Still Not Better Than Jeffers….

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Hello Everyone,

As I’m sure you’re all aware, not much has been happening this week in the world of Arsenal, the Suarez situation has gone a little quiet at the moment and the silence has left many a Gooner nearly losing their minds with frustrating over Arsenal’s lack of activity so far in the window. There is a growing element of frustration (and perhaps rightfully so) about the handling of the Higuain situation, and how those at the club have seemingly painted themselves into a corner regarding the Suarez transfer, with some even discussing who our plan B, C and D targets may be.

Given the current lack of real news regarding the Arsenal or our activities in the market, we decided to take a slightly different approach to today’s blog, and have run some analysis of our primary targets (those who are widely accepted as them anyway), our current Centre Forward and an option which many on the forums/fan pages have put forward (a little out of left field in my opinion) in Loic Remy. What follows is an analysis which will be split into three sections; their offensive contributions, defensive contributions and their passing numbers. All numbers have been taken from League and European appearances only, and any averages are on a ‘per game’ basis.

Offensive Contributions

Apps

G

A

Shts

Drb

Fld

Off

Dispos

Trnov

Olivier Giroud

28 (13)

13

7

2.9

0.3

0.6

0.7

1.5

2

Luis Suarez

41 (3)

29

5

5

2.6

2.1

1.2

2.6

2.4

Gonzalo Higuain

25 (12)

17

7

1.8

0.6

0.8

1.1

0.9

1.1

Remy

20 (13)

9

1

2.1

0.4

0.9

0.7

1.6

1.3

So, what we’ve put together above is a breakdown of some of the offensive numbers generated by the players we will be analysing in the blog.

What stands out right away of course is Suarez’s goal record; he eclipses everyone else on the list with 29 goals in all competitions. It should be mentioned however that he did play 44 games, with 41 of those being starts, which is also the most on the list. It’s also worth a mention the number of games he played in was influenced his suspension for biting Branislav Ivanovic, not injury issues. The next best goal scorer is Gonzalo Higuain with 17 goals in 37 games (25 starts), Giroud with 13 in 41 games (28 starts) with Remy footing the list with 9 in 33 (20 starts).

Luis Suarez is clearly head and shoulders above in regards to his total of goals scored, but as demonstrated above he takes a lot of shots to register that scoring record; averaging a hefty 5 per game.  Higuain’s well publicized efficiency in front of goal is clearly with his 17 notches coming off 1.8 shots per game, the lowest of the group. Giroud and Remy both averaged above 2 shots per game (with Giroud pushing 3), but failed to capitalize on those opportunities registering 13 and 9 goals respectively.

I found the assist category extremely interesting. Given Suarez’s high level of involvement in Liverpool’s attacking game (we’ll touch on that a bit more later on), I would have expected him to also be ahead in this category, but as you can see, this is simply not the case. The leaders in this category are Giroud and Higuain.

I wasn’t surprised that Giroud was a standout in this category, as his flick-ons and passing around the area improved drastically as the season went on, proving himself very capable of creating for others. What did surprise me was Higuain’s numbers. When we were apparently in for Higuain earlier in the window, the issue some had with his potential signing was his lack of ability to take part in build-up play, and the view that he was simply a scoring outlet. Although he’s clearly surrounded with fantastic players, which makes it easier to create good chances for them, he’s obviously capable of supplying those opportunities for his team-mates, dispelling the myth of him simply being a poacher and nothing else (in my mind anyway). Loic Remy, again, is at the bottom of the barrel here, with 1 assist.

