Tag Archives: Robin Van Persie

Robin van Persie V Olivier Giroud

I always find debates about which player is better interesting, as the majority of the time the view point is subjective. It is always hard to compare players from different eras, playing in different teams, and maybe even with different roles.

Is it fair to compare Pele to Lionel Messi, for example? They might have both played football, but the era’s are so far apart, it is almost like a different sport.

Comparing Sir Donald Bradman to Sachin Tendulkar. Both brilliant cricketers, but the game changed so much, with changes in technology, rules and covered pitches. The same is in boxing, and cycling, and any other sport.

Then you have the role players play. Look at Dennis Bergkamp. His goals to games is fairly poor. 1 in 3.53 for The Arsenal. That is poor for a striker. But than Bergkamp was not a proper striker. He was a Number 10 before Number 10’s became en vogue. Should you be comparing Bergkamp to the likes of Ian Wright and Thierry Henry, or do you compare him to someone like Mesut Ozil?

Without a doubt he was a genius player. A unique player. One of our greatest, one of our best, ever. But it is hard to compare him to anyone, as there is no one comparable.

Saying that, a lot of the time you can compare players. Such as goal scorers. Want to know who the better goal scorer is? Look at goals to games. How many did they score?

Of course, even with this, things are more complicated these days. Those that are stats obsessed start to bring up data such as goals per minute, rather than goals per game. They look at chances taken, with the view being someone who scores 1 in a game when he has just 2 chances is better than one who scored 2 goals in a game where he had 10 chances.

The latest stat loved by the BBC is ‘expected goals’.

The factors taken into account when assessing the quality of a chance include:

  • Distance from goal
  • Angle of the shot
  • Did the chance fall at the player’s feet or was it a header?
  • Was it a one on one?
  • What was the assist like? (eg long ball, cross, through ball, pull-back)
  • In what passage of play did it happen? (eg open play, direct free-kick, corner kick)
  • Has the player just beaten an opponent?
  • Is it a rebound?

The idea is that a top player will score goals that are not expected, whilst an average one will only score goals that Harry Redknapp’s mum would score.

A lot of the time, when reviewing a player, people think of style of substance. They remember the skilful players, they remember the goals hit from distance. The amazing shots, the screamers, the goals of the month. But they ignore the players who are efficient, who get the goals without doing much flashy.

The Theo Walcott v Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain debate was always one about style of substance.

In Walcott you had an ugly player. A frustrating player. Meanwhile Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was stylish. He purred with class, going past players without them being their, cross field pings passes. You could make a good highlights reel with Oxlade-Chamberlain , not so much Walcott.

But then Walcott scored 19 goals last season, Oxlade-Chamberlain just 6. And whilst Walcott averages a goal every 3.62 games, Oxlade-Chamberlain averages 1 in 9.9.

I always remember debates with Spurs fans. They would claim that Andros Townsend is better than Theo Walcott. They remember him constantly cutting inside and sticking one in the top corner. But it was not constantly. There mind was playing tricks on them.

Townsend has just 12 Premier League goals to his name. Walcott has 65.

Another one is Mesut Ozil. Our friends over at GunnersTown wrote this interesting piece. The premise was the Ozil ,or his eventual replacement, neds to be a midfielder who scores more rather than passes well. That he needs to be more like Christian Erickson. More like Santi Cazorla.

Christian Eriksen – 1 / 4.24

Santi Cazorla – 1 / 5.16

Mesut Ozil – 1 / 5.26

There is not too much in the statistics. Ericksen does outscore Ozil, but not by much, over a 38 game season, it equates to about 1 goal more. And Ozil and Santi Cazorla have a similar record.

The difference is both Erickson and Cazorla stick them in the top corner from 30 yards out. Ozil does not. You forget when Ozil scores goals. Cazorla and Ericksen’s become goal of the month nominees.

This all leads to the comparison between Olivier Giroud and Robin van Persie.

Both are very different in the way they play, but both have been first choice striker at Arsenal, Giroud followed on from van Persie.

