Scouting Report: Can Arsenal's Yaya Sanogo Be Olivier Giroud's Replacement?

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Scouting Report: Can Arsenal's Yaya Sanogo Be Olivier Giroud's Replacement?
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger started 21-year-old French youth international Yaya Sanogo ahead of Olivier Giroud during the Gunners' 2-1 FA Cup win over Liverpool, so can Sanogo displace Giroud from the starting XI going forward? 

 

Embattled Giroud 

Giroud takes 7.8 shots to score a goal and when you factor in his woefully inefficient 38 percent shooting accuracy, you begin to understand why he has not dominated the English Premier League this season.

There is a clear gap when you statistically compare Giroud to Liverpool's Luis Suarez and Manchester City's Sergio Aguero.

League Only Giroud Suarez Aguero
       
Goals/Games 10/24 23/21 15/17
Goals Per Game 0.42 1.10 0.88
Shots Per Goal 7.8 5.0 4.7
Shooting Accuracy % 38 57 60
Assists 6 8 5
Key Passes Per Game 1.1 2.9 1.6
       

Subjectively speaking, Giroud is in a tier below Suarez and Aguero, both of whom are world-class centre forwards, while Giroud is a serviceable forward. 

To exacerbate his own situation, his ill-advised comments about his countryman Hugo LlorisTottenham Hotspur's No. 1, being open to joining the Gunners were described as "embarrassing" by the latter. 

Source: The Sun

Giroud inadvertently disparaged his own keeper, Wojciech Szczesny, which was stupid as was getting caught cheating on his wife by the Sun.

The tabloid newspaper exposed Giroud during his one-night stand with glamour model Celia Kay.

It would not have been newsworthy if Giroud was not married to Jennifer Giroud

Just like apologising in the aftermath of Arsenal's 5-1 Premier League defeat to Liverpool, Giroud issued another mea culpa, this time for cheating on his wife. 

Not only is Giroud not performing at a world-class level on the field, he is fighting to save his marriage to Jennifer, so it opens the door for Sanogo.  

 

Can Sanogo Step Up?

Aside from experience, the primary difference between the two is Giroud's playing style being stagnant, whereas Sanogo is lively. 

While playing for France during the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup, Sanogo's quick first-step enabled him to get in front of Ghana's Richmond Nketiah and score one of France's goals in a 3-1 win.

Source: FIFA TV

In a 2-1 defeat to Spain, he outpaced Spain's Derik and provided an incisive ball to Thibaut Vion, who scored a consolation goal for the French.

Source: FIFA TV

When France beat Turkey 4-1, Sanogo raced on to a lobbed through ball and slotted the ball past Turkish keeper Aykut Ozer.

Source: FIFA TV

Sanogo was France U-20 manager Pierre Mankowski's top scorer during their U-20 World Cup triumph.

However, the FIFA technical study group omitted Sanogo from France's outstanding players list.

Source: FIFA Technical Study Group

The FTSG opted to choose box-to-box midfielder Paul Pogba (received the golden ball for tournament's best player), winger Florian Thauvin, box-to-box midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia and goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.

Here are possible reasons why FTSG consciously left Sanogo off the outstanding players' list:

  • A penalty and a tap-in comprised of two of his four goals.
  • Sanogo mainly used his speed to reach speculative long passes, giving the impression that he was a limited player. At times, he over-relied on kick-and-rush, which contributed to several wayward first touches. 
  • Not scoring in the semi-final against Ghana (scored in the group stages, but not the semi-final) and the final against Uruguay. 

 

Conclusion

Contrary to the FTSG's view of Sanogo at the U-20 World CupWenger is leading the chorus of praise for Sanogo's display against Liverpool.

"He [Sanogo] was always in the game, he was a handful for them [Liverpool]," Wenger said, per Arsenal's official website. "Considering the intensity of the game, he was absolutely excellent."

Was Sanogo "absolutely excellent"?

No.

He did not score a goal, was dispossessed twice, turned the ball over three times and gave away possession 39 percent of the time he attempted a pass. 

There are red-flags: He wasn't identified as an outstanding player by the FTSGSanogo is the striker's answer to Abou Diaby—generally always injuredSanogo lacks experience and is very raw. 

Though, what you can say is Sanogo showed promise with his direct approach against Liverpool, which could trouble Bayern Munich in the upcoming UEFA Champions League round of 16 first-leg. 

Should he trouble Bayern, he will cause more trouble to Giroud by winning the No. 9 starting position. 

 

@allanjianga

Statistics via WhoScoredFFT Stats ZoneSquawka and Transfermarkt.

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