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.