Alexandre Lacazette has arrived at Arsenal as a club record signing and much feted first choice striker, linked with the Gunners for a few seasons. Olivier Giroud, though, is the incumbent number 9 at international level and a proven performer for the north London side. To the naked eye, the two strikers have different qualities: while both are strong finishers, Lacazette is dynamic and driving, while Giroud is more static and better in the air. Both are capable finishers, good at linking play, and could work very well together were Arsenal to play two up front. They won’t though, so let’s compare Lacazette and Giroud.
Alexandre Lacazette vs Olivier Giroud | Statistical Comparison
Giroud has been at Arsenal for five seasons, not including 2017/18, scoring 69 league goals. Interestingly, his goals per 90 have increased as his overall playing time has decreased. Lacazette made a 12-minute debut for Lyon in 2009/10 and has scored 100 Ligue 1 goals, reaching 20 league goals in a season three times. Lacazette’s goals per 90 are more variable, although he has been used as a wide player as well as a striker. Comparing their last five seasons, we can see both players have averaged 0.62 goals per 90.
Interestingly, while Giroud’s shots per 90 have decreased, while Lacazette’s has tended upwards, Giroud’s overall average is higher and Lacazette only surpassed Giroud in the most season of league football. Both players are clearly penalty box forwards, rarely shooting from deep, each taking around 80% of their shots from inside the penalty area and, though not shown in the table, each only scoring an average of 0.03 goals per 90 from outside the box in the last five seasons.
Where we can see a clear difference, though, is in attacking method. Giroud is clearly a strong contender in the air, winning four times the number of aerial duels as Lacazette in the last five seasons per 90, while the former Lyon man has completed over four times as many successful dribbles per 90. Lacazette will carry the ball well, and should link nicely into Arsenal’s preferred style of play; Giroud remains a very effective option B should the Gunners need to attack from crosses more.
Lastly, from a standpoint of overall creativity, there’s little to choose between them. In fact, both players have similar key pass per 90 metrics, though Giroud is ahead in how many assists he manages per 90. There’s not much to choose between them though – both players are strikers first and foremost.
In summary, then, in Alexandre Lacazette and Olivier Giroud Arsenal have two very effective strikers who would actually work well in tandem. Giroud remains the secondary option, more adept in the air, but with a similar goal-threat that has improved in inverse proportion to his playing time. Lacazette should be the first choice, based on his ability to carry the ball, link play, and score but, should he stutter, his international colleague will be ready, and able, to fill the breach.