Who are Arsenal’s best attackers?

Posted: January 2, 2010 by iveseenthings in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

At the half way point in the season Arsenal are topping the charts in terms of goals scored. Robin Van Persie is injured yet again and there is talk, even from Wenger himself, of bolstering his strike force in January.

On the face of it Arsenal are doing fine without RVP. Sure, there was the initial wobble against Sunderland and Chelsea, but since then we have won 16 points from a possible 18, including important wins against Liverpool and Aston Villa. Wenger has said that he didn’t replace Adebayor because he has Vela, yet we have hardly seen the diminutive Mexican. Eduardo is beginning to get games and seems to be steadily regaining the confidence that took such a hammering from the snapped leg, then the hype about him being a cheating diving foreigner.

I have been looking at our best attackers to sort the men from the boys and to try to understand why Wenger might want to sign yet another attacking player. I have managed to get to the Emirates twice this season and have watched most of the other games on TV (I live in Manchester) and I do accept that there is a difference between hard statistics and seeing the beautiful game live. However, stats do have their place, so here goes…………..

In my opinion the job of an attacker is to create and score goals, so the table below shows  our best attackers ranked in order of “Goals plus Assists per 90 minutes played”. Straight away we can see that our best attacker is Cesc, closely followed by RVP. These are without question our top two attackers.

The bar charts show our best attackers broken into goals per 90 mins and assists per 90 mins:

Here is what I think the numbers say:

  • Losing both Cesc & RVP is the worst thing that could happen to our attack, and it has
  • Ramsey is growing into a good deputy for Cesc and should be given his chance whilst Cesc is out
  • It’s great to have Rosicky back (our 4th best attacker), but how long before his next injury?
  • Although Eduardo is a good striker he is not at RVPs level
  • Theo & Bendtner may become great but for now they are not anywhere near RVP standard
  • We need to see more “end product” from Nasri
  • Arshavin needs to make more goals as well as score them – he is less effective than  RVP,  Cesc and Ramsey both in terms of goals per game and assists per game, yet he is a senior attacking player
  • Eboue is by far our most effective attacking full back, but he’s off to the African tournament

Even though I am personally more concerned about how we will deal with the absence of Song, and who will cover for Vermaelen, Gallas or Sagna should they get injured, I can see the case for buying a striker.

Let’s face it, great as RVP is, he does suffer from a fair few injuries. I would go for a tall athletic player such as Edin Dzeko but I seriously doubt that Wenger would pay the asking price, and that is the problem – if we are not going to buy top quality then why not rely on the talent we already have, such as Vela and Eduardo? The teams that win the league have spent a lot of money on strikers (Rooney, Berbatov, Drogba) and maybe we need to do the same – one top class striker does not seem to be enough to get you to the top of the pile.

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  1. Good stuff mate : )

  2. Pritpal says:

    i’d go for adriano as he is everything we need and at the right price. tall, strong, fierce shot, can score goals, not cl cup tied and FREE! he could be our drogba, and i have a sneaky feeling that wenger might go for him as, bar arshavin, the players wenger normally buys we dont hear much about in the press as he likes to keep his cards close to his chest. also he’s ruled out dzeko, chamakh, huntelaar and balotelli, so who else is there?

    • Steven says:

      They are there and Wenger, just like he did with TV5, will pull off another coup that will make the whole EPL green with envy and the media look stupid as usual.I am concerned though that he is often relying on a very ‘thin’ squad and is often ‘forced to buy rather than something done deliberately.When Wenger goes for a player, it involves ‘covert agents’ watching him for nearly a whole season and gathering info. So let’s expect another Arshavinesque buy though I would also welcome a versatile CDM who can play as a CB to cover for either when we have injuries(meaning the player must be tall, strong and an energetic powerhouse) .

      Spending big on these two players is now the issue with Le Prof;he never wants to spend big to compete against the rivals.But if I were him, I would look beyond EPL rivals and focus on being able to stand toe-to-toe with the likes of Barca, Inter and Real in the CL race.

  3. nm says:

    not sure i understand the stats you have compiled…atleast the division by 90….firstly it seems wrong methamatically and…more importantly whats the logic of dividing by 90?the players have had variable times on the pitch and more realistically you have to use that as the factor to assess more accurately the impact of goals and assists during those times.what says you?

  4. nm says:

    my bad…you took the 90 mins as a factor for each players time on pitch…GREAT ARTICLE…lol

  5. Joel says:

    Great article, and thanks for the work, but may I suggest you go one step further…

    The purpose of attackers are to create goals and win games. In that respect, whether it is a goal or an assist should not matter, and the player needs to be assessed in terms of both.

    Per minutes played is good, but I’d like to see whether there is a difference between productivity in minutes from starts and minutes from substitutions — since players tire, it is logical to suppose that a substitute who averages 15-25 minutes per game would have higher productivity, since he is playing at his best physical strength, he does not suffer from season-long fatigue as starters do, and he faces people who have been running flat out for 65-75 minutes before he has to face them. I could be wrong, but it would be interesting to see.

    The other think I’d like to see is non-assist contributions to scoring, contributions to defense, and won-lost record for games started. In other words, Ramsey may have got an assist on Nasri’s goal against Portsmouth, but Eduardo made the play. So, you could count up goals scored while on the field, in which case Eduardo would get one.

    As for defense, the same goes. When the opponents score, everyone on the field should get a minus 1, just as they get a plus 1 when Arsenal score. One way to show the relative productivity of each player in a team context.

    That is borrowed from ice hockey, as is this: a personal won-lost record. For association football, I suggest this be limited to starts only, since they all play at least 60 minutes, and most substitutions are tactical, and dictated by the situation, which the starter has contributed to. This stat is useless for a player who starts all 39 games — his W-L will equal the teams. But for players who start 10-25 games, it is one way to suggest who is more effective.

    Presumptuous of me, no? Get to work!!

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