10 plus? 10 plus?
I have a big project on at the moment which will involve a week of articles from this weekend, so today’s piece will be short, sweet and very to the point. It sort of follows on from my article looking at the danger of building a team too focussed on one individual. This is particularly so, when that individual is the main provider or scorer of goals.
I am also prompted by the excellent news that the top scorer from Ligue 1 in 2011/12, Olivier Giroud, would appear set to join Lukas Podolski and add to Arsenal’s goal threat next season. I am delighted by this addition and first suggested him as a long term successor to van Persie last autumn. I may as well throw in my personal feeling, for what it is worth on the RVP situation. I think he has intimated to Wenger he would like to leave and the club are moving swiftly to strengthen the squad and that Giroud is seen as the perfect replacement, by Grimandi and Wenger. The question then is do we ask our skipper to honour his final year, take the money,or hope that our demonstration of ambition in the market will convince him to stay. Whatever the club decide our position having signed Poldolski and finger crossed, Giroud is one of strength, the total opposite to our position this time last year. Please note I hope to be proved wrong on van Persie
20 plus guaranteed or none?
Anyway I digress so back to the point to today’s blog, which as I said has a very simple premise IN THE MAIN A TEAM WILL NOT WIN THE PREMIER LEAGUE UNLESS THEY HAVE 3 PLAYERS CONTRIBUTING 10 OR MORE GOALS.
There are exceptions but in a 38 game season over reliance on one main goal scorer will not win the title. The main goal threat needs adequate support and it is highly unusual for a sole striker, as is often the case in modern formations to go through a season injury free. RVP this past year is an exception as was Henry in 2004, and Ronaldo in 2008, but it would be rare for a team to win the toughest league in football to win with a singular main goal threat.
The below table shows the various EPL Champions since our last success in 2004, and shows the players who have contributed 10 or more goals, which would appear to clearly back my contention in most cases.
|Season||Champions||Top Scorer||2nd Top Scorer||3rd Top Scorer||4th Top Scorer|
|04/05||Chelsea||Lampard 13||Gudjohnsen 13||Drogba 10|
|05/06||Chelsea||Lampard 16||Drogba 12||Crespo 10|
|06/07||Man United||Ronaldo 17||Rooney 14|
|07/08||Man United||Ronaldo 31||Tevez 14||Rooney 12|
|08/09||Man united||Ronaldo 18||Rooney 12|
|09/10||Chelsea||Drogba 29||Lampard 22||Malouda 12||Anelka 11|
|10/11||Man United||Berbatov 20||Hernandez 13||Rooney 12|
|11/12||Man City||Aguero 23||Dzeko 14||Balotelli 13|
Indeed there are only 2 seasons in which a team has claimed the Premiership without double digit contributions from 3 or more players, and on both occasions it was Man United in 2007 and 2011, when there was a third striker just under 10 goals, Saha (8)in 07 and Berbatov(9) in 2011.
Barring those 2 years there has always been 3 or even 4 attacking players contributing to the impressive goals tally that secured the title. Closer examination and recollection will tell us a bit more.
Champions have been able to rotate strikers during the course of a season and have been able to do so due to strength in depth and in Chelsea’s case where it often been a sole striker system goals have arrived a plenty from Lampard behind the striker and from the wide areas.
Of course in between 2002 and 2004 Arsene Wenger was able to call on Wiltord, Bergkamp and Kanu to play alongside Theirry Henry, and Pires and Ljungberg chipped in with a strong goal threat from the flanks. However since title Arsenal double figures contributions in the EPL, over the same periods as the earlier table, make less than impressive reading
|Arsenal||Top Scorer||2nd Top Scorer||3rd Top Scorer|
|04/05||Henry 25||Pires 14||Ljunberg 10|
|06/07||Van Persie 11||Henry 10||Gilberto 10|
|08/09||Van Persie 11||Adebayor 10|
|09/10||Fabregas 15||Arshavin 10|
|10/11||Van Persie 18||Nasri 10|
|11/12||Van Persie 30|
If you are a regular reader you will know me to be a glass half full sort of a guy ,when it comes to my Arsenal, but there is no hiding away from the cold hard facts. Only twice since the 03/04 unbeaten league season have we had more than 2 players score 10 times in the Premiership. In three seasons including this past campaign we have only had one player contribute in double figures.
I am not looking at the other end and our ability to defend today, but ignoring that for now, to mount a challenge we would have needed at least 2 of Walcott, Gervinho, Arshavin, Ramsey, Rosicky or Arteta to contribute. In reality in our formation these supporting double digit goal hauls should be coming from the 2 wingers or the central attacking midfielder. The sad reality is that van Perise scored 30 and Theo Walcott backed him up with 8. Here is a quick list of just some of those who scored more than Theo, our 2nd top goal getter last term: Steve Morrison, Norwich, Danny Graham, Swansea, Steve Fletcher, Wolves, and depressingly both Van Der Vaart and Bale.
Okay I have depressingly laboured the point but It is not as they say ‘Rocket Science.’ To win the league, you usually need between 35 and 50 goals to come from 3 players and you need to be able to rotate and freshen up your attack. What is exceedingly encouraging is that Wenger and the club are taking serious steps to address this issue. It is not easy to keep multiple attackers happy in a sole striker set up as we have, so I and many others hope we will change formations for different oppositions and be more flexible during games. It has worked for all three of the clubs who have won the title since we last managed to.
In Podolski we have a proven goal scorer, equally happy coming in from the left wing as he does for Germany, playing behind the sole striker as he has for Cologne often this season or alongside a partner in a 442. With Olivier Giroud we are signing a player who can contribute a good number of goals but crucially is used to playing in our 4231 system, with his back to goal and bringing others into play. This is why the comparison with Chamakh, both arriving from France, is pointless because Marouane is a good player and will be again, but is suited to playing facing the goals in a 442.
We can add to this Theo Walcott and Gervinho both of whom given enough games should be able to achieve double figures for Arsenal next season. In reality they may be competing for a regular place on the opposite flank to Podolski but both need to up their game in front of goal. We know Theo is more than capable even without him constantly telling us.
10 plus? 10 plus?
So here’s hoping our skipper is still our skipper next season, and fingers crossed if he is, he has another injury free season! However should he not stay or should he stay and get injured there is now every indication that we will have a goal threat from numerous others in 2012/13. Add to this the exciting possibility, should we go for a work permit, on extraordinary talent grounds, of Joel Campbell being added to the mix. Alternatively I would not rule out the additional arrival of Clint Dempsey, with whom I hear initial contact has been made.
Oh and before you throw it at me after last night, NO, Bendtner, self proclaimed world superstar is not a solution and 22 goals in 98 Premier League appearances for Arsenal is the reason why. He is a good footballer but not a great one.
Until next time thanks for reading.
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