How Olivier Giroud scores 20 goals for Arsenal this season

Simple, he needs about 50 more shots. Well, 58, give or take.

Let me back up for a minute.

When Giroud came to Arsenal he had just scored 21 goals for Montpellier as they surprised everyone and won Ligue Un. But the first thing I noticed about his goals record wasn’t the goals scored, it was the 160 shots he’d taken to get 21 goals. That works out to about 7.6 shots per goal. To put some perspective on that number, last season Robin van Persie had 30 league goals on 174 shots or 5.8 shots per goal.

Giroud has been consistently a 7+ shots per goals striker. In the season before Montpellier barnstormed the league, he scored 12 goals on 89 shots, that’s 7.4 shots per goal. And of course this season, Giroud already has 13 goals for Arsenal off 94 shots. Which is an average of…7.23 shots per goal. So, doing the kind of statistical prediction that everyone hates, I worked out that if Giroud gets 50 more shots (give or take) he will end up with 20 goals for Arsenal this season.

Despite letting fly at every chance, Giroud doesn’t lead Arsenal in shots per game, that honor goes to Santi Cazorla with 3 shots on average every outing. For a guy who has 92 shots already in all competitions, Cazorla’s conversion rate is pretty bad, taking 11.5 shots per goal, getting only 37% of his shots on target, and then only converting 24% of his shots on goal into goals. This is actually a bit of a dip in form for Cazorla, who averaged 9.9 shots per goal last season getting 9 goals on 89 shots.

We know from watching the games that Cazorla tends to shoot from outside and it’s one of those features of his game that divides opinion. Most people like that he shoots so much from outside. I prefer it if he worked inside a little more. His hat-trick against Reading was comprised of runs into the area rather than speculative shots from outside. There is nothing wrong with having a crack at goal from distance every once in a while but you have to mix it up and right now he’s serving up far too many long shots which don’t bother the keeper.

The big surprise from the arsenal squad has been the emergence of Theo Walcott as Arsenal’s most efficient goal scorer. Last season, Walcott scored just 8 League goals on 76 shots. That’s an average of 9.5 shots per goal.  This season he has exploded and has 17 goals on 3.88 shots per goal (66 total shots). That’s such a stunning change of form that for him to go back to his 9.5 shots per goal average, he would have to miss his next 95 shots.

Theo is also super efficient at getting shots on target, 55% of his shots work the keeper. Suarez only manages 37% of his shots on goal and van Persie 44%. And Theo scores about 47% of the shots he gets on target. This is an important ratio because players like Gervinho convert 71% of their shots on goal, but only get 25% of their total shots on target. If you can get a player who is a 50-50 man like Walcott, it means that about 1 in every 4 shots is resulting in a goal and that is what top, top, top, super double-plus good players score.


In the end, I feel fairly confident that Giroud will finish the season with 20 goals to his name. There are 15 League games left, there are two Champions League games (at least!) and one more FA Cup match (at least!). That’s 18 games. And if Giroud can keep his form, his health, keep getting shots, and keep converting at the same rate, he will end the season with around 54 more shots. Just enough to get 20 goals.


*Yeah, I know. He already did.

30 thoughts on “How Olivier Giroud scores 20 goals for Arsenal this season

  1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Nikki

    Oh, I thought it would be a short post, with the answer point to the picture..
    If Theo has a 3.88 shots per goal, does that means he is the best in term of statistics? Better than the experienced Podolski? And speaking of Podolski, I’m still wondering why you, Tim, said that D. Villa is a better version of Podolski. I thought that Podolski is faster, have a better delivery and might just slightly less capable to convert then D. Villa. Finally, when will you do another scouting reports like with the Bony/DeJong/Finnbogason,it was a good work and very informative?

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      Theo is actually better than Podolski, yes. Poldi started very strong and has stayed consistent, but his problem is that he doesn’t get enough shots on target.

      As for the video scouting, I’d love to but they take forever to do and the transfer window is nearly closed. So, mer.

      1. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1CarsonWells

        Mer? You’re scouting Mer Pertesacker, 4ft 11 striker-cum-trequartista leading the line at SpVgg Greuther Furth?

        Fox in the box?

