Premier League Squad Review 2015/16

Mustard

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True enough but Arteta never really was anywhere Schweini's level in his better years. Neither will take the Prem by storm given age and injuries but Schweini will bring so much more to Utd than Arteta to Arsenal who seems to be kept on in some weird "he's one of us" kind of way. Bit like Rosicky.

Pretty sure this isn't the first time you've had a go at Rosicky, any reason why? You won't find a single Arsenal fan who is sad he is still about, he almost always plays well and often gives us the impetus we need when coming off the bench - he is great at speeding us up when we're playing slow or struggling to break down a team. He's almost the perfect squad player for us and I find the assertion that we're keeping him around for the sake of it a bit odd to be honest.
 

mistermagic

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Just don't think he's good enough to be playing at that level anymore. I also think that Özil's Arsenal career has been a stinker and I don't really get the praise he gets on here.
Gotta support your players, I get that and I do have a tendency to criticize top-rated players who have bad games every time I watch them play but just you could get better players in your midfield.
Squad is still quality though.
 

Mustard

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Just don't think he's good enough to be playing at that level anymore. I also think that Özil's Arsenal career has been a stinker and I don't really get the praise he gets on here.
Gotta support your players, I get that and I do have a tendency to criticize top-rated players who have bad games every time I watch them play but just you could get better players in your midfield.
Squad is still quality though.

Fair enough. Certainly he isn't good enough to start for us (or not fit enough) but then he doesn't need to for us as we have good depth on the wings/midfield. Realistically there are a few players ahead of him but we do lack creativity on the wings which makes him a good option to have.

The Özil debate has been done to death. It's not just here though, I frequent Reddit a lot and it's the same. He was definitely a lot better for us this season, especially after he came back from injured and bulked up a little, as well as being played in his favoured position. I don't think his lackadaisical appearance helps him.
 

thespus

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Higuain managed to score 20 league goals at Real Madrid alongside Ronaldo more often.

I'm sorry I don't keep a tally on how many times I've seen Benzema play, but considering he plays for the biggest club in the world, plays regularly for France and started his career at Lyon it's safe to assume I've seen him plenty of times. This isn't Liverpool fans becoming Hoffenheim experts overnight.

I remain unconvinced that Benzema is at the same level as the strikers our main rivals have.

Whom do you suppose we could realistically sign that's better?
 

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Transfers
Incoming:

Arter Boruc (Southampton, free), Adam Federici (Reading, free) Sylvain Distin (Everton, free) Tyrone Mings (Ipswich £8m), Christian Atsu (Chelsea, loan) Max Gradel (Saint Etienne, £6m), Josh King (Blackburn, free), Lee Tomlin (Middlesbrough, £3m)

Outgoing:
Darryl Flahavan (Released), Ian Harte (Released), Joe Partington (Eastleigh, free), Mohamed Coulibaly (Racing Santander, free) Josh McQuoid (Luton, free), Jayden Stockley (Portsmouth, loan), Brett Pitman (Ipswich, undisc) , Ryan Fraser (Ipswich, loan)


Keepers

Artur Boruc
Age - 35
Boruc spent last season on loan here from Saints, and for the most part did pretty well. He's now signed on permanently for a year. Brings personality, experience and presence to the defence. The "Big Pole in our goal" is still capable of days when he stops everything and anything, but also days where he's useless. For that reason...

Adam Federici
Age - 30
Federici has been at Reading for years making over 200 apperances for them at Premier League and Championship level. The Aussie stopper was Reading's player of the season last out, and joins us for free having run his contract down. He'll be known by some for that mistake in the FA cup semi against Arsenal, but he's been very decent for Reading in recent years and provides us with competition to keep Boruc on his toes.

Ryan Allsop
Age - 23
Our younger keeper Allsop has lost out as we've risen through the leagues. Excellent as first choice
back in League One, and at that point seemed to have a very bright career ahead of him. 9 months of Glandular Fever, a couple daft errors in the Championship, and upgrades purchased in his position mean little game time. Still a very talented young keeper for me.


Defenders

Simon Francis
Age - 30
Francis came from Charlton in 2012 for a token fee. Was intended to 'just' be a decent League One defender, before we had aspirations of higher levels. As it turns out, the bloke is a machine. Solid in the tackle, superb crosser of the ball, deceptivly quick and gets up and down the right flank all game long. Voted as right back of the season in the Championship last out.

