As Arsenal built on the back of their midweek Champions League win at Fenerbahce by easing past Fulham at the Cottage, Theo Walcott once again missed out on the goals. While Lukas Podolski took centre stage with a double, Olivier Giroud’s opener hinted at a new-found consistency – continuing the scoring spree that racked up eight strikes across the summer friendlies, the Frenchman has now notched in all three of the Gunners’ matches in all competitions.

Walcott, by comparison, has now failed to find the net in any of Arsenal’s matches thus far but with a typically high-scoring north London derby at the Emirates this weekend, his Fantasy owners will be hopeful of a return to form. We take a look at both players’ performances over the first couple of fixtures far.

Average Positions, Gameweek 1 and 2

Walcott’s average position against the Cottagers not only bodes well for next weekend but also backs up Arsene Wenger’s post-match comments on Saturday afternoon. With Jack Wilshere rested, a change in personnel saw Santi Cazorla tuck in behind Giroud, with Podolski afforded a rare start out wide – the Arsenal boss explained such a line-up was designed to alter the visitors’ offensive play:

“We adapted our style of play a bit today but we were very dangerous every time we won the ball back. It was impressive because we had a good mixture of patience and speed in our game and that was positive today. I changed the shape of our team today because I rested Jack. We played with four defenders and six offensive players so we had to make it tighter with numbers but of course when we had the ball we were always looking dangerous.”

Walcott GW2
Walcott GW1

The difference between Arsenal’s first two games is intriguing. In the Gameweek 1 home defeat to Villa (above right), Giroud (12) was the furthest forward when on the ball, with Walcott (14) offering support from a somewhat narrow berth on the right. On the opposite flank, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (15) and replacement Cazorla (19) dropped deep to link up with the midfield, allowing Tomas Rosicky (7), playing in “the hole”, to operate in a more advanced berth behind Giroud.

In the Fulham match (above left), however, Walcott was far and away the Gunners’ most advanced player in possession. While Podolski (9) more or less mirrored the positions of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Cazorla from the previous match out wide on the left, Cazorla – now operating in the centre – dropped far deeper than Rosicky in the previous game. The Spaniard’s more withdrawn role had a knock-on effect on Giroud, whose average position is more in line with Rosicky’s from the Villa match.

Whether this was a tactic designed to take advantage of Fulham’s problem left-back position and/or Adel Taarabt’s reluctance to track back from midfield is unclear, but Cazorla’s natural inclination to look for the ball in deeper areas certainly had an effect through the middle and perhaps explains why Wenger tends to now utilise him on the left, with Rosicky or Wilshere more inclined to offer support further up the field.

Giroud, Gameweek 1 and 2

Tchs Box Shots Shots Box Shots On Target Chances Crtd Goals Assists
GW1 13 6 6 1 2 1 0
GW2 5 2 2 1 2 1 0

The Frenchman’s 13 touches in the box against Villa was the most of any Arsenal player but he managed just five in the Fulham match as a result – only third best for the visitors. Giroud was a constant menace in the clash with Paul Lambert’s side, producing six shots (all inside the box) though his accuracy was woeful; granted, he found the net in the 3-1 defeat but he managed just a single effort on target.

At Craven Cottage, Giroud’s attempts on goal dropped considerably – he managed just two efforts all, game, both inside the penalty area, though still managed to find the net with one of those attempts. In terms of creativity, the Frenchman produced a couple of “key passes” (passes that lead to efforts on goal) in each of his appearances thus far, though has yet to produce an assist.

Walcott, Gameweek 1 and 2

Tchs Box Shots Shots Box Shots On Target Chances Crtd Goals Assists
GW1 8 1 0 0 3 0 0
GW2 10 5 4 3 4 0 1

Walcott’s touches in the box were a little less erratic over the first couple of matches. The winger registered eight against Villa and 10 away to Fulham – a total of 18 mirrors Giroud’s across the two Gameweeks. While Walcott mustered a mere one attempt against Paul Lambert’s side, he was easily Arsenal’s main goal threat against the Cottagers; a total of five shots on goal was more than double Giroud’s tally in the 3-1 win.

Encouragingly for his owners, Walcott also offered far greater menace from close-range on Saturday. While he failed to produce a single shot in the box in Gameweek 1, he managed four against Fulham – twice as many as Giroud – and with three efforts on target, he was somewhat unlucky not to open his account for the season. The winger has also teed up plenty of goalscoring opportunities for team-mates, too; three and four chances created in Gameweeks 1 and 2 respectively.