Now most Arsenal fans would put van Persie down as the better player. The better goal scorer. The more influential player. They will say he did more at Arsenal, achieved more at Arsenal, than Olivier Grioud. The lamppost.

But then Giroud scored his 100th goal for Arsenal on Thursday night. His 100th goal coming for Arsenal from 1 less game than Robin van Persie.

There are of course some caveats.

van Persie joined Arsenal younger, often played behind the striker or out wide in his early games. He was not the complete player, the senior professional ,that Olivier Giroud was when he joined.

On the other side of the coin, of his 237 appearances for Arsenal, 75 came from the bench. That is 32% of his appearances. Meanwhile, throughout his entire career, just 23% of van Persie’s appearances came from the bench.

Giroud: 100 goals in 237 games

van Persie: 100 goals in 236 games

It is a statistic that would have surprised a lot of fans. But it is due to van Persie have the style. His goals were memorable. They were brilliant. Whilst Giroud just does those flicky goals to the inside of the near post goals. But they both score.

van Persie kicked on after his first 100 goals. He ended up with 132 goals in 278 games, lowering his overall games per goal to 1 in 2.1. His final 32 goals for the club coming in just 42 games, before leaving for Man U.

It does not matter what goals you score, it matters what you win a pal of mine said when the Giroud v van Persie debate came up in a Whatsapp debate. He was trying to say that it did not matter that Giroud had scored his 100 goals quicker, as what really matter is what they won.

In 5 years at Arsenal, Olivier Giroud has won 3 FA Cups. In 8 years at Arsenal, Robin van Persie won a single FA Cup, of which he came on in the 86th minute.

So it brings me to a conclusion.

Robin van Persie or Olivier Giroud?



Man Utd 1 The Arsenal 0 – Heads up everyone, We deserved a draw

Confidence is a funny old thing isn’t it.

There were a lot of Arsenal fans speaking to me yesterday and in the days leading up to the game about how they thought we would win and we finally had the chance to go to Old Trafford and get a result. Don’t get me wrong I love the confidence but we shouldn’t get too far ahead of ourselves. We have had an amazing start to the season, an amazing week with the wins against Liverpool and Dortmund but if this loss brings us all a little closer to earth I don’t think that’s such a bad thing.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Being a fan that goes to games my opinion always seems to change, if only slightly, after I see the game or highlights back. There is always something else you see, something you wouldn’t have noticed or taking in when at the game. I was at the game yesterday and came away thinking we were poor, we had a go in the second half and should have taken one of our chances to get a point, but ultimately I didn’t think we did enough.

After watching it back on TV I changed my opinion slightly and think we did ok. We had a lot of the ball and restricted them to a few opportunities, it wasn’t the best game but we were not as bad as first thought. The second half was better than the first with chances coming and we moved the ball around better. Although we had possession we struggled to get going in the final third, chances and creativity were lacking, we just wasn’t as fluid as we have been so far. We didn’t drive forward as I would have liked us to. The flu virus that hit the camp meant we lost Per and Rosicky which were 2 big blows. It meant our midfield had Ramsey on the right with Flamini and Mikel holding the line which didn’t help us at all. Ramsey cannot create on the right, he needs to be in the middle and it shows Wenger knows that when he finally switched it later on and put him back in there. Rosicky has been excellent in recent games and we missed him yesterday, he has been doing so well in getting the team forward, the way he gets his head up and drives is a big positive and when he is not playing we miss that. We did so much better when Jack came on, we moved forward and made those chances, he took Ozil’s position in the number 10 role and played it better than the German had. Stories coming out this morning about how Ozil was also hit by the virus are yet to be confirmed but it would explain a lot as I think he was missing a lot of the time. When he was out on the right he got more of the ball and looked better, maybe Jack should have started in front of Ozil if he was ill.