The final area I’ll touch on in regards to the offensive numbers is the Dribbles, Fouled, Dispossessed, and Turnovers figures, as I feel these tie in together for the most part. The numbers demonstrated in those statistics show what we all know about Luis Suarez; he gets a lot of the ball, and takes on his man often, with mixed results. Suarez achieves 2.6 successful dribbles per game, being dispossessed at the exact same rate, and also turning it over at 2.4 times per game. So, basically, he will lose the ball in some capacity 5 times a game (on average). Now, this has put a lot of fans off the idea of Suarez playing in our offensive system, but a statistic that in my opinion is overlooked too often is the amount of times a player is fouled a game. Suarez is fouled 2.1 times per game, which, together with his successful dribbles demonstrates that he’s not quite as wasteful with the ball as some would have you believe, he may lose it 5 times per game, but 4.6 times per game he’s either beating his man or being fouled, which is often just as good. Unsurprisingly, there are no other real standouts in this category, as most of the other forwards we’re analysing don’t spend a lot of time carrying the ball/taking on their opponent. However, Remy and Giroud both lose the ball at a higher rate than Higuain who is marginally in front of both in the fouled and successful dribbles categories.

Defensive Contributions

Tackle

Int

Fls

Clr

Drbld

Blocks

OG

Olivier Giroud

0.5

0.3

1.1

1.2

0.3

0.1

0

Luis Suarez

1.3

0.6

1.6

0.2

0.5

0.1

0

Gonzalo Higuain

0.7

0.3

0.7

0.8

0.3

0.1

0

Remy

0.3

0.2

0.7

0.3

0.3

0.1

0

Let’s move on now to the defensive statistics, we won’t spend as long here as we did with the offensive analysis, but there are still some solid discussion points to touch on. Suarez leads all others in regards to tackles and interceptions, once again demonstrating his high work rate around the pitch. Playing high and pressing/harrying his opponents leads to him winning the ball back for Liverpool at an average of almost twice per game, very admirable numbers for a striker.

Olivier Giroud is a clear leader in the Clearances department, not that this is surprising, Giroud was often the man under the ball at our defensive corners, and his contribution in that area is highlighted by the above numbers. Higuain (despite being of similar stature to Remy and Suarez) is the next in line with 0.8 clearances per game, with both Suarez and Remy trailing. Suarez and Giroud lead the pack in the fouls per game category, 1.6 and 1.1 respectively. Suarez can be a feisty character so that’s not too surprising, however, it could be said that this adds to the amount of times he can lose you possession in a match.

Passing Statistics

A KPs

Avg.Pas

P%

Crs

LB

TB

Olivier Giroud

0.9

19.9

63.9

0

0.3

0.2

Luis Suarez

2.2

33.9

75.2

0.5

1.9

0.4

Gonzalo Higuain

0.9

18

76.6

0.2

1.1

0.1

Remy

0.8

16.1

78.6

0.2

0.6

0.1

Our final category in this blog will be our analysis of the passing figures of each player. Once again, Suarez is a standout here, and by some distance. He averages 33.9 passes per game (14 more than the next best, Giroud) and 2.2 Key Passes per games, with none of the other players averaging more than 1 in that category.  Suarez also averages 1.9 successful long balls per game, and 0.4 successful through balls per game. Olivier Giroud’s average passing (both key and standard) are very similar to Higuain’s, but where he fades away completely is his passing accuracy, by far registering the worst of the group with a an extremely poor 63.9%. Most Arsenal fans would be aware that a large amount of Oli’s miss-placed passes will likely be knock-on’s and headers, due to the nature of how he is used in our offensive system, but it cannot be argued that those numbers aren’t disappointing.

Higuain’s passing game neither strikes me as being excellent or poor, just average. He’s not at the level of Suarez, nor has he registered results as poor as Giroud or Remy (whose only saving grace here seems to be his high success rate).  As mentioned earlier in this piece, Higuain has demonstrated that he’s quite capable of knocking the ball around and creating chances, possessing an underrated (yet, not exceptional) passing game.