Tommy Elphick
Age - 27
Elphick has formed a solid partnership with his Brighton youth team mate Steve Cook for the last few years. Signed for 200k a few years back. Of the pair, Elphick is the defender. Indeed given our highly attacking style, Elphick is often the only defender. I'm scepkical as to how he'll get on up here, the partnership that got us here may need to be broken up, sadly. He is captain, not easy to replace.

Steve Cook
Age - 24
Cook joined us for 150k in 2012 from Brighton to join Elpihck in our defence. Cook is less a defender, more a deep lying playmaker. Whilst he is reasonable in defensive duties, he's better known for bringing the ball out, and playing defence splitting cross field balls to the wings. Also has a useful long throw, which we use now and again to mix things up. Cook does have the occasional "WTF" moment when he does something really stupid on the ball which inevitably results in conceding a goal.

Baily Cargill
Age - 20
The England U20 defender is probably the bright light of our recently re-developed youth system. He played every minute of our Cup matches last season, including Aston Villa and Liverpool - and never looked out of place against them. He's a threat in both boxes, and is comfortable on the ball. The question is whether Baily is best off fighting for a smaller amount of game time in the Prem, or is better going on loan.

Sylvain Distin
Age - 37
Don't really need to introduce Distin I'm sure. Signed on a 12 month deal to bring some more top flight experience to the club, it remains to be seen if Distin is intended to be a regular starter at this age.

Elliott Ward
Age - 30
Ward has been around the block, mostly in the second tier throughout his career. Has some experience of the Premier League from former clubs, and will push others in his position.

Tyrone Mings
Age - 22
Our record signing several times over at allegedly £8m. The 'Young and English' tax certainly applied there. Regarded by many to be the best left back in the Championship last year, I personally wasn't all that impressed on the 3 or 4 times I've seen him. However, the one thing he certainly brings to the party is being a physical beast. Our squad isn't blessed with physicality and Howe reckons the technical side of Mings' game can be developed. Full backs are crucial to our system, and they have to be good in possession. So I'm curious as to how Mings will get on.

Charlie Daniels
Age - 22
If Mings is the beast, Daniels is the beauty. Diminutive for a defender, which is probably why Spurs released him as a kid, technically he's very comfortable. Excellent touch and spacial awareness, a sweet left boot,motors up and down. Not the best at defending mind, statistically more goals conceded come from his area of the pitch than any other.

Midfielders

Harry Arter
Age - 25
Arter was picked up from Woking for a fee of just 4k in 2010. Since then he has progressed exponentially, and is now a crucial player and one of the best we have. A box to box midfielder, highly aggressive with a tremendous engine, a bit of a temper and picks up yellow cards constantly. But that's the way he plays, he winds the opposition up by constantly winning the ball back. However I do worry that if the elite clubs are as heavily protected by referee's as I hear, then Arter will be asking for trouble. Can't wait to see what the Premier League makes of him. Injury doubt for August.

Drew Surman
Age - 28
Surman has some experience at this level already, although it must be said most of his career to date has been in the second tier. A quiet and workmanlike midfielder, does a lot of the dirty work and is good at recycling possession on half way when the opposition clear our attacks. He picks the right pass that quickly get us back on the offensive.

Dan Gosling
Age - 25
Gosling is another who will be familiar to many already, his career didn't quite take off in the way it was expected to as a youngster. Signed as a free agent following release from Newcastle, Gosling has a point to prove, and his fitness has (touch wood) been fine which was always his problem in the past. Has an brilliant knack for ghosting into the box unnoticed and bagging a goal.

Eunan O'Kane
Age - 24
O'Kane is a talented lad, diminutive and weak perhaps, but an ability to pick out a pass that is right up there with anyone else we have. Often comes into the side as a deep playmaker in a 3 man midfield when we use that system, and as a result we could see more of Eunan now than we did last season.

