The EPL 2013-14 season has been off to an intriguing start. All big teams, except Manchester United are amongst the top 5, with only 3 points separating Arsenal (who are on top) and Tottenham (who occupy the 5th place). Man Utd (with 11 points) find themselves below Southampton and Everton. Manchester City have scored the most number of goals so far (20), while Southampton have conceded the least number of goals (3).
This week, I bring an in-depth statistical analysis of 5 of the top 10 strikers (on current form) in the league – Giroud, Lukaku, Sturridge, Agüero and van Persie, with regards to Passing, Creativity and Attacking. Before moving onto to the analysis, let us take a look at where these strikers are placed in EPL INDEX’s TOP GOAL STATS, powered by OPTA STATS.
Daniel Sturridge is the league’s top scorer, having found the back of the net on 7 occasions in 8 appearances, followed by Sergio Agüero who has scored 6 times. Olivier Giroud, Robin van Persie and Romelu Lukaku have scored 4 goals each and occupy the 7th, 9th and 10th place respectively.
Moving on to the first part of this analysis, let us take a look at the Passing Zone Statistics of these attackers.
I. Passing Zone:
Olivier Giroud has attempted the most number of passes amongst the 5 strikers, while Sergio Agüero has the best passing accuracy. In the final 3rd, Giroud has attempted the most number of passes and Agüero has the best accuracy. Robin van Persie has attempted the most number of crosses into the box with an accuracy of 14%, whereas Agüero has the best crossing accuracy. Daniel Sturridge has the best passing statistics with 211 attempted passes with an accuracy of 78% and 100 final 3rd attempted passes with an accuracy of 67%. Agüero has the best accuracy in terms of passing, passing in the final 3rd and crossing. Romelu Lukaku’s statistics, altough not at par with the rest, are impressive and very much acceptable for a forward.
For the kind of passing play that Arsenal and Liverpool build their game upon, it is not surprising to see Giroud and Sturridge attempt the most number of passes. van Persie has not featured in every games and has only been a shadow of the player that he was in the last 2 seasons, also one of the reasons why United have not been able to finish off games like they did last season.
In terms of creativy, Olivier Giroud is the clear-cut winner. Having created 14 chances (including 4 clear-cut chances) in addition to 4 goals assists, Giroud leads the creativity stats in terms of Goal Assists, followed by team-mates Ramsey (2nd) and Özil (5th). Sturridge (7th) also finds a place in the table with 2 goals and 7 chances created (3 of which were clear-cut). Sergio Agüero has created 10 chances ( 2 clear-cut) and provided 2 goal assists. Romelu Lukaku has provided 1 goal assist and created 3 goal-scoring chances for his team-mates. Robin van Persie has failed to provide any goal assists and has created just one chance. Daniel Sturridge has attempted 36 dribbles with an accuracy of 47%, followed by Lukaku who has attempted 20 dribbles with an accuracy of 40%. Olivier Giroud has the best Dribbling Accuracy, however, he has only attempted 7 ( 4 of which were successful).
Olivier Giroud started the season impressively, scoring in the first 4 games. In the last few games, we have also seen a glimpse of his creativity side. As per the statistics, he is the most creative striker in the league, followed by Daniel Sturridge and Sergio Agüero. Robin van Persie has not done justice to his own capabilities, despite netting on 4 occasions.
III. Attacking Zone:
Daniel Sturridge has been the most prolific goal-scorer so far this season, justifying the faith shown in him by the Liverpool management when they bought him from Chelsea in January 2013. ‘Someone’s gain is someone else’s loss’, which is justified not only by Sturridge but also by Lukaku. Lukaku has scored 4 times already this season, having attempted 11 shots on goal, with an impressive accuracy of 78% and shot conversion of 44%. Further, he has scored whenever a clear-cut goal scoring chance has been created for him. Sturridge has taken 27 shots (58% on target) with a shot conversion of 29% and clear-cut chance conversion of 50%. Agüero has taken 18 shots with an accuracy of 80%, shot conversion of 40% and clear-cut chance conversion of 30%. Olivier Giroud has taken the most number of shots in the league so far (31 with an accuracy of 41%), converted 3/4 clear-cut goal scoring chances and found the back of the net on 4 occasions. Robin Van Persie has an impressive attacking zone statistics, which does not come as a surprise from a player of his caliber. Having found the back of the net on 4 occasions already, Utd’s hopes are pinned on their world-class striker and if he can manage to stay fit for the whole season, he is capable of making Man Utd title contenders despite their disastrous start.
Looking at the success of Sturridge and Lukaku, one can not help but wonder what is wrong with the management at Chelsea. They appear to be moving on the wrong players. However, they would be wise enough to get Lukaku in their playing XI once he his back from his loan stint at Everton. One of the reasons why Liverpool and Arsenal have started the season so brightly is the good form of their attackers. Both Giroud and Sturridge have impressive overall statistics. Only time will tell us whether or not they can sustain the good form and lead their teams to glory. Sergio Agüero has been one of City’s top performers in the last 3 seasons. He is one of the most accurate strikers in the league and appears to have rediscovered his best form, as was evident over the weekend. Manchester United are going through a transformation at the club and it will not be easy for Moyes to get the best out of his team immediately. He will be hoping for a lot more consistency from his star forward.
It is still early days in the league and not the right time to make any predictions; but based on statistics, it is only fair to assume that one of these 5 will win the Golden Boot at the end of the season. The 5 strikers featured in this analysis are all capable of scoring 20+ goals in the league and the success of their teams will depend a lot upon how these strikers perform in the remainder of the season.
Please note that the analysis and inferences drawn are based purely on statistics, which may not always correlate with the actual performances of the players. Some of you may have a different point of view or may look at the statistics differently, so feel free to share it with me either here or on twitter (@SilverHawk_24). Until next time, this is me signing off, hoping for a goal-fest in the league over the weekend.