So we reach 10 games into the season, a quarter of the season has flown by already and it sees us return with a meagre 11 points. We have not even posted three victories from those 10 games which is a disappointing return considering the opposition we have faced along the way. Of those teams we only have amassed more points so far than four of them:-
We have played six of those 10 games at home. A return of six points from a possible 18 in the fortress Anfield proves a little fine tuning is certainly required for an upturn in fortune.
Last season we hit the woodwork a number of times and missed so many chances to prove that the problem was a little more deep rooted than just bad luck. We amassed just 27 points at home all season a return that shows little immediate signs of improving this term
Of the 13 goals scored in the league this season we have just seen five different goal scorers Suarez (8), Gerrard (2), Skrtel, Sahin and Sterling. Last season when goal scoring and finishing off teams proved an issue we ended the season sharing goals between 13 players with goals coming from:
I think we have a different issue this year; we are missing the likes of Carroll, Kuyt, Bellamy and even Rodriguez. Despite their limited playing time you always felt they may grab us a goal. They have all moved on and not been replaced in terms of the goals they can bring to a side.
It is far too early to judge Borini yet, although he doesn’t look as if he will make a huge dent into that tally, Joe Allen certainly won’t and Suso and Sterling are probably going to be players that won’t start every week at present as they are still plying their trade. So although hopeful they will add to the total, I am certainly not expecting a glut of goals from them.
How does our goals record compare to the top scoring sides in the league this season?
Manchester United (25 goals -13 different goal scorers)
Chelsea (22 goals-10 different goal scorers)
Fulham (22 goals-9 different goal scorers)
Everton (19 goals-8 different goal scorers)
Man City (18 goals-9 different goal scorers)
Before we plough into the issue of who is to blame and point fingers at the owners for not strengthening, Brendan Rogers for not replacing or Kenny Dalglish for wasting money on inferior players (three of the arguments I have picked up from individual papers today) let’s focus on where we maybe going wrong and where can we put it right?
Watching the Newcastle game yesterday I thought I would analyse a bit of our attacking play to see if I could shine an insight into how we can improve this goal scoring issue to get us further up the league and a few more points in the bag. On the overview of yesterday’s game I hear the same moans and groans – we dominated the game, if we had a goal scorer we would have won the game. Our approach play was positive although our goal actually came from a long pass where Suarez got between two defenders to apply a clinical finish. Let us have a look at a few statistics and compare the first half to the second (which is in brackets)
Left Central Right
Entries into the final third
Ball out of play/dispossessed
If you pick up the papers this morning you will see that we had 20 shots with 12 shots on target, although apart from the Suarez goal I cannot recall Tim Kruhl having many other serious saves to make. There was the miss from Shelvey and a couple of efforts from Suarez but that apart, has Kruhl pulled off a number of world class saves to keