During the season, many people expressed… disappointment… over the performance of Olivier Giroud. Now that the season is over, this seems like a good topic for a poll.
Everyone knows the Liverpool duo, Suarez and Sturridge, head the Premier League Top Scorers list. How poor was Arsenal’s main, and virtually sole central forward, as compared to the remaining big names in the league? Close the newspaper. Do not search online. Time for a little quiz.
I wonder how the replies are distributed. The answers are: Aguero +1, Dzeko +0, Negredo -7, Rooney +1, RvP -4, Hazard -2.
Here’s how to rate yourself:
- None correct: You must hate Giroud because of his good looks. Try to be more objective next season.
- Up to three correct: Sorry, work on your football attention span over the summer. Use the World Cup, for example, to hone your skill.
- At least four correct: Congratulations! You are a keen observer of the great game. May you use your talent constructively.
- All correct: You have a terrible crush on Giroud. Take a number, and wait in the lobby with the other drooling fans.
One might object to the use of Aguero in the comparison, because he was out for long stretches of the season. The same might be said about RvP, but in his case, his health history is part of the story. Indeed, Giroud’s durability was a big plus. At the start of the season, many people pointed out that Arsenal would be in trouble, were Giroud to be injured. Fortunately, that theory was never fully tested because, despite the work load, injuries never kept Giroud out for long.
One might also note that Giroud’s shot conversion rate (*) was only 14%, which puts him near the bottom of this ranking (along with Negredo and Oscar). However, the lauded Suarez, who converted at 17%, was not much more efficient. If both took 100 shots, Suarez would score three more goals than Giroud. Suarez goal total is so much higher because he shot about 60% more than Giroud did. In other words, quantity and slightly better quality made that large difference.
That comparison aside, how frustrated we fans all have been to see Giroud waste clear cut chances? Could he improve this aspect of his game? He did not demonstrate anything better in his two seasons with Montpellier, prior to joining Arsenal. Then, his shot conversion rate was also about 14%. In fact, in the 2011-12 season, when he topped the Ligue 1 scoring table with 21 goals, his shot conversion rate was slightly lower at 13%. He just shot a whole lot more that season.
Will Giroud get to shoot much more than the 112 shots he took this season? That seems unlikely. In an Arsenal team that shares the ball and has multiple attacking players, Giroud would not be asked to take most of the shots.
Here’s hoping he can improve his efficiency. Giroud isn’t the best, but his bottom line number is not that bad.
(*) I define shot conversion rate as: goals / (shots on target + off target + blocked). The most efficient scorer was Yaya Toure at 31%; he got 20 goals from 64 shots! The worst was Oscar at 11%; he got only 8 goals from 70 shots.