So we have a short break for the World Cup qualifiers. A time to dwell on an almost unprecedented 3 clean sheets, and on the success at Anfield. A period for us to bask in the majesty of Arteta, the technique and grace of Diaby, the brilliance of Santi and the industry and precision of Podolski. A few weeks ahead of the Saints at home to ponder where Jack Wilshere fits and whether Koscielny should come straight back in. A lull during which we can all marvel at the impact of one of our own , Stevie Bould.
So as we have this period without the cut and thrust of the Premiership, when our only passing interest is where and when the Ox and Theo play for England, this blog will also depart from the present day EPL. Today is to glory in some of the heroes of our past as well as some of the anti-heroes of our here and now. A piece in part of inspired by some twitter conversations of who is better, Cazorla or Fabregas, as well as the gross irritation of our recently departed skipper.
So for some the RVP hatrick at St Mary’s detracted from the Warm fuzzy glow we felt at our performance against Liverpool. It should have done but only because it meant a title rival secured 3 unlikely points, when with 10 minutes remaining no points looked probable. For me who scored for Manchester United, Manchester City or anyone else is irrelevant but twitter tells me too many are negatively affected by the news our ex favourites doing well elsewhere. So this piece is for you guys and I hope it helps you feel better.
Robin van Persie with his three goals on Sunday has scored an incredible 100 goals in 197 Premier League matches. 96 of these were of course for Arsenal so we should still feel rightly proud of his talent. Afterall our club created him. There is no doubt that a goal every other match makes you a great striker, one of the very best in fact, but coming up is the bit for your pub chat/banter when a Spud or a ‘Red’ seeks to wind you up about RVP.
RVP is actually the 5th best striker in Premier League history but he is ONLY the 3rd best Arsenal striker of that 20 year period and not even the best from the Netherlands. So Robin you have you work cut out to be mentioned in the same breath as Ian Wright and Thierry Henry, but you would or should never expect that from us Gooners. Sadly for you though it will take a minor miracle to be mentioned as the best at Manchester United or in Holland and here’s why:
Sunday’s exploits take Robin into a very elite grouping of 5 players who have a goal ratio in the Premier league of 0.50% or better.
|Player||Premier League Goals||Ratio|
|Ruud van Nistelrooy||95||0.63|
|Robin van Persie||100||0.51|
There are some top strikers in a bracket just below the goal every other game ratio such as Owen at 0.46, Rooney, Tevez, Adebayor! and Cole at 0.45, Jimmy Floyd and Drogba at 0.44 and Fowler and Bent on 0.43, but the elite are in the table above.
So, Mr ‘not so young these days’ van Persie you only need another 91 and the rate of virtually 2 goals every 3 games to be considered in the same bracket as your fellow countryman by the United faithful. So with the best will in the world, highly unlikely to reach legendary status at old Trafford, having already forgone that likelihood at Arsenal.
When it comes to goals and assist the facts rarely lie and it is therefore extremely gratifying to see that 3 of the top 5 strikers in the 20 years of EPL are Arsenal players, but 2 are ARSENAL LEGENDS. Van Persie could conceivably score another 76 goals in this league to match Henry but in reality strikers are rarely as prolific over 30 and I cannot see him having 2 more seasons like last, let alone 3. He may increase his ratio marginally and over take Wrighty, but again I am not convinced that he will. I am fairly certain that Alan Shearers number of goals will never be matched in this league and that Thierry Henry’s better than 2 goals every three matches will not be surpassed.
In the current crop of established strikers perhaps only Aguero has a ratio to threaten the greats. He is certainly good enough and young enough so it will just depend on how long he stays. His current ratio is 0.65 after one full season. The only other contender funnily enough is Torres with a ratio of 0.49%. Fernando had a staggering ratio of 0.81 after his first 3 seasons with 56 goals in 69 appearances for Liverpool. The 3 seasons since have seen only 18 strikes in 72 causing a huge reduction in his apparent effectiveness. This could all change and it is not too late for the Spaniard.
So beyond any doubt 3 of the best 5 strikers over a worthwhile period in the EPL are Arsenal greats and 2 are legends. So what chance of our new main striker joining the list? I have championed Olivier Giroud since early last season when I suggested in a blog that he should be bought to replace RVP. In top flight football in Ligue 1 he has 33 goals in 73 games which is a ratio of 0.45%, which we have established would put him right up there is he can translate the form to the English top flight. If he can do so he has everything in his favour. He is only 25, so has his best 4 years as a striker ahead of him and all under contract with Arsenal. He has arguably the best set of creative players around him that we have has since 2008 and a manager who believes in him so Olivier it’s over to you.
On the subject of creativity I may as well have a quick look at the greatest creators in the Premier League era. It is topical of course because of this week’s quotes from poor Cesc Fabregas, who it would appear is slightly surplus to requirements in sunny Spain. Why does that make it topical you ask? Well because again on actual ratio, the number of assists per game in the league Cesc is the second greatest assist giver ever in the Premier League. Yes there are 10 players topped not surprisingly by Ryan Giggs who have assisted more but there is only one league great who can boast a better ratio than our Cesc at 0.56 assists per match. That player is of course David Beckham with 152 assists at a ratio of 0.57 per match. Of course if Cesc were to return to the EPL that situation might change?
A few further points of interest from an Arsenal perspective. There are only 7 players in the top 25 assist list have a ratio of 0.40 or above and 3 are Arsenal players. Beckham and Fabregas are 1 and 2 but the legend with the 3rd best ratio at 0.55% is Thierry Henry. If there was any doubt that he is the greatest we have seen in the 20 years of the EPL it ends here. The top goal ratio at 0.68 and the 3rd best assist ratio as well is mind blowing. 176 goals and 144 assists mean he was involved in 320 goals in only 258 games at a ratio of 1.24. I cannot see this overall contribution to any one team ever being equalled if I am honest.
After the top 3 in the assist list the next 3 best ratios are from Giggs, Ashley Young and the second Gooner legend Dennis Bergkamp, all with 0.46 assists per match. The only other player in the top 25 to reach 0.40 is Steve McManaman with 0.40 exactly.
So in thr final analysis Arsenal have produced 3 of the most effective strikers in Premier League history and 3 of the most effective goal creators which I am mighty proud of. Just to conclude and bring it back to the here and now, Mikel Arteta is the 3rd fastest player to reach 50 assists in the EPL with only Cantona and Nani reaching that landmark quicker. Arteta’s ratio is o.39 which as we have established is just below top top class but the fact that he achieved this impressive ratio in an Everton side that never truly challenged is doubly impressive. Mikel also has 41 assists from dead ball situations bettered only be a handful of players including Gerrard, Lampard and Giggs. Only Arteta, Nani and Cantona have reached 50 EPL assists in less thn 100 games and Arteta reached the landmark in 99.
So Santi Cazorla can you rise to the challenge and surpass Mikel and even Fabregas when it comes to assists from midfield? If you get to 50 assists in 98 games you have surpassed Arteta but that achievement of course was while Mikel was at Everton. If you can do it in 100 matches you will beat the great Bobby Pires who reached 50 goal creations in 101 matches in the red and while. Santi it’s over to you….
Until next time thanks for reading.
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