  2. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Yan

    I hope you don’t jynx him now! So re: walcott, it was absolutely super business that he signed da ting. How much would’ve cost us a replacement with those numbers? (assuming ther is one). I love Giroud. Every miss for him is like his 1-month-old puppy just died, and every goal is like he just won a trophy. Keep them coming!

    1. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Zeddington

      Theo has almost been like…wait for it…a NEW SI…oh nevermind.

      Re:Giroud, I just loved it when he ran into the crowd to celebrate the other day. Everyone loves him, and he loves them back.

    2. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      In terms of the numbers I posted, Chicharito is the closest player to Theo. Hernandez, though, scores a goal every 76 minutes of League play and Theo is one every 123 minutes. But Walcott also has 9 League assists to Chicharito’s 4.

      Both players are valued by Transfermarkt at £16m.

  3. +7 Vote -1 Vote +1Sari

    Hi, I’m new on this site, a tweet sent me to this article. That’s an excellent article you wrote. You’ve made good out of some boring statistics to present it as a very interesting info. I love it! It also serves as a proof that Theo’s deal is the best deal for us this season so far.

  4. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Danny

    I am almost certain that giroud will score 30 goals next season. (lucky with injuries) Every one of our 30 goal a season strikers took a season or two to get bedded in. Then BOOM! 30 goals a season. This season he will score around 22-23 in all the games played. Any player playing the striker role for Arsenal who gives 100% will get chances to score 30 goals.

  5. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Eri-nomics

    Fantastic analysis…can you by any chance post Podolski’s numbers aswel? Interesting to see who’s the more efficient, Lukas or Theo.

  6. +6 Vote -1 Vote +1ignatzuk

    Ack! It’s the kiss of death! Now watch him go and score 19.

    Meanwhile, I can predict with a 95% confidence interval that 100% of Liverpool players named Suarez will dive at least once on Wednesday to try to get Koscielny sent off.

  7. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1stynyr

    Let me back up for a minute.

    When Giroud came to Arsenal he had just scored 21 goals for Montpellier as they surprised everyone and won Ligue Un. But the first thing I noticed about his goals record wasn’t the goals scored, it was his ABS!!!!

  8. +7 Vote -1 Vote +1Eurasian

    Theo’s stats are so good because he gets higher quality opportunities than Giroud and Podolski; most of his goals are breakaways, although to his credit he has popped up with some scrappy goals in the box too.

    If someone had told me that the front 3 would have this respectable goal and assist tally at this point in the season, I’d have been well pleased. So it seems at odds with our overall disappointing season from an attacking point of view. The problem is that our forwards’ numbers are being bumped up by games in which we score freely against weak teams. Adebayor was similar in his breakout scoring season, with two hat tricks against the bottom team.

    I’m glad our front 3 are racking up good numbers, but they need to do it against the bigger teams, and against the well-drilled lesser teams. Hate to make the inevitable comparison, but RVP has not only shot with great accuracy, but scored at crucial moments and done it against tough teams. We are still lacking on that front.

    Our front 3 are also too reliant on someone creating the chance for them. The guy on the team who can best create his own shot is Gervinho, but the less said about that the better.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1ignatzuk

      Agreed, exept for the part about our forwards being too reliant on others to make their chances for them. Giroud, Cazorla and Podolski are all excellent at creating half a yard for themselves to get their shots away, and they have all scored goals that have taken defenders and keepers by surprise. Walcott has also been beating defenders for fun, falling over and getting up again.

      When we play well, we look lethal. With Giroud hopefully coming into form and confidence, we have a nice range of attacking tools. As you say, we just need to have the desire and focus when it matters.

  9. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1charybdis1966

    Good analysis Tim, but I’d like to throw in my two pennyworth on Santi’s poor conversion rate. Not so long ago virtually no one wanted to try pot shots from outside the area so opposition defenders could sit back knowing there was no need to charge down shots as we would try to walk the ball into the net.

    Arshavin, and now Santi, put some indecision in opposition defenders about staying deep as a shot from distance may lead to a spilled save and possibly a goal. So while Santi may not profit directly the oppo defenders will think about the possibility of a long shot which will make their jobs harder.

    That unpredictability is needed because tactics and strategy wise Arsenal tend to play in a predictable manner, with no variation to nullify opposition styles of play.

