We delve into the numbers comparing Fernando Torres and Olivier Giroud and to see who is more deserving of all the hype.
Fifty million pounds can buy a you a lot in football. For one, it can buy you five Olivier Giroud’s or it can buy just one Fernando Torres. Given the hefty price tag the latter came with, does this comparison even make sense? 39 goals in 142 matches is hardly what you call world-class. Compare that to Giroud, who has scored 5 times already this season and has a total of 25 goals in just 63 matches for Arsenal. On the other hand, the fiercest of Torres’ critics believe he has finally turned a corner with Chelsea, and his most ardent fans point out that he is and always will be a lethal striker like he was at Atletico and Liverpool, just that he is in a slump. Let’s now have a look at both the strikers and their numbers during this season and their career in general.
Goals, goals and goals!
A strikers eats, lives and breathes goals. It does not matter to him how, when, where they come as long as they keep coming. In the Premier League, as with any top league in the world, every goal is worth its weight in gold. Here is a look at the overall PL stats for Giroud and Torres:
Giroud is the more in-form striker this season with 7 goals in 13 appearances for Arsenal this season, while Torres has 3 goals in 10 in all competitions for Chelsea. However, Torres is a seasoned Premier League player and his overall stats of 120 goals in 284 appearances (goal ratio of 0.42) seem to trump Giroud’s 25 goals in 63 appearances (ratio of 0.39).
However, when we consider Giroud’s overall career league goals (only for Montpellier and Arsenal), his 64 goals in 149 appearances give him the same goal ratio as Torres. When we compare the overall career goals for both players in question, Torres clearly has a better record as compared to Giroud. The former has 211 goals in 527 appearances as compared to 118 goals in 297 appearances for Giroud.
Where Torres clearly beats Giroud in terms of stats is at the international stage. He has 36 goals in 106 internationals for Spain, while Giroud is still a rookie in comparison with 5 goals in 24 games for France.
Help Me, Help You
Another one of the qualities a striker must have nowadays is providing goals for his teammates. A striker is considered ‘selfish’ if he takes a shot on goal when there are other players, be it defenders, who are better placed than him on the pitch. Although not a measure of how great a striker is, assists are also a major metric that managers look at.
While Giroud lacks in this department, Torres has relatively flourished. The precise reason why Chelsea fans still have faith in Torres and why some Arsenal fans lost theirs in Giroud was because although they were both not scoring goals last season, Torres was providing some crucial assists for his teammates last season, while Giroud had a bad season with assists too. Torres provided 7 assists in the 2012/13 season, while Giroud provided 11 assists in 47 appearances for Arsenal.
Having already discussed past season, this season paints a similar picture as far as assists are concerned. Giroud clearly beats Torres in this case, with 4 assists already compared to Torres’ 1.
Having discussed goals and assists, there are so many other factors which make a striker tick — some measurable and some not so much. Measurable factors include passing success rate, shot accuracy and probably the most important among these, duels won. The factors (or the X-factor, so to speak) which cannot be measured include his willingness to run at defenders, his overall contribution in the team’s goal, runs off the ball to create space , and his confidence in front of the goal among others.
Just looking at the current season, Giroud once again beats Torres to it. He is showing a hunger for goals which wasn’t there last season, he is running into the box with confidence and his typical near-post runs drawing defenders and getting there before them to score goals. On the other hand, Torres has shown flashes of the above mentioned qualities only in certain games. His performance against Tottenham and more recently his goal and assist against Manchester City have led many critics and pundits to believe he is getting back to his best. Then again, his performance against Newcastle last weekend left a lot to be desired. So he has been exactly that, brilliant but only in patches.
- Goals (ratio) : Torres
- Assists: Torres
- Passing: Giroud
- Defensive: Torres
- Heading ability: Giroud
As can be seen, Torres clearly beats Giroud in the measurable qualities of the game, but there is something about Giroud this season that is looking dangerous. The aforementioned X-factor in his play is clearly being seen, while Torres is yet to reach that level. Just for that, looking to the future, it would have to be Olivier Giroud who is clearly getting the hype this season, and he deserves every bit of it.