Walcott and Giroud, 2013/14 Versus 2012/13

Finally, we take a look at both players’ averages so far and cast an eye back to the previous campaign to assess whether there has been any noticeable changes in their attacking contributions.

Looking at Walcott’s stats so far, he has averaged almost double the number of touches inside the box (10 compared to 5.4) and has also mirrored his shooting stats from the previous campaign – a clear indication of his offensive potential. His number of efforts per game (3 to 2.7), average shots inside the box (2 to 1.9) and attempts on target (1.5 to 1.2) all offer plenty reason to be optimistic, though he has slightly slowed down in terms of minutes per shot, dropping from a pace of one per 27.7 minutes in 2012/13 to 31.8 minutes over the opening couple of Gameweeks.

Walcott

Tchs Box Shots Shots Box Shots On Target Mins/Shot Chance Crtd Mins Chance Crtd
2013/14 9 3 2 1.5 31.8 3.5 27.3
2012/13 5.4 2.7 1.9 1.2 27.7 1.2 63.3

When it comes to creativity, though, Walcott has improved dramatically; a sign we can anticipate greater assist potential if his team-mates can finish off his chances. The winger has registered 3.5 “key passes” per game thus far, up from an average of 1.2 last time out – in terms of pace, this is an improvement from 63.3 minutes per goalscoring opportunity created to 27.3 minutes.

Giroud

Tchs Box Shots Shots Box Shots On Target Mins/Shot Chance Crtd Mins Chance Crtd
2013/14 9 4 4 1 21 2 42
2012/13 6.6 3.1 2.5 1.1 23.1 1 72.7

Giroud has also upped his touches in the box (9.0 up from 6.6) though not quite to the same extent as his team-mate. Both overall shots (4 to 3.1) and efforts inside the box (4 to 2.5) have improved, though Giroud, ironically, has seen a slight decrease in shots on target, despite his upturn in scoring consistency. The Frenchman’s minutes per shot (21 to 23.1) are pretty much on a par with last term, though his creativity has certainly taken a turn for the better; he has registered a “key pass” at a speed of 42 minutes, compared to 72.7 minutes in 2012/13.

Although Giroud has been quick off the mark this time round, it’s perhaps Walcott’s owners who will be afforded the most optimism of the duo in light of the statistics across the opening couple of Gameweeks. Not only has he doubled the number of touches in the box, the wide man has tripled his average of chances created so far – crucial statistics that will surely bode well for his future Fantasy returns as the Gunners prepare for a kind run of fixtures that will surely see plenty Fantasy managers snap up Arsenal’s assets.

About The Author

paul

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  1. Right, here is my team atm with my FT used -

    Mannone (cry)

    Ward (SUN) - Zaba (HUL) - Clyne (nor)

    Bellamy (EVE) - Mirallas (car) - Walcott (TOT) - JWP (nor)

    Lambert (nor) - RVP (liv) C - Bony (wba)

    Bench - Migs (MUN) - Pieters (whu) - Brayford (EVE) - Haz *

    My options -

    1. Leave and avoid hits.

    2. Bellamy > Townsend

    3. Pieters > Coleman/Jones

    THANKS!

    • 1 year, 22 days ago
    1. you do know that mannone isn't their number 1?

      • 1 year, 22 days ago
      1. ^ this

        • 1 year, 21 days ago
  2. Please rate my team for GW 3. I'm new to d site
    Mignolet(Harper)
    Coleman, Vertonghen,Hughes(Moxey,Chester)
    Snodgrass,Silva(c),Coutinho,Mirallas,Wanyama
    RVP(v),Gayle(Benteke)

    I have 1mil in the bank and I have used my FT but my future plans for GW 4 are either
    a)Vertonghen-->Dawson (3 mil in bank)
    Gayle-->Better forward most likely Lambert/Bent
    OR
    b)Wanyama-->Delph/Thomas(Crystal Palace)- leaving 1.5 in the bank
    Gayle-->Bent- leaving 0 mil in the bank

    Which option is better and any suggestions?

    • 1 year, 22 days ago
    1. I would do A personally. Best of luck!

      • 1 year, 22 days ago
  3. Flamini to re-join Arsenal

    • 1 year, 22 days ago
    1. Do you have a source?

      • 1 year, 22 days ago
  4. Maz

    Best cheap midfield option - Barkley / Kim / Kasami?

    • 1 year, 22 days ago
    1. Kasami starts now, although Fulham's line-up might change with Bent being brought in.

      Barkley will face competition from Gibson when fit.

      Kim is a starter for sure (apparently).

      If you've got the cash go for Barkley (has increased in price) now, then when Gibson is fit look to swap to Kasami if he's still playing?