    So, in conclusion – shoot to thrill Santi !

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Eddykane

      Although the last few games have given us all a great boost, i think Eurasian’s point above is noteworthy. consistency has been problem all season. and although trying not to dwell on it, if Giroud picks up a knock i think we truly are screwed.

      Its fantastic that he and others have a hit a run of form at the moment but with the race for top four as tight as ever i do sense even wenger feels this is to much to leave to probabilty. at least i hope so.
      I’m in no doubt we definitely in for a striker. someone of quality but at the same time wont impede current crop future development. not easy to come by i’m sure.

      Having said all that am i the only one who’s kept awake at night by the thought that at the moment were only one injury away from Squillac i!!!!!

  10. +1 Vote -1 Vote +11NilToTheArsenal

    Most of us admire Giroud, but this qualitative analysis and appreciation of attempts, conversions and percentages is much appreciated and sheds some real numbers on a forward who could really be something special. His stats are certainly pointing in that direction.

    Come the run in this spring, he will be key for us.

    In other news, I’m looking forward to everyone’s commentary/opinions on Usmanov’s declaration we are a feeder club:

    And what’s with this rumour that Real Madrid are on the case again for Wenger?

    It’s never boring being a Gooner, that’s for sure…

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Tee Song

      Arsenal a feeder club? Sure, why not? In the sense that a feeder club is a club that can’t count on keeping its best players if another club with more money taps them up. Did we want to keep Adeba-whore, Hleb, Nasri, Song, and RvP? Sure we did, But, especially with the wage differential, it wasn’t possible. We’re higher up in the club food chain than Montpellier, Malaga (now that their sugar daddy has taken away the sugar), Cologne, Everton, Werder Bremen, etc. But we’re not at the top. Hopefully the new commercial income will allow us to adjust our wage structure to make it more difficult to poach our players.

  11. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1JV Mauer

    Re: Titi. When asked a question from a mobbed-up Uzbek, one is wise to give them the answer they wish to hear.

  12. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1jaymin

    Absolutely love Olivier. Gives us such power up front, he is everything Bendtner was becoming before he got stroppy, and hopefully he can improve on his finishing as he becomes more attuned to the English game. our Drogba, hopefully.

  13. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Cliffy

    Interesting stats on Giroud…

    Did anyone else notice the goal celebration for the second goal…??? The thumping of the chest and the thumbs down on the back..saying piggy back on me…
    I think only Henry did that often…

    4 months back people were counting hours and minutes since when he would break the duck..Now everyone is taking note of Giroud as a goal scorer…Between him, Podolski and Theo we have three unique forward players who can all take the centre spot.

    The difference with Olivier brings in is his effort and willingness to be involved in the game all the time. Both Theo and Podolski goes missing in some games but for all the period I have seen Giroud he has been there to recieve, retrieve the ball and try to get something out of it. We already knew that his off the ball movement was good..

    Not at all worried about Giroud crossing 20…I know for sure, given the starts, that he will be involved in the game and will get opportunities to score.

    Adebayor who could miss from the goal line scored 30 goals a season once upon a time..playing with Arsenal..Despite being 4 months into the league, in his first full season Adebayor scored a sum total of 12 goals and 6 assists..Giroud is already on 13 and 9..

    Am also Ok with Giroud taking 7 shots for goal…some of them are rather ambitious overhead kicks and flicks and desperate attempts to head the ball from crosses/corners…

    Tim, is there a way to find out if the attempt on goal was with head or feet? A funny feeling that stat should be interesting for Giroud…

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1alex cutter

      “the thumbs down on the back..saying piggy back on me…”

      dafuq? He’s pointing to his name!

  14. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Tee Song

    The frustrating thing about Giroud is, at least so far, he’s been very hot and cold, going long stretches without scoring and then scoring in bunches. Of his thirteen goals, eight have come in four games in which he scored two in each. And eight of his goals have come in this two game stretch and a three game stretch in November in consecutive games against Schalke, Fulham, and the tots. Plus, he’s had two six game streaks and a five game streak in which he hasn’t scored. I don’t know what happens during those runs where he can’t seem to score but he would be devastating if he could maintain his goal scoring form for longer periods and be a little more consistent. But then I suppose that’s why he’s a good striker as opposed to a world class one.

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