Why Arsenal Are Interested In Odsonne Edouard – Scout Report
With the potential departure of top marksman, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal and Mikel Arteta will be weighing up potential candidates who can bolster his front line ahead of a defining campaign for both him and the club. Odsonne Edouard is a player who could fit the bill.
Odsonne Edouard has scored 21 goals in 27 premiership games so far this season for Celtic. The right footed 22 year old, has cultivated a profile of having a complete game. He is both strong and quick, as well as remarkably fast with his feet. Edouard stands at 6ft 1in and has been involved in more aerial battles (309) than any of, Lacazette, Aubameyang or Martinelli so far this season. Maybe his most favourable quality is his awareness and off ball movement.
For Celtic he has built a strong understanding with his teammates, creating regular patterns which seems him dummy the ball before running onto a through pass. Other such patterns he creates for Celtic are reminiscent of those done by Lacazette. Edouard often drops of the front line and uses his strength to either turn and dribble, or lay the ball off, before sprinting into the box.
Per 90 Edouard takes on average 3.06 shots. As you can see form the graphic below, 50.8% of Edouard’s total 256 shots this season, have come in and around the penalty spot. Of his 256 total shots, Edouard has had 175 (68.3%) on target. A total of 42.9% of his on target shots have come to the centre of goal. Specifically, 21.7% have come low to the centre of goal. In comparison to Edouard, Aubameyang has had a total of 232 shots, averaging 2.58 per 90.
Given that the majority of Aubameyang’s games have come off the left, that 41.6% of his on target shots have come to the right of goal. Only 39.7% of Aubameyang’s shots come from around the penalty spot. Lacazette has had 152 shots this season, with 59.8% (91) being on target. The majority of Lacazette’s shots have been in the bottom left corner, with 17.1%.
Regarding expected goals, Edouard has averaged for the season an XG of 0.32. Aubameyang who shoots from tighter angles has an expected goals of 0.4. Lacazette is probably a better measure given he too; like Edouard has mainly played as a number 9. He averages 0.38. In all competitions so far for Celtic, Edouard is expected to score 17 goals. He has netted 28. A combination of excellent finishing from improbable angles and poor goalkeeping, has helped him exceed his expected goals. If he is to join Arsenal, then he will have to improve the areas of goal he shoots at. Low and to the centre of goal, is not good enough. Lacazette with a similar XG is expected to score 10 goals, he has scored 9 goals this season. This is also closer to his expected figure and proves the importance of better quality shots against better opponents.
A modern striker must have the ability to pass and find a teammate effectively. Something which is common place at Arsenal are balls into the striker for them to then lay the ball off to a teammate. Edouard averages 20.59 short passes per 90 minutes. Out of his total 1724, he has an accuracy of 84%. Both Aubameyang and Lacazette have very similar passing statistics, averaging 21.2 and 22.77 passes per 90 minutes respectively. An area which is very interesting regarding passing, is smart passes. Edouard has attempted 113 of these passes this season, with a success rate of 44.2%.
Aubameyang has played 86, with a success rate 34.9%. Lacazette has played 92 of these passes, with a 44.6% accuracy. A high proportion of Edouard’s smart passes have been through balls. Edouard has played 73 through passes, whilst Lacazette and Aubamayeng have played 57 and 53 respectively.
A major part of being a complete modern striker is being able to effectively use the ball and incorporate your teammates into play. Mikel Arteta wants for his strikers to be involved in play and help progress the ball fluidly. Edouard can do this. Again, his statistics must be brought into the context against the strength of Celtic in relation to the rest of the league and his quality against those in opposition teams. It is encouraging though, it’s clearly part of his game and something he looks to attempt, which is in line with Arteta’s philosophy.
A clear strength and characteristic of Edouard’s play is his dribbling. Edouard has attempted 544 1v1 dribbles, averaging 6.5 per 90 minutes. He has a success rate of 64.5%. Against centre backs, Edouard has attempted 275 1v1 dribbles with a success rate of 61.1%. It’s very important that when the ball finds the striker, that he has the potential beating of his man and can provide that quality in a 1v1 situation.
Despite playing high off the left, Auabameyang has only attempted 283 1v1 dribbles succeeding in 70.7%. Lacazette, a player who should Edouard sign, will be competing with, has attempted 248 1v1 dribbles. Lacazette attempts 3.5 1v1 dribbles per game and 56.1% of his total 114 1v1 dribbles against opposition centre backs.
It’s important that strikers have the beating of their opposition player. In and around the box, the most successful and revered strikers are those who can beat their man and find space for the shot. Edouard clearly has the ability and qualities to play this role and beat his man. He attempts more 1v1 dribbles, than either Aubameyang or Lacazette and he has great success doing it. In tight games, against compact defences, this could be invaluable.
Edouard would seemingly be good signing for Arsenal. He has the basis and fundamentals of a striker who could offer lots to Arsenal. He has the awareness and intelligence which would suit Arteta’s styles of play. At 22 years old, he has plenty of time to learn and develop. The only real question marks I have over him, is whether in a team which isn’t domestically dominant and are in the process of building, if he can raise his levels to compete against vastly improved opponents and smarter tactics.
The other question, is about his shots. The impressive thing is the amount he gets in target, however the quality of shots are quite poor. Shooting is something the Arsenal coaching staff can work on and help him improve, but if he is to cost upwards of £30 million, then perhaps you could expect better.