      • 1 year, 22 days ago
      1. Some are saying Osman will make way for Gibson...

        • 1 year, 22 days ago
        1. True. I was just basing it on likely first 11 from last season.

          If Barkley continues to perform as he has been, it'll be difficult for Martinez not to pick him ahead of either of them.

          • 1 year, 22 days ago
          1. I totally agree. I'm hoping his form stays good. I'm sure the England call up will only fuel his confidence and self belief further. Cheers

            • 1 year, 22 days ago
  5. Currently have Silva as my Captain, Walcott as my vice.

    Other options are Soldado, RvP and Dzeko.

    With Liverpools defence woes RvP could be the choice, then again I lost count of the amount of times Roonpig took the shot when RvP was in acres of space against Chelsea.

    Other midfielders are Kim (Due to Cardiff's tasty home record) and Mirallas (He is due something, CAR vs EVE could be a goal fest.)

    Urgh, too much choice. Just hope I make the right one. Suggestions?

    • 1 year, 22 days ago
    1. Keeping FORM/FIXTURE/DIFFICULTY level in mind ...!
      Silva seems a liable option over Walcott...!!
      BUT
      arsenal vs tottenham derby...! GOALS GALORE as history recons me to go for WALCott...!

      Seriously disturbed over the thought...!

      silva OR walcott !!
      N
      whY ?

      • 1 year, 22 days ago
  6. Dzeko out Giroud in or Coutinho out and Walcott in?

    • 1 year, 20 days ago
    1. Dzeko in n Giroud out

      • 1 year, 20 days ago

Scout Picks

For Gameweek 5

  • Lloris
  • Caulker
  • Williams
  • Baines
  • Sterling
  • Ramsey
  • Chadli
  • Mirallas
  • Adebayor
  • Diego Costa
  • Rooney
  • Trippier
  • Sigurdsson
  • Lukaku

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Goalkeepers

Last updated: 17 Sep, 2014 11:07am
Player Club Factors
Up Forster SOT B, Vs
Up Begovic STO B, Vs
Up De Gea MUN B
Down Mignolet LIV C, Vs
Up Mannone SUN C, £
Up Szczesny ARS C, Vs
Up Fabianski SWA B, Vs
Up Heaton BRN B, Vs, £
Up Speroni CPL B
Up Lloris TOT B

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Last updated: 17 Sep, 2014 11:09am
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No Change Ivanovic CHE A, VsX
Up Bertrand SOT A, Vs
Up Moreno LIV B, Vs
Up Shawcross STO B, Vs
No Change Trippier BRN A
No Change Van Aanholt SUN C, Vs, £
Up Taylor SWA B, £
No Change Evans MUN B, Vs
Up Chambers ARS C, Vs, £
Up Morgan LEI B, Vs, £
Up Baines EVE B, VsX
No Change Dier TOT B
No Change Ward CPL C
Down Caulker QPR C

Midfielders

Last updated: 17 Sep, 2014 1:15pm
Player Club Factors
No Change Sterling LIV A, Vs
No Change Sigurdsson SWA A
No Change Ramsey ARS A, Vs
No Change Fábregas CHE A, VsX
No Change Tadic SOT B, Vs
Up Di María MUN A
Up Chadli TOT A, £
Down Hazard CHE B, VsX
Up Sánchez ARS A, Vs
Up Mirallas EVE A
Up Eriksen TOT B
No Change Silva MCI B
Up Larsson SUN A, £
No Change Zaha CPL C, £
No Change Boyd BRN C, Vs, £
Up Downing WHM A, VsX, £

Forwards

Last updated: 17 Sep, 2014 11:15am
Player Club Factors
No Change Diego Costa CHE A, VsX
No Change Rooney MUN B
No Change Aguero MCI A
Up Pellè SOT A, Vs
No Change Balotelli LIV B, Vs
Up Adebayor TOT B
No Change Welbeck ARS C, Vs
Up Ulloa LEI A, £
No Change Naismith EVE B, £
Up Lukaku EVE B
No Change Bony SWA C
Up Wickham SUN C, £

Selection Factors

A, B, C Current Form
Vs Favourable Fixtures
VsX Unfavourable Fixtures
Rest Rotation Risk
Inj Injured/Returning from Injury
OoP Out of Position
£ Potential Bargain
Sus Suspended/Near Suspension

“Petr is an amazing goalkeeper, but the difference between them is ten years and we think we have to make a decision about the future of the club and to give the goal to Courtois”

Jose Mourinho Chelsea Manager