Marko Arnautovic has spearheaded West Ham’s rise up the Premier League table since the last international break, no doubt about it.
He deserves great praise, especially for playing through injury; Jack Wilshere has recently said he is as good as Arsenal’s top players.
That got us thinking about how the Austrian measures up with other elite players in the top flight. Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang share the goalscoring duties at the Emirates; so we looked a top six striker who leads the attack solo, like Arnie, Romelu Lukaku.
The Belgian is Manchester United’s undisputed first-choice striker; one of the most expensive and highly-rated strikers in the world. How do his numbers match up with Arnautovic?
Using the Premier League website’s comparison tool, we ran the numbers. Both men are on four Premier League goals so far this season, three behind top marksman Eden Hazard.
Arnie has reached that tally in one fewer match and also collected an assist; Lukaku has none. Lukaku’s hold-up play is often criticised and Arnautovic outperforms him there; he makes more forward and backward passes, with more accuracy to boot.
Arnautovic’s finishing is also more efficient; he has missed just one ‘big’ chance this season, Lukaku has missed four, which is not good enough for a player at a top club.
Based on the comparison, it doesn’t appear that Lukaku is doing an awful lot that Arnautovic can’t do; West Ham have a player producing numbers that put him up there with the Premier League’s elite.
How good is Arnautovic?
Arnautovic showed with his display against United last month that he is good enough to cause top defences trouble.
On that same afternoon, Lukaku was toothless, lazy and ineffective. Arnautovic is all-action and backs it up with clinical finishing and strong team play.
Sometimes the only difference between top six players and the rest is perception; so far the numbers are proving that to be the case.