Pitchside Europe

Why Giroud needs to up his game against Man City

Arsenal travel to Manchester City on Saturday in a clash that sees first take on fourth and also hands the Gunners the opportunity to extend their lead over last season’s runners-up to nine points.

However, if they are to get a result at the Etihad, where Manuel Pellegrini’s men have been in excellent form - winning every game and scoring 29 times, Arsenal need their frontman Olivier Giroud to up his game.

This is not to say the Frenchman has been poor this season, far from it. He has scored seven goals in 14 Premier League outings giving him a record of a goal every two games. There are many strikers who will be envious of that kind of record at this level.

His good, but not great, displays this term are reflected by his Squawka Performance Score. He currently sits at 360, which is not bad by any means, but it is only the fifth best among Premier League forwards. In terms of goals scored, he is the equal seventh top scorer in the Premier League.

He isn’t a prolific goalscorer by any means, City’s Sergio Aguero has 12 goals in 14 league games and Luis Suarez who is ridiculously lethal in front of goal at the moment with 15 in ten.

Giroud also does not contribute as much to team play as much as he needs to and his rival Premier League forwards do for their team.

The Frenchman’s efficiency in front of goal can be called under question though. Giroud hits the target with 46 per cent of his shots with 39 taken overall. Suarez has put 63 per cent of shots on target from 51 efforts and Aguero 60 per cent on target from 50 shots. The strikers Giroud needs to strive towards emulating are not only taking more shots but hitting the target with a higher percentage.

As mentioned his contribution to the overall team is lacking. Although his aerial duel success is 52 per cent everything else is below par.

His pass completion is as low as 66 per cent. While it may seem tiresome to keep comparing to Aguero and Suarez, they are the best in Giroud’s position in the league and he does come face to face with the Argentina forward this weekend. Both of the South Americans are better at passing than Giroud with Suarez completing 76 per cent and Aguero 84 per cent.

This pattern extends to key passes, Giroud making 20, with four assists, Suarez 27, although with only two assists and Aguero 23, setting up four goals.

Manchester City are dangerous at home and Arsenal will need to be on top of their game to win this one, or at least come away with a point which will not damage their lead over the Citizens. It is one thing beating Hull City Tigers or Southampton at home, it is another to win at the Etihad.

While Manchester City have scored 29 at home in the league this season they have also only conceded twice.

Giroud must therefore up his game if Arsenal are to come away from there with anything. He needs to start being more productive in front of goal, offer more to the team, or ideally both.