For this (rare) Monday edition of Clayton’s Calculator, I did a deep dive into the stats and made a bold prediction regarding who would be our top goal scorer this season.
At the moment, our current top scorers are Alexandre Lacazette (9), Alexis Sanchez (8), Olivier Giroud (7), Aaron Ramsey (6), Nacho Monreal (5), Danny Welbeck (5), and Mesut Ozil (5). Sanchez and Giroud are obviously out of contention for scoring any more Arsenal goals and both Lacazette and Ramsey are having injury troubles. As awesome (and sad at the same time) as it would be to have our beloved Nacho finish the season as our top scorer, I don’t see his current goal scoring form continuing through May. The final calculation merely comes down to who will get more playing time.
Welbeck’s goals all came from early on in the season when he was playing ahead of Sanchez. Since then, he’s been out due to injury and coming off the bench. Not only that, as noted in the game against FK Ostersunds, but his form has taken a significant dip as well. This leaves Mesut Ozil as the most likely man to finish at the top of the heap. Mesut’s never really been one to slot away goals left and right. The highest tally in his career came last year as he scored 12 goals in 44 appearances. That was his first double-digit goal tally for Arsenal and his first since scoring 10 for Real Madrid in the 12-13 season. He also scored 10 for Real in the 10-11 season and 11 for Werder Bremen in the 09-10 season.
We all know Ozil contributes far more in how he distributes the ball rather than shoots it. His first instinct in attack is to look for a pass, not the back of the net. It’s probably been more of a matter of having so many attacking options around him, not necessarily that he doesn’t look to go to goal. When you’re playing with the likes of Ronaldo, Benzema, and Higuain, you’re always going to have a great player to pass to. At Arsenal, he’s usually been outscored by the likes of Sanchez, Walcott, and Giroud. One of those 3 players has finished as the leading scorer every season since 2012. That’s a lot of goals to replace in the middle of a season.
This stat will also be a symptom of goals being distributed more evenly than in previous seasons. It’s been almost a decade since Arsenal went a full season without someone scoring at least 20 goals. In the 09-10 season, we saw Cesc Fabregas finish on top with 19. That was the 3rd and most recent time that that’s happened under Wenger. This season looks like it will be the 4th. Arsenal has lacked an assured, consistent scorer all season, but hopefully, Aubameyang will be taking up that mantle at the start of next season.
If he wasn’t barred from playing in the Europa League for the Gunners, he’d quite possibly be able to come from behind and finish with 10 or more goals. But, he’s missing out on possibly 8 more games (if we reach the final). Mesut Ozil will likely feature in all of them. That leaves Aubameyang with only a Carabao Cup Final and 11 league games to make up for lost time. I just don’t see it happening.