Unless absolutely everything goes our way in the next four months, I reckon this will become a season of which we will ask ourselves what could have been if we had not had so many injuries during the first half of it.
Now that Koz is back and back-up has been brought in (Paulista), Coquelin is 99% close to signing a new contract, Ramsey is getting back to the engine we know him to be and Super Jack is back in training, we are looking strong at the back and in the middle of the park.
Furthermore, and even more excitingly, our attacking options are back to full strength now, with Ozil and Theo fully back and Giroud having totally settled back in again. Our superstar Alexis has been phenomenal and held the fort whilst the others were recuperating. Of course, he had help from the likes of Welbeck and Ox, but they are both work in progress, especially when it comes to the bread and butter stats of goals and assist.
We know that these are all very good players, but the beauty is that Wenger can now choose from his very best attackers, both in terms of producing assists and scoring goals.
These are the assists v games played ratios (data from 2009/2010 season to now, source ‘Whoscored’):
|Total games / Assists||Assists per game ratio|
So, in terms of our strongest team in attack from an assists producing point of view, we would aim to field Walcott, Ozil, Alexis, Santi and Ramsey in our five directly attack-involved positions.
And these are goals v games played ratios (data from 2012/2013 season to now, source ‘Wiki’).
|Total games / goals||Goals per game ratio|
So, in terms of our strongest team in attack from a goal scoring perspective, we would aim to field: Walcott, Giroud, Alexis, Ramsey and Cazorla.
Surprise, surprise almost the same players who produce the most assists per game also score the most goals per game, with Ozil producing significantly more career assists than Santi, and Santi scoring a tad more goals per game than the German. Between them, these five to six players produce on average 1.17 assist and 1.66 goals per game.
Our current PL goal tally is 39 from 22 games, 1.8 goals per game and that includes the entire squad of course. I predict that we will see a steep improvement in goals per game in the last four months of the season: by possibly a third, meaning an average goals per game ratio of 2.4.
The thing is Ozil, Theo, Alexis, Santi, Giroud and Ramsey are now all fit to play together, and there is every chance that between them they will improve each others contributions, in terms of assists and goals, even further. And the longer they play the more effective they can all become.
You can also see from the stats above that the return of Ozil and Theo is absolutely paramount to the success of the team: together they can contribute 0.62 assists and 0.6 goals per game. It will take a bit of the pressure away from Santi and especially Alexis, and give us far more balance in terms of spreading assists and goals throughout the team.
The stats also show why we should expect (and want) the likes of Ox, Welbeck and Rosicky to provide back up rather than be first choice. Rosicky is of course a very strong option to have on the bench, and both Ox and Welbeck are still young and hopefully will develop strongly in the next season or two. Jack might also struggle to get back into the team as a regular first starter once he is back.
Let’s hope we can see these five to six top assists and goals producers play together very regularly from now on, so the fun can really begin.