Giroud did well up front working hard for everything, trying to hold it up and bring other players in but when we have no midfielders driving on to join him he is always going to struggle. There were a couple of times when he got the ball and could have looked up to drive on himself but he doesn’t have that pace, he doesn’t have that game in him unlike Suarez for example. He can get the ball anywhere on the pitch get his head up and run forward. We do need another striker and it has to be someone different to Giroud, someone with pace and skill to run at defenders and finish. I think Bendtners time has come to an end, I get the feeling from Wenger that he really doesn’t want to put him on but has no other option. That is his own fault however and should have brought someone in when he had the chance in the summer. Bendtner was ready to go and has released more stupid quotes this week slagging off the club, saying about how he wanted to go, he clearly doesn’t want to be here and we don’t want him here. Get rid ASAP please.

I think the defence look solid and felt comfortable together, they did very well considering the late change and playing against two quality players in Van Persie and Rooney they had to be on top form. We have been accused of not being tight enough at the back recently but you can see the improvement the defence has made. Vermaelen came in and did well alongside Koscielny, Sagna and Gibbs on the widths also impressed and deserve credit.

I don’t think United looked that dangerous at all and we defended against them well especially without Per. That loss was huge for us and the reason we went 0-1 down. Had he been on the pitch there is no way RVP would have got up to that ball to head it in. They didn’t do a lot and it was a pretty even game barring a few instances. We were unlucky and should have taken a draw. We had a few big chances, Sagnas crosses late on were incredibly good and we should have got on the end of one of them, Ozil’s shot which he should have hit across the keeper, Giroud should have pulled the trigger instead of taking another touch and there were a few other occasions, Ozil exchanging passes with Giroud, if only he carried on the run he could have been in.

Overall I’m disappointed as I think we were due a draw but the most important thing is to get our heads up and look to the next game. We have to remember that we were missing Per, Rosicky, Theo, Chamberlain and Jack didn’t even play the first half. This result doesn’t make us a bad side and we will see how we respond next against Southampton at home.

Something I have to mention is how many Manc fans are on the train to and from Euston. It must be embarrassing for United as a club to know that so many fans come up from London on the train for their home games. My train was packed with them and I have seen it before from when we have been up there but it still shocks me every time. There were 2 youngsters at London Bridge who had come from Euston, they obviously live in South London somewhere and travelled the length of the country to watch United. Why they don’t support a London club is beyond me! Tells you everything you need to know about their fans, late comers and glory hunters.

Heads up Gooners, onto the next one
Up The Arsenal!



10 Reasons why we will beat Man Utd + starting 11 + today’s Poppy Shirt


1.. Have to say it but Wenger was right to highlight referees and Old Trafford. Young’s dive last week was a disgrace to football and it’s far from the first time a ref has been conned at that ground.

2.. Clean sheets Vs the inform Liverpool strikeforce and away at Dortmund will give our back 5 enough confidence to keep out RVP and Rooney.

3.. Gibbs got another call up to the full England squad, I’m so happy for him. I said at the start of the season if he can keep fit he would be an outside chance to go the World Cup in the summer and he keeps this up it will be hard for Roy not to take him.

4.. Kos and Per are fast becoming the best CB pairing in the country, they have cut out the silly mistakes, hold a higher line than before (Bould’s influence ?) and as important have total faith in the keeper behind them.

5.. I have always believed that every great team has a great spine to it, Eg Seaman,Adams,Vieira,Henry. For the first season in a long time we look like in Chesney,Per,Arteta,Giroud we have a good spine to the side.

6.. Man Utd’s Prem record this season, played 10, won 5, drawn 2 lost 3. They lost at home to WBA, away to Liverpool and got spanked at Man City.

7.. Rio Ferdinand will struggle with Giroud’s strength today and I cant wait to see Ramsey run through him like he’s not there.

8.. Ozil, even when he’s having a quiet game he’s good. If he’s not slipping down the right he is keeping the ball wisely whilst we have possession and as importantly just having him on the pitch gives the opposition something to think about and our other players more space.

9.. Flamini and Wilshere are both in the squad, expect both to start on the bench.

10.. Wenger Knows, the way he has been treated personally at this ground, by fans, staff and the ref’s has been disgusting. Let’s hope today he gets some revenge on the pitch.

Likely starting XI – Chesney, Gibbs, Kos, Per, Sagna, Arteta, Ramsey, Rosicky, Sanit, Ozil, Giroud