Wingers / Attacking midfielders

Matt Ritchie
Age - 25
Ritchie's rise back up the leagues since his release from then top flight Pompey has been metoric, and he signed for 400k from Swindon a few years ago. Two footed and plays on either wing, but mostly right. He's formed a partnership down the right with Francis that has been ridiculously fruitful in assists these last few years, both of that combination appeared in the Championship team of the year. Now plays for Scotland despite being the most 'southern' bloke you could meet, and had never even visited the country prior to his callup.

Max Gradel
Age - 27
After a year long pursuit, finally we've managed to re-sign Max Gradel. Max had his breakthrough season as a professional at Dean Court as a teenager, when he lit up League One working with then backroom coach Eddie Howe. He went on to have a productive few years at Championship level, before going to France and Saint Etienne. 30 goals in 100 appearances in the French top flight, with 17 last season, are handy stats for any winger. An established Ivorian international regular with Europa League experience as well, Max brings a lot to the table. Delighted to have Max back at the club.

Marc Pugh
Age - 28
Signed for 100k from Hereford, a tricky winger who has two good feet and loves to find the by-line. I was initially unsure about Pugh when stepping up to the Championship, only to be spectacularly proven wrong! The step to again will probably be too far, judging by our wide re-enforcements Howe also thinks this. I'd expect Pugh to be given a chance though, especially early in the season, given everything he's done to get us up here.

Christian Atsu
Age - 23
Signed on a season loan from Chelsea. Don't know huge amounts about Atsu, except those silly highlights reels on the internet. Flashes from his time at Porto as a kid, and at Vitesse in the Eredivisie. Certainly looked a prospect at Eredivisie level by accounts, but that doesn't always work over here. Didn't seem to get much game time at Everton on loan last season, it's said that Martinez didn't like his lack of tracking back. I imagine Atsu will see a lot of football here, in a squad setup to attack at break-neck pace he should enjoy himself. Initial signs from pre-season look very promising. Atsu and Gradel will give our attack quite a West African flavour.

Adam Smith
Age - 24
Smith came through at Spurs and had loan spells all over the place, including with us. Signing last summer to find a proper home, and has been a very useful player at Championship level. Theoretically a full back but plays wide midfield more often. His touch, pace, and composure on the ball are good. Often comes off the bench either using his pace to attack when we need a goal, or using his full back experience to defend when we need to keep tight.

Strikers

Callum Wilson
Age - 23
Wilson cost us £3m a year ago. A 20 goal + season in League One suggested Wilson had something about him, but no one expected him to make the impact he did last term. Instantly brilliant and weighing in another 23 goals, pulling Championship defences all over the place creating room for others. He's young, searingly quick, strong and aggressive. He's the player I would most expect to make an impact in the top flight and get a move to a big club in the near future. Call me mental if you like, but I reckon Wilson will end up on England's radar in the coming years, although he'll need to move to a bigger club first. Keep an eye on this lad.

Yann Kermorgant
Age - 33
The big Frenchman was a 300k January signing in 2014 and made a huge difference to us in the back end of that season. Often playing just behind one of our pace merchant forwards, Yann has an excellent feel for a through ball. Is also an areial threat for all the crosses our wide runners lob in. His career to date suggests the Premiership is a step too far, however I wouldn't write him off yet, probably our most technically gifted player.

Josh King
Age - 23
King signed after running his contract down at Blackburn, having reportedly been a target of Howe's for over a year. King played almost exclusively out wide for Blackburn. He impressed against us a couple of times on the left, seemed to be one of the few to get the better of Simon Francis at Championship level. However upon signing, both Howe and King were vocal about signing as a striker, King's original position as a youngster. He's yet another player with pace to burn in our squad.

Lee Tomlin
Age - 26
Tomlin is a £3m summer signing from Middlesbrough, having worked his way up through the league like many of our squad with Peterborough and Rushden&Diamonds being former clubs. Did well for Boro last season as they narrowly missed out on promotion, and adds depth to our options.

Tokelo Rantie
Age - 24
TK was quite expensive for us, around £2m, from Malmo 2 years ago. He's a bit of a fans favourite because he works hard and plays with a smile on his face, but sadly it's not really happened for him here. He's a pivotal player for South Africa and flies out there for weeks at a time on a regular basis to play for them. Then he'll come back injured, then he'll get some games and look good, before getting injured again. Another player with ridiculous pace, a few tricks in his locker, and is strong for a small guy. Is good mates with Christian Atsu so maybe some link up there.


