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The Forwards Whose New Year's Resolution Should Be to Score Goals

The Forwards Whose New Year's Resolution Should Be to Score Goals

Friday, 11 January, 2019 - 07:30
Simone Zaza, Sandro, Edin Dzeko and Wilfried Zaha have forgotten where the goal is. Composite: Getty Images
London - Martin Laurence
A new year is a time for a new start. A few Premier League strikers took the spirit of new year’s resolutions to heart this week, with Steve Mounie and Jordan Ayew both scoring their first goals of the season on Wednesday night. Between them they had gone 71 shots without finding the net, but their goalscoring droughts are over. These forwards will be hoping to follow their lead in 2019.

Simone Zaza: 26 shots for Valencia and Torino

Simone Zaza is currently on the sixth loan spell of his career. The former Juventus forward is familiar with Turin, but he can’t seem to find the net for Torino. He came off the bench to score the winning goal at Chievo at the end of September but has struggled to hold down a starting place since. He has gone 578 minutes across 11 appearances in Serie A without scoring, but hasn’t been shy to chance his arm, averaging a shot every 22 minutes since he last found the net.

Laurent Depoitre: 29 shots for Huddersfield

Laurent Depoitre was the goalscoring hero who ultimately secured Huddersfield’s status as a Premier League club at Stamford Bridge last May, but he hasn’t found the net since. The Belgian has been used in a rotation policy since signing for the club in 2017 and that has continued this season, starting nine of 18 league appearances. He has hit the target with just six of the 29 shots he has attempted since he last scored.

Wilfried Zaha: 31 shots for Crystal Palace

It’s been a frustrating few months for Palace’s star man, who began the season in strong form with three goals in his first four matches but hasn’t scored since. His last goal was a winner at Huddersfield back in mid-September and has since gone 14 appearances without finding the net in the league. It’s not been for want of trying either. He has hit 31 shots since his last goal and struck the woodwork in games against both Arsenal and Burnley.

Lorenzo Insigne: 31 shots for Napoli

Having started the season in fine form, Lorenzo Insigne has gone off the boil of late for Napoli. He last found the net in the league in a 5-1 win over Empoli at the start of November. Deployed in a front two more often than not in Carlo Ancelotti’s new system, the forward has only gone seven league games without a goal but in that spell he has fired off a whopping 31 shots without scoring.

Stipe Perica: 31 shots for Udinese and Frosinone

Unlike Insigne, Perica may struggle to even remember his last goal. The Croatian signed for newly promoted Frosinone in the summer and began the campaign as their first-choice striker, starting six times. After being largely ineffective in these matches, the 23-year-old was dropped down the pecking order. He has made just one substitute appearances since and is yet to score for his new club. In fact, his last goal came in December 2017 for Udinese, against Juventus no less.

Edin Dzeko: 33 shots for Roma

It’s been a season to forget in Serie A for Edin Dzeko, who is perhaps beginning to show his age. Having followed up a fantastic 29-goal season in 2016–17 with a respectable 16 goals last time around, the 32-year-old has just two league goals in the current campaign. The last of those came against Empoli back in October, with Roma struggling to keep pace with the top three as a consequence.

Diego Falcinelli: 36 shots for Sassuolo, Fiorentina and Bologna

Another player who failed to score in 2018, Falcinelli will hope this year is considerably more fruitful. The 27-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan at Fiorentina and, even though he failed to score for the Viola, Bologna forked out in the region of €10m to secure his services in the summer. It has not been money well spent for the club so far. Falcinelli is without a goal in 12 appearances this season. His last goal cam for Sassuolo against Inter in December 2017.

Mario Balotelli: 38 shots for Nice since his last goal
Mario Balotelli had a pretty prolific strike rate in his previous two seasons at Nice, but he and new manager Patrick Vieira have not seen eye-to-eye. Vieira confirmed that he had given the striker a leave of absence to consider his future last month and Balotelli has not featured since 4 December, which was his 10th league game without scoring all season. His run of 38 shots without finding the net stretches back to last May and it seems more than likely that the 28-year-old has scored his last goal for the club.

Sandro: 59 shots for Malaga, Everton, Sevilla and Real Sociedad

As far as goal droughts are concerned, no one here can compete with Sandro Ramírez. The Spaniard – who spent his teenage years at Barcelona – has failed to score a league goal for any of his last three clubs, including his current, temporary employers Real Sociedad. The young forward struck 14 times for Malaga in the 2016-17 season, so it was seen as something of a coup when Everton secured his signature the following summer, but he has had a torrid time since leaving Andalusia. His last goal came in May 2017. Since then he has attempted 59 shots in 34 league appearances. Here’s hoping the new year proves to be a turning point for Sandro.

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