Looking at the above figures completely, Luis Suarez is the clear standout for me. The only criticism of his game that I have is his high turnover and dispossession numbers, but the other areas of his game clearly make up for this in my opinion. He receives more of the ball than the other strikers in this group, and creates more chances for himself and for others as a result. An interest point that comes out of this however, is his relatively low assist number whilst average 2.2 key passes per game. Whether that’s a reflection on the quality of those passes or the quality of his team-mates is hard to tell, but, as mentioned above, it’s clear that he creates a plentiful amount of scoring opportunities for his side. Furthermore, his willingness to press the opposition and as a result win the ball back is extremely important. Having Suarez and Rosicky press high up the pitch attempting to win the ball back for The Arsenal would be a tasty prospect indeed.

Gonzalo Higuain’s results demonstrate why the club were sounding him out in the first place, and to be honest, it’s even more disappointing that we missed out on him given the numbers above. He is clearly far less one-dimensional than some would have you believe, and is extremely efficient in front of goal. Whilst not as active as Suarez (admittedly, having less game time would have effected this), he still looks to be second only to Luis based off the numbers above, and would have contributed a lot to the team had he been purchased. If we were to miss out on him and Suarez, I would be quite disappointed.

The two remaining strikers put up similar numbers. I’ve personally had some interesting discussions with other Gooners over the last few days about Loic Remy, and whether or not he’d be a player I’d like to have at the club. Previous to doing this analysis I was staunchly against that, feeling Remy was an extremely inferior option to Giroud, and a target that Arsenal should not be pursuing. Having looked through the statistics above, the difference between the two is not as clear as I had originally thought, with many areas registering quite similar totals, with Remy having Giroud comprehensively beaten in regards to passing accuracy, and Giroud swatting Remy to one side in the assist department. I still feel Giroud is the better player of the two, and the better option in Arsenal’s current set-up, but there’s obviously reason for some to feel otherwise.

We’re keen to get some feedback from all the Gooners out there about this analysis. Who stands out of this group to you, are Suarez’s disspossesion and turnover numbers a put off? Is Remy worthy of a place at The Arsenal? Feel to leave us a comment below, or send us a tweet on twitter with your thoughts if you’d like.

Well, I think I’ve wasted enough of your time for one night, until next time Gooners,

Matty B

All statistics sourced from whoscored.com

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6 thoughts on “Still Not Better Than Jeffers….

  1. Have to agree that Suarez is the stand out figure. You’ve also quite acutely highlighted the fact that the areas in which he lacks, turnovers and dispossession, he makes up with his goals and mazy runs. You cannot achieve without risk and Suarez is a risk-taker.

    Remy I’d consider as a back-up plan. If we unfortunately face the scenario of picking up no top striker, then Remy would provide a good back-up solution to Giroud as he provides pace and threatens the opposition defence constantly.

    Like

    • Definitely. Suarez brings a lot of risk, but it’s stunning how much damage he can cause. I heard him referred to as a poor man’s messie the other day, and I don’t think that’s as ridiculous as it sounds, he certainly hard to nullify.

      Yeh, Remy would basically be an emergency option for me, if we can’t get Suarez or whatever the next striking option in line is then I’d accept him backing up Giroud.

      Like

      • The question is though, even though Suarez produces a lot of risk ON the pitch, is he worth the risk OFF the pitch. Many people question that fact and I’m completely behind them. I’m not so sure he’s worth that risk, but Wenger seems to think otherwise. Or does he? Is he willing to spend 50m quid on him? That remains to be seen.

        Like

      • That’s probably the toughest question of all regarding this situation to be honest.

        Can you overlook his past indiscretions if he doesn’t behave in the same way again? Is he even capable of behaving?

        If Wenger truly is willing to spend the money you’d assume he believes he can control him. But like you said, that remains to be seen

        Like

  2. Remy would end up being a gun under wenger plus we would have 3 capable centre fowards in Giroud, Podolski and Remy each have there own unique style

    Like

    • My fear is that he’s a little too similar to Theo (an inferior version in my opinion) to be a hit in our set-up. But if he were to come as a back-up option with us considerably strengthening other areas instead I wouldn’t be too upset.

      He’s show some potential over his short career, so he’s got plenty of time to prove me wrong.

      Like

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