Provisional starting formation *warning, may contain wildly inaccurate bollocks

--------------Boruc
Francis, Elphick, Cook, Mings

-----------Arter, Surman

Ritchie-------Tomlin--------Gradel
------------Wilson


All four wide players used very aggressively

Expectations

I really haven't a clue! The first time I'll ever have watch a significant amount of this level of football. I just want us to give it a good fight, which I have no doubt we will.

The bulk of this squad took stepping up to the Championship 2 years ago like it was nothing. Whether those same players will step up and be successful again is a big ask, but Howe has always put incredible belief in them.

The question will be: if and how we adjust our style. In the Championship it was all out attack and kept clean sheets only by virtue of keeping the opposition in their own half all game, whilst scoring 4 goals or more on a regular basis.

I suspect there's every chance we'll draw a lot of plaudits and get a lot of patronising pats on the head for being the little guys who play nice football, but at the present time I fear we're more likely to go down without a bit more proven experience in our core. That has proven very hard to fit within the finances. No existing PL side will let anyone in their squad go for a price within our range, because they're all loaded of course and have no need to balance books. So for the most part we've had to look at players stepping up, some of whom will work and others may not. I fancy us to be competitive and cause a few upsets along the way though.
 

Storzy

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Whom do you suppose we could realistically sign that's better?

No one and that's why I don't think we'll sign a striker. It's probably the hardest area to get a world class player in at the moment.
 

thespus

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No one and that's why I don't think we'll sign a striker. It's probably the hardest area to get a world class player in at the moment.

Would you prefer to stick with the status quo and sign no one, or sign Benzema?
 

Storzy

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Would you prefer to stick with the status quo and sign no one, or sign Benzema?

I'm ambivalent really.

A decent player, but not one that I think would elevate us to where we want to be. I'd worry that the money (rumoured £40m!!!) we'd spend on Benzema, would make it harder to react if a top quality player did come available in the future.
 

thespus

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I'm ambivalent really.

A decent player, but not one that I think would elevate us to where we want to be. I'd worry that the money (rumoured £40m!!!) we'd spend on Benzema, would make it harder to react if a top quality player did come available in the future.

Why be ambivalent if he clearly improves us? I'd rather have Benzema than no Benzema and £40m isn't going to ruin us financially even if he *only* scores 15 and we finish 2nd or 3rd. Last season, playing with the man who shows visible strain when players other than himself score, Benzema managed 21 goals and 11 assists in his 38 combined La Liga and CL appearances. I don't think the hypothesis that he'd score more without Ronaldo drifting centrally is unreasonable.

£40m seems a pretty fair price given some of the recent values (lack there of) at striker. That's barely more than Higuain moved to Napoli for and only £8m more than Benteke. Benzema is one season removed from featuring as the #9 for a side that won the CL (5 goals and 5 assists in 11 matches). He'd make Cazorla and Özil look better players and we'd have a significantly more mobile attack. I don't understand what this even means in relation to Arsenal FC: "would make it harder to react if a top quality player did come available in the future." Are we supposed to wait around in case Suarez or Messi magically become options next summer? If that opportunity presents itself, Giroud becomes the expendable one. We need to be ruthless if we want to reach our ambitions.
 
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smat

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I agree with Thespus.

Bring me the head of Karim Benzema (and the rest of his body if poss).
 

Storzy

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Why be ambivalent if he clearly improves us? I'd rather have Benzema than no Benzema and £40m isn't going to ruin us financially even if he *only* scores 15 and we finish 2nd or 3rd. Last season, playing with the man who shows visible strain when players other than himself score, Benzema managed 21 goals and 11 assists in his 38 combined La Liga and CL appearances. I don't think the hypothesis that he'd score more without Ronaldo drifting centrally is unreasonable.

But then what's the point in signing him? We already have players that can score that amount in the team, why blow a lot of money on a player that scores 15 goals?

EDIT: Maybe he would score more without nasty Ronaldo in the same team, but maybe not.

After all Real Madrid are a better side and are a lot better than the rank and file of the La Liga than Arsenal are than the mid-table sides in the Premier League. It's equally not unreasonable to assume that maybe it's not as easy to be prolific in a team that's frankly not as good playing in more tightly contested matches.
 
