Friday, August 30, 2013

Giroud's poor distribution should encourage Arsenal to sign another striker

This summer Arsenal have failed in their attempts to sign Gonzalo Higuain from Real Madrid and Luis Suarez from Liverpool. They're currently rumored to be interested in another Real Madrid striker, Karim Benzema. As it stands, Lukas Podolski's hamstring injury means that Arsenal's only options at center forward are Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott and Yaya Sanogo. Injuries elsewhere in the squad mean Walcott's services are required on the right wing, his normal position. Sanogo is just 20 and was playing in the French second division last season. Early signs suggest he's far too raw to be much of a factor this season for Arsenal.

Arsenal's only real option up top at the moment then is Giroud. The French striker is having a solid start to the season. He's scored in both of Arsenal's first two league games and chipped in another in Champions League qualification. With Arsenal lacking depth in other areas of the pitch, some pundits and supporters have argued Arsene Wenger should focus on strengthening other areas of the pitch rather than signing another striker.

I believe Arsenal are most in need of an athletic, tough-tackling holding midfielder. However, to genuinely have a shot at contesting the league and Champions League a more well-rounded striker than Giroud will be required.

Although Giroud's finishing has steadily improved since a rocky start at Arsenal, he lacks quality distribution. Too often he gives the ball away. Last season he completed just 64% of his passes and had 3 assists. Arsenal's summer targets all offered better link up play last season. Suarez completed 76.6 % of his passes and had 5 assists, Higuain completed 74.8% of his passes and also had 5 assists. The distribution of current target Benzema offers a particularly striking comparison. Despite starting in five fewer games Giroud and making four fewer appearances, he had 11 assists. Benzema completed 79.2% of his passes and still scored as many goals as Giroud.

Arsenal are fluid throughout midfield with a number of players than can score goals. All three of their main attacking midfield players- Walcott, Cazorla and Podolski- managed double digit goals last season. If Arsenal managed to sign a striker that could contribute his share of goals but also add to the fluidity of the side with sharp passing, they'll be a better team.

Giroud's passing through two games has shown an improvement over last season. He has completed 72% of his passes. Still, 14 other Premier League players that have started games this season as either a loan striker or as part of a front two have a better pass completion percentage (Soldado- Tottenham, Van Wolfswinkel- Norwich, Van Persie- Manchester United, Dzeko- Manchester City, Aguero- Manchester City, sturridge- Liverpool, Berbatov- Fulham, Cisse- Newcastle, Michu- Swansea, Danny Graham- Hull, Sagbo- Hull, Jelavic- Everton, Chamakh- Crystal Palace, Anelka- West Brom). Benzema would bring at least as many goals in and provide the link up play and final ball to make Arsenal a more lethal team in the final third.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please participate in the discussion.