The phrase ‘lies, damned lies and statistics’ comes to mind all too frequently in football.
And it may come back to haunt Olivier Giroud, after he pointed out that his first season at Arsenal is going better than Robin van Persie’s did.
Every goal that RVP scores for Manchester United must stick in Arsenal’s craw.
Simply put- the Dutchman was the top scorer in the Premier League last season, and could not make the Gunners into champions. And he is the top scorer so far again this season, with seemingly different implications at Manchester United.
Giroud has been tasked with filling the void at the Emirates left by RVP’s departure, and initially he looked short of the challenge.
However, the strapping Frenchman has taken to the Premier League of late, and suggests that his stats indicate that he is on track to becoming as valuable to Arsenal as his predecessor was.
"I don't know a striker who isn't interested in his statistics. Since the start of the season I've got 14 goals and 11 assists," Giroud said.
"For a first season it's better than van Persie when he started, even though he was younger.
“When I arrived at Arsenal, there were some worries. But they were quickly sorted and now the Arsenal players understand if they play off me they can score."
The stats book reveals that RVP scored a goal every 159 minutes in his first season at Arsenal, whereas Giroud has scored a goal every 156 minutes so far.
History will judge if Giroud’s interpretation of statistics was relevant or not.
What is relevant however, is Arsenal’s recent improved form. And Giroud says that like him, Arsenal as a team have overcome their first-half of the season slump.
"It wasn't easy,” he said.
“Then we played Newcastle and won 7-3. I just missed out on a hat-trick. Things are better now.”