

  19. @ Gord – June 17, 2016 at 2:03 am – Am not too hot on witch doctors and other shamans running onto the pitch to treat players ,if that’s what you are asking! Very much concur with Moanin’inho with this one !
    Since most of the players are faking the injury , the old ‘magic’ sponge and the sight of a ‘like for like’ player warming on the sidelines , almost always does the trick

    Here’s a local guy ( a Bomoh .) who everyone is going nutty over !

  20. Wales Vs England.

    Of the 22 players on the field, Rambo was the best. Despite having little to no support going forward.

    You are right Tony, it would be absolutely ludicrous to leave him out. Hez a monster midfielder.

  21. Well Brickfields, the magic that song was about, was how to find a woman. That’s probably easier than finding MH370, at least for most (heterosexual male) people. I still check the news several times per week for MH370 news. Mostly it is junk, but I hadn’t run across your shaman.

  22. Arsenal 13.

    Was Alie’s push or Ramsey (into the hoarding) worthy of a red at the beginning of the game? I think it was the 4 minute mark in the Guardian commentary. I really thought the ref missed a good chance there.

  23. Zuruvi & Leon, Of course we want a top striker.
    The problem is that there are really so few of them and are any of them actually available.

    As mentioned above, who is the striker that gets 60% strike rate??????

    When he played for us Adebayor scored more because he got so many chances. If he didn’t get 10 chances in a game then we’d played really poorly in that game. Giroud gets far less chances and usually less clear chances.

    The point isn’t that we cannot do better, it’s that;
    A) Giroud is actually quite good (but not the best!).
    B) He’s better (and far more suitable to our team play) than many of the names being mentioned in the press.
    C) The best strikers aren’t available, or aren’t available to us, or are very rarely available to us.

  24. Andy Mac

    According to Opta the top PL goal scorers (big chances) are:
    Deeny 80%
    Krkic 71%
    Martial 71%
    Costa 62%
    Kane 60%
    I’ve rounded them down and these are only big chance and no mention of Aguero or Sanchez who must be a half chancers

    I did say Giroud’s Ok, but without Sanchez expected high contribution which was missed this season we looked a bit limp. I don’t know where we can get a top, top striker, but feel we’re in a better position to hang on to one if we do.

  25. Andy Mac

    I forgot mention that Giroud’s overall PL goals of 57 from 135 is not bad. It’s acceptable but not outstanding. Less than 40% I think, but not bad.

  26. I feel sorry for Giroud. It’s like he’s the centre of attention and negative comment. It doesn’t seem to matter how many statistics are presented proving his worth, he still gets criticised.

    How about this for a possible analysis of that France match? Giroud, with his hard work and persistent efforts, gradually wore the opposition down. He did not score, but he always looked dangerous.

    When he was substituted, like a true team player, he hugged his team mate coming on for him.

    Two fresh strikers, who had not performed very well in the previous match, came on and scored two goals.

    They got the credit, but the whole team, especially Giroud, created the conditions for them to score those goals.

  27. @Andy Mack, we are informed that Arsenal is one of the top 6 clubs in wealth in the world. And Arsenal has the big advantage of being a London-based club.

    Why then are top strikers “not available” to Arsenal but top strikers seem to be available smaller and poorer teams like Atletico, like Dortmund, etc.
    And why are top strikers like Higuain, like Griezman, like Aubamayeng, like …. etc. etc. etc. at smaller, poorer clubs than Arsenal.

    My argument is that if Arsenal is one of the 5 or 6 richest clubs in the world, we should be able to access top, top strikers. Giroud is a very good player but he isn’t a very clinical striker.
    We as Arsenal fans know what a clinical striker does. We had Thierry. We had Dennis. We had Pires. We had Wrighty. Arsenal fans know what clinical finishing is.
    Giroud is a good striker but not a great one. Walcott is a very good winger but just an average striker. Welbeck is a good and hard-running winger but just an average striker.
    All I would want (as a loyal Gooner) is for Arsenal to add a very, very good and clinical striker to our mix of attackers. I pay top dollar to watch Arsenal. We pay top dollar to Le Prof as a salary. We pay top dollar to Mr Gazidas. Why not pay top dollar to get a clinical striker if none is available on the cheap or if none of our juniors or wingers developed internally are clinical enough?

  28. Lots of people say that clinical strikers are few and far between and that their clubs refuse to sell them. Also, even clinical strikers go through barren patches. And what is a clinical striker as opposed to a striker anyway?

  29. What a nice coverage of the match. Some Spanish TV, the replays were spot on after every incident, no chat about the incident, they were just shown from as many angles as possible when a break in play. Commentators hardly talked except when match stopped.

    Sky and BT should take example.

  30. Tony you stated in your blog that Gabriel is now considered good Enough?Can I ask you what you Base that assumption on ??

  31. I find it amazing to what lengths people will go to discredit one of our own players.

    Over the last couple of months he has averaged just about a goal a game for France and finished the PL season well yet they still find it easier to criticise than praise.

    It has been shown time and again that his goals per minute ratio are as good as all but the very best, namely Messi, Ronaldo and co.

    His stats stack up with many others that are constantly lorded as ‘World Class’ yet all we get from some is:

    yeah he’s good but.

    yeah he scores at a good rate but.

    yeah he works hard but.

    But but but, there always has to be a but.

    Even if you’re correct about the amount of chances he has to have compared to others, which I doubt, who cares?

    Hadn’t it occurred to you that maybe, just maybe he gets so many chances because he works so damn hard and makes runs others might not?

    As for this 60%.

    The great Malcolm Macdonald said if I score 1 in 3 (33%) of my chances I’m doing well.

    Also I’ve heard people go on about needing a 30 goal a season striker. Well I’ve got news for you, at the rate per minute Giroud scores, if he can stay fit for an entire season that’s exactly what he is.

    How many would he get if he took penalties?

    Honestly, I just don’t get where some of you people are coming from.

  32. Leon, I need to look at those figures because last time I saw some reported it said that Aguero (who IMO is the best in the PL) was nearly 30% whilst the rest of the ‘good’ strikers were in the 20-25% area. I think the ‘Big chance’ bit is the bit that needs clarifying.

  33. Zuruvi,
    You may not be aware of this but Athletico and BvB don’t buy top strikers.
    They buy good strikers and take a risk which their fans will allow them to do.
    In Athleticos case it’s easier than BvB as they also have the benefit of being able to get work permits for south American players.
    So We can’t get South American players work Permits, although most of their ‘Top Strikers’ appear to be in Europe already.
    Our manager is under pressure to get results now, so he can’t take a risk like many other outside the PL can.

    As for ‘not available to us’ well my guess is that if Lewandowski does leave Bayern, it’ll be for RMad rather than us, although I suspect we’ll have a very good try for him.
    There are certain players Agents that the club will not deal with.
    I’m not certain but there are a few clubs I suspect we don’t deal with either, although which ones and their players etc, I don’t know…

    Plus, Would the two-faced Spaniard have left us to go to Bayern or RMad (instead of his ‘boyhood club’ Barca)?
    I’m pretty certain he wouldn’t have. Some players aren’t available and that’s that.

  34. Andy Mack, we are on the same side. We both want Arsenal to do well.
    I also think Le Prof is looking for a top, top striker. That’s why he tried to buy Suarez for £40m plus £1.
    I’m sure next time we will make a more serious offer once we have identified a top top striker (such as is Suarez).
    The “plus £1” showed us in poor light. Next time we will do better. A clever manager like Wenger and a smart director like Gazidis will learn from the Suarez experience. Smart people always learn. Fools never learn.

  35. Mr. Attwood,
    Your ongoing defense of Giroud never (to date) calculates or shows the stats on his Conversion Rate. You can but should not rationalize away his 15 games without a goal when we so needed it. His loss of confidence is now chronic, too often when it matters; his abject performance at the CL two seasons ago still rankles — even many French fans publicly howl about his howlers.

    Tony, you turn defense of Giroud into a defense of AW. A rallying point for the faithful. But why conflate the two? Even AW said at the end of last season that Giroud’s inconsistency (against the background of 15 goalless games and his last hat trick) is a “challenge” or words thereabouts, but an acknowledgment which you will not/have not examined. What good are 3 goals in the final game to pad the stats that you trumpet.

    The fact is, we have not replaced Van Persie (the abject traitor, imo). Giroud is not clutch; not clinical; not reliable even. You are a good lawyer on his behalf; but it does not serve AFC’s well being to keep making Giroud a litmus test hereabouts of being a real Gunner.

    I love AW, and it’s time to say he’s Plan B, or off the bench when appropriate and can be effective.
    If you were to ask Ozil why he is waiting on whether to extend his contract, it is likely that he is waiting to see what AW comes up with as a cutting edge. Ozil is the assist king, as everyone knows. Ozil is also leader in chances created stats. The number of chances created so outstrips the number of actual goals that it hurts. This said, do you really think Ozil feels that Giroud’s holding ability is enough to outweigh his obvious lack of clinicality? (Alas, so too with Welbeck, whose mobility at least can wreak havoc and pose questions. His injury is clearly serious and no one knows if he’ll come back even that effective).

    Giroud is not Plan A for Ozil, and imo should not be what we settle for – which is the upshot of your ongoing championing of this non-clinical striker.

    Why not give a balanced view of Giroud with your statistics? Where is his Conversion Rate ever analyzed by you? AW is admirably more honest about Giroud’s virtues AND deficiencies than you have been in these one-sided statistical pieces. Are you willing to lose Ozil in the long-term so that you can defend the whiz-dumb of signing Giroud, your cause celebre? That’s the game that you are enabling here. But it’s time to choose: keep Ozil via a proven clinician or Plan B starring Giroud.

  36. bob

    You can criticise as much as you like, but Girouds stats, as shown on here many many times, stack up well along side the likes of Aguera, Costa, Kane, Vardy etc. They also stack up well against Benzema and Lewadowski etc.

    His goals per minute, which no matter what way you try and dress it up, is what ultimately determines a strikers ability, is good.

    Answer this. Who would you rather have, a striker that has 10 opportunities in a season and scores all 10 (100% conversion rate), or a striker who has 100 and scorers 33 (33% conversion rate) ?

    I know who I’d have.

    All this speculation that if we had player x, y, or z, in our team he would score far more than Giroud, is just that, speculation.

    I have giving a link bellow that shows last years stats, including conversion rates, and Giroud sits nicely right in amongst all the aforementioned PL players.


    Yes, it is undeniable that Giroud had a rough period this year, but even given that poor run he still finished the season with very good return for minutes played. Extrapolated out for a full season, without injury he would of achieved 30+ goals.

    The one stat that the poor period drastically impacted on was the conversion rate, and guess what, it is that ONE stat, from that one drought, that you chose as your barometer for how good he is.

    Why not see the glass half full?

    Why not see it as he had a lot of bad luck during that period, with keepers having MOTM performances and hitting the woodwork?

    Why not accept he just had a crisis of confidence?

    No we cant have that can we?

    I remember earlier on in his career with us, when he was scoring well he had to tolerate the:

    ‘Yeah, that’s all very well but he never scores in big games’ jibe.

    Well that’s proved to be a crock of ****

    And the ‘He misses chances top strikers would never miss’ jibe.

    Yeah right, just google Benzama, Lewadowski ‘Howlers’ to see what a crock that is.

    Now, despite scoring at a great rate, it’s the ‘conversion’ figure that has suddenly become the ‘be all and end all’ as to whether he’s any good or not.

    You know what, if he improved on that stat I’m sure you’d find something else to knock him with.

    Come to think of it there is something, he doesn’t score anything like enough goals with a broom up his arse !!

  37. Corr: I meant season BEFORE lasts stats.

    Just to explain. I wanted to use that seasons stats to highlight how it is simply this years goal drought that has impacted spectacularly on his ‘conversion’ rate this season, because prior to that it was okay.

  38. jambug,
    Don’t go all stupid on Giroud: if he improved his conversion rate 50 percent, I’d be over the moon happy. This, because Ozil (and dare I say, Sanchez and maybe Santi too) would be happier; and we would have a better chance to keep him (them) on our side. Before you project your own all-or-nothing worldview on to me any further, and excommunicate me from the temple, please do try to consider that some people here can and do actually think outside your statistical voodoo and consider the quality of what he and Welbeck have too infrequently and too inconsistently demonstrated – a badly needed clinical edge.

    The team needs this; and your tribalism (oh sorry, being a “real” gooner) blinds you to what very many non-haters (I’m sorry to inform you) see very well. I value Giroud off the bench, situationally; but not as the go-to guy that you so revere.

    Repeat, Ozil and Giroud are not a Plan A combination. You can stick with your bromance and protect Giroud in wedded bliss; but the team that many of us love as much as you and for just as long needs a significant addition; or we will go down via excuse-making for what has been Giroud’s evident (visible) failure to come through when it matters, which is masked by his padded numbers in non-critical matches.

    We (if you’ll excuse that word) need something more at that position, and AW himself – who we, yes we both value – has acknowledged your boy’s maddening inconsistency. We have lacked clinicality in that position since Van Persie was last with us, and now, with real money to compete with anyone on a given player, you come back with a defense of the insufficient. If we are left with Giroud, my prediction is that Ozil will not extend. You will, imo, find solace in statistical consolation for not winning the league, last season and the next. We need to show the best that we can rise in our quality; not defend second-place. Oh, or is it that we don’t have the money to truly compete for a top-top clinician? Can you live with a post-poverty mindset that matches Sanchez and Ozil with something more than Giroud as their point man?

    I say, bring in Giroud off the bench – situationally; but pray, let’s buy a clinical striker in the starting XI. Oh, and lest we forget and erase recent history: AW did value Suarez, did he not? Or do you have a better take on the team’s dynamics than do Ozil and AW?

    Those who can see the man’s insufficiencies are not traitors to the cause of an AFC championship. Blindness to these problems and demanding we stick to the half-full cup you so prize will sip a poisoned chalice of mediocrity. It’s time for champagne – now that AFC can (or do those stats lie?) actually afford it.

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