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thespus

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But then what's the point in signing him? We already have players that can score that amount in the team, why blow a lot of money on a player that scores 15 goals?

The hope that he scores more than 15 goals, obviously. Hence the "even if he *only* scores 15 goals". He has a better conversion rate than Giroud, not to mention his mobility would grant us several chances a season that Giroud's limitations make impossible. It's more than just an individual goal ouput. I'd feel much better about Giroud being our 2nd choice striker than one of Walcott/Welbeck, too.

If you want a more statistical-driven hypothesis, aggregated data for the past ten league seasons (CL-qualifying sides) suggests that a +1 GD is worth a little over 2 points to a Premier League side. Example being if you have a +40 GD you will normally finish with a little over 80 points. It's not a perfect science, but nothing in sport analysis is. If Arsenal scored only 5-6 more goals in the 16 matches they didn't win last season, they are/nearly are champions. If Benzema's worst case scenario is producing similar to Giroud, then it is worth the gamble to attain the extra 5-6 more goals per season. Particularly since no better option is available.

In regards to your edit about scoring for a lesser team, Benzema scored 30+ in his Lyon days - that's without the likes of Alexis, Özil, and Cazorla creating for him. He is a significant upgrade on Giroud; there is no reason not to try for him if he's available. Turning our nose to an upgrade at an essential position is not how we're going to win the league.
 
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Storzy

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The hope that he scores more than 15 goals, obviously. Hence the "even if he *only* scores 15 goals". He has a better conversion rate than Giroud, not to mention his mobility would grant us several chances a season that Giroud's limitations make impossible. It's more than just an individual goal ouput. I'd feel much better about Giroud being our 2nd choice striker than one of Walcott/Welbeck, too.

If you want a more statistical-driven hypothesis, aggregated data for the past ten league seasons (CL-qualifying sides) suggests that a +1 GD is worth a little over 2 points to a Premier League side. Example being if you have a +40 GD you will normally finish with a little over 80 points. It's not a perfect science, but nothing in sport analysis is. If Arsenal scored only 5-6 more goals in the 16 matches they didn't win last season, they are/nearly are champions. If Benzema's worst case scenario is producing similar to Giroud, then it is worth the gamble to attain the extra 5-6 more goals per season. Particularly since no better option is available.

In regards to your edit about scoring for a lesser team, Benzema scored 30+ in his Lyon days - that's without the likes of Alexis, Özil, and Cazorla creating for him. He is a significant upgrade on Giroud; there is no reason not to try for him if he's available. Turning our nose to an upgrade at an essential position is not how we're going to win the league.

The statistical analysis Smat posted that Giroud and Benzema actually matched up quite evenly. He'd certainly give us more mobility than Giroud, but much less than Walcott and he wouldn't have the physical aspects that Giroud brings. Maybe he'd offer a bit more flexibility than either, but then we'd still lose something. Whether it's Girouds ability to play with his back to goal or Walcott's speed and movement.

Arsenal already have the players to score more goals than last season, most of it does rest on Walcott not missing nearly the entirety of the season and Giroud not missing a fair chunk of it too. Welbecks a good squad player, but we had to rely on him and at times even Sanogo or Sanchez playing up top, because the two decent strikers we had were injured.

As for Benzema's goal record at Lyon, come on? Lyon were better than everyone in Ligue 1 at that stage to level that Arsenal will never get in the Premier League. Hell even moneybags Real Madrid will probably never get to that level of dominance.

Benzema is a good player, but not one I'm convinced actually does score the goals with the consistency that we need.
 

thespus

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The statistical analysis Smat posted that Giroud and Benzema actually matched up quite evenly. He'd certainly give us more mobility than Giroud, but much less than Walcott and he wouldn't have the physical aspects that Giroud brings. Maybe he'd offer a bit more flexibility than either, but then we'd still lose something. Whether it's Girouds ability to play with his back to goal or Walcott's speed and movement.

Based on one season. Look at the conversion rates over the past five years; it's not particularly close re: conversion rates. If we sign Benzema, he'll immediately improve our side's starting XI and depth - and that alone is a good enough reason to sign him, much more the possible upside he possesses when removed from Ronaldo's shadow. Turning our noses at Benzema because we think maybe Walcott can do a job as a CF and Benzema isn't Suarez is not how Arsenal takes the next step forward. There's nothing more I can say on the matter.
 

Storzy

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Based on one season. Look at the conversion rates over the past five years; it's not particularly close re: conversion rates. If we sign Benzema, he'll immediately improve our side's starting XI and depth - and that alone is a good enough reason to sign him, much more the possible upside he possesses when removed from Ronaldo's shadow. Turning our noses at Benzema because we think maybe Walcott can do a job as a CF and Benzema isn't Suarez is not how Arsenal takes the next step forward. There's nothing more I can say on the matter.

See this here is what I'm not actually that convinced of. You can keep talking about Ronaldo's shadow, but you also ignore the fact that he's the centre forward of a much stronger side in a league that is much easier for Real Madrid than ours is for Arsenal. I just feel it's as likely that he'll come in and score a similar amount of goals as Giroud would ultimately have no major impact on the season because of it. In essence I feel that if we can win the league with Benzema leading the line, we can win it with Giroud. So I am therefore not majorly fussed about Benzema potentially signing.

I wouldn't be disappointed if we signed him nor would I be disappointed if we didn't.

EDIT: lol we've completely derailed the thread
 

thespus

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See this here is what I'm not actually that convinced of. You can keep talking about Ronaldo's shadow, but you also ignore the fact that he's the centre forward of a much stronger side in a league that is much easier for Real Madrid than ours is for Arsenal. I just feel it's as likely that he'll come in and score a similar amount of goals as Giroud would ultimately have no major impact on the season because of it. In essence I feel that if we can win the league with Benzema leading the line, we can win it with Giroud. So I am therefore not majorly fussed about Benzema potentially signing.

I wouldn't be disappointed if we signed him nor would I be disappointed if we didn't.

EDIT: lol we've completely derailed the thread

We have derailed the thread, but it's a thread for predictions and discussions of a squad's strengths and weaknesses. A mod asked me to write a review for Arsenal (which sparked this debate) and I think the discussion it has generated is a good thing during the summer. The more football discussion, the better. We kept it civil and provided good viewpoints of differences within a fanbase.

I'll end with this (because I'm bored at work and like statistical theory):

2013 - 2014 & 2014 - 2015 Combined League + UCL Stats (Squawka) -
Olivier Giroud : 72 games, 33 goals, 207 shots, 56 key passes, 12 assists
Arsenal : 92 games, 166 goals, 1301 shots
Karim Benzema: 84 games, 43 goals, 209 shots, 123 key passes, 25 assists
Real Madrid : 101 games, 287 goals, 1863 shots

Data Conclusions:
1) Giroud accounted for 16% of Arsenal's shots; Benzema accounted for 11% of Madrid's.
2) Giroud scored 16% of his shots; Benzema scored 21% of his.
3) Giroud had an average shot accuracy of 46% between competition; Benzema had an average shot accuracy of 59% between competitions.
4) Giroud scored 20% of Arsenal's goals; Benzema scored 15% of Madrid's.
5) Giroud averaged 2.9 shots per game; Benzema averaged 2.5.

Hypothesis: If you extrapolate that the Arsenal CF averages 2.9 shots per game for 46 games (Arsenal have played 46 PL + CL games each of the past two seasons), that's 133.40 shots. If each CF maintained his conversion rate of the past two seasons, Giroud would score 21 goals and Benzema would score 27. Of course, that's assuming each was fit and selected for all 46 games, but their % of games played over the past two seasons are very similar (78% vs. 83% favouring Benzema). To add into consideration, Giroud is the highest Arsenal's SPG player over the past two seasons at 2.9. Alexis was 3.5 last season; Giroud's 2.6 with Alexis was lower than his 2.9 average, which means Giroud lost nearly a SPG with the addition of Alexis. Ronaldo has averaged just over 6 shots per game the last two seasons, nearly twice what Alexis managed. Thus I don't think extrapolating that Giroud and Benzema would average similar SPG totals as the Arsenal CF is unjust. I would even stick my neck out and say Benzema would create more shots for himself at Arsenal than Giroud due to his superior mobility and driblling.

To supplement, Giroud has averaged .61 key passes per game and Benzema has averaged 1.22 in the same time frame. If you divide key passes totals by assists totals, Giroud averages 4.7 key passes per assist and Benzema averages 4.9 key passes per assist. Thus, Benzema is not only a more clinical finisher, but a better creator, too.

Even if Giroud = Benzema (and this viewpoint is only found among a few Arsenal fans), wouldn't you rather have two Giroud caliber forwards than one? We might have won the league had we had Benzema when Giroud missed 6 months last season.

Higuain went on to score more goals for Napoli. Morata matched his tally for a Juventus side which scores fewer goals than Real Madrid and is more conservative. I don't think the "he's a product of playing for Madrid" really applies. Particularly when considering Benzema was prolific for Lyon, our only other data sample. In his final two seasons (aged 20 and 21) for Lyon, he scored 9 goals in 15 UCL matches if tearing apart Ligue 1 doesn't do it for you. Giroud played in Ligue 2 at that time.
 

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The conversion rate stats don't really do anything for me personally. Who's to say that if we swapped strikers, Giroud wouldn't have a better strike rate playing for the superior side? The conversion rate doesn't show the type of chances that are created I take it?

I'm not even saying that Giroud=Benzema, just saying that I think the difference is marginal enough that the end result is more or less the same come the end of the season so I'm okay with sticking with the strikers we have.

EDIT: As for the comment on Giroud's injury. I don't think we'd have won the league if Giroud hadn't gotten injured or if Benzema had replaced him. There were more than enough issues beyond that.
 

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The conversion rate stats don't really do anything for me personally. Who's to say that if we swapped strikers, Giroud wouldn't have a better strike rate playing for the superior side? The conversion rate doesn't show the type of chances that are created I take it?

I'm not even saying that Giroud=Benzema, just saying that I think the difference is marginal enough that the end result is more or less the same come the end of the season so I'm okay with sticking with the strikers we have.

EDIT: As for the comment on Giroud's injury. I don't think we'd have won the league if Giroud hadn't gotten injured or if Benzema had replaced him. There were more than enough issues beyond that.

I don't understand how you can point to total goals tallies as an informative statistic, but not be interested in conversion rate. If it doesn't suit your argument, "it doesn't do anything for you" - which is convenient. Conversion rates—significantly less dependent on the quality of the team around you than total goals—isolate the number of scoring chances for a striker and compare them with how successfully he finished these chances. Whether Giroud was playing with Ronaldo, Alexis, or in League 2, doesn't affect the clear cut chances he missed against Monaco (which is the biggest reason we didn't advance, if we're honest). It impacts the amount of chances he had, but Ronaldo standing 2 yards to the left doesn't keep Giroud from blazing over the bar from five yards out.

Benzema has scored more, shot more accurately, assisted more, made more key passes, and scored at a significantly better rate in the CL. He's younger, a better dribbler, and more athletic to boot. What does it take to be a "marginal enough upgrade"? We aren't signing Suarez, Messi, or Aguero. Or do we continue with the sentimental loser's mentality because Benzema may only score a few more goals than Giroud/Walcott.
 

Stevencc

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FIGHT. FIGHT. FIGHT. FIGHT.
 

Storzy

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I don't understand how you can point to total goals tallies as an informative statistic, but not be interested in conversion rate. If it doesn't suit your argument, "it doesn't do anything for you" - which is convenient. Conversion rates—significantly less dependent on the quality of the team around you than total goals—isolate the number of scoring chances for a striker and compare them with how successfully he finished these chances. Whether Giroud was playing with Ronaldo, Alexis, or in League 2, doesn't affect the clear cut chances he missed against Monaco (which is the biggest reason we didn't advance, if we're honest). It impacts the amount of chances he had, but Ronaldo standing 2 yards to the left doesn't keep Giroud from blazing over the bar from five yards out.

Because conversion rate doesn't take into account the type of chances that are being scored or even missed. It's about as useful as chances created, it doesn't take in to account how good those chances really were, it doesn't take into account the quality of the players around them. It can be useful, but it's not going to change my mind on it's own and not when there are also a lot of similarities between the two strikers stats in recent years.

Benzema has scored more, shot more accurately, assisted more, made more key passes, and scored at a significantly better rate in the CL. He's younger, a better dribbler, and more athletic to boot. What does it take to be a "marginal enough upgrade"? We aren't signing Suarez, Messi, or Aguero. Or do we continue with the sentimental loser's mentality because Benzema may only score a few more goals than Giroud/Walcott.

But I'm note sure Benzema will actually change our fortunes, so why would signing him be any less of a loser's mentality? Why is signing a player like that a winner's mentality?

Suarez, Messi or Aguero would each be amazing, but it's not them I'm comparing him to. It's Diego Costa and I feel that Benzema is more a goalscorer like Giroud than the he is a goalscorer like the Chelsea man. Costa had one great season and backed it up with another in a different country, he helped transform Chelsea into a team that struggled to break down Norwich to the best team in England and despite an Arsenal like flop in Europe, one of the best in Europe. Diego Costa is not like the three players you mentioned either, but he's a very consistent goalscorer and match winner. It's those very qualities I'm not convinced that Benzema will bring and thus I'm a little lukewarm on him.

Look you seem to be under the impression that I'm saying don't sign Benzema he's shit. All I've said is I'm ambivalent because I'm not convinced he'll kick us onto the next level. Therefore if it doesn't happen I'll sleep at night, if it does then I'll trust Wenger more than your conversion statistic. :hypo:

EDIT: Good lord I couldn't get the quotes to work :ffs:
 

Stevencc

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You thought long and hard about whether or not you were gonna put dots in there didn't you?

Did I make the right choice?
 

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For those of you that have done one of these so far, I'll PM you and it can go on the website blog in the next week or so.
 

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No fighting here, Steven; we save that for Manchester United fans debating the #brand. :box:

Storzy -
1) You say Benzema and Giroud have similar stats over the past two years, yet Benzema has eclipsed him in goals, assists, conversion rate, shot accuracy, passing, etc.That doesn't seem very similar to me. If you go back another season, the gap widens ever further in the favour of Benzema.

2) Costa is another player we can't sign - so why is that reasoning we shouldn't sign Benzema? You brand Costa as a "matchwinner" as if that has more significance than empirical data. Conversion rates are discussed in scouting circles significantly more often than intangible cliches. You label Costa a "very consistent goal scorer" - he's been a top CF for two seasons, failed to score in Europe last season, and has 1 goal in 7 international appearances for Spain. Atletico sold him to Besiktas a few years back only for him to fail the medical (let's face it, the man has an odd body). I'm not debating his quality, and would love him at Arsenal if it was an option; I'm astonished you label his consistency as a reason he's better than Benzema - a player who has regularly scored in the Champions League, Ligue 1, and La Liga since he was 20 years old.

3) Benzema is better than Giroud. Of course it is a loser's mentality to be ambivalent about singing him just because Chelsea has Costa.

4) I've exhausted my disbelief. If Arsenal sign Benzema, we should have a charity bet. I will wager he eclipses Giroud's most prolific season for Arsenal/scores 20 league goals/has a combined 35+ goals and assists in all competitions.
 

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Mikel Arteta and Bastian Schweinsteiger being discussed in the same breath makes me feel sick to be honest. This forum has attracted some wallies over the last few years.
 

thespus

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Mikel Arteta and Bastian Schweinsteiger being discussed in the same breath makes me feel sick to be honest. This forum has attracted some wallies over the last few years.

This forum has been around for approximately six months.
 

Storzy

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Thespus (yes with a capital t),

1) But still quite similar and the most recent is really the best judge (unless the player was injured etc...) as we won't be buying 21 year old Benzema. It sill looks to me a little too marginal to make a major impact

2) Costa's managed it twice in a row though and that's more than Benzema and I'd rather a player that's last two seasons were great than one where you have to go back 6 years.

3) I disagree, we need to finish above Chelsea and I'm not convinced Benzema would make it happen. Had he played instead of Giroud last season, I think we'd probably still have finished 3rd.

4) 35+ Goals and assists or the 20 league goals (your choice)? Okay go for it - EDIT: Do you want to add an appearance quota to the bet? Not fair if he gets a big injury.
 
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SALTIRE

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Getting Benzema would push Arsenal from being also-rans to title winners, he is a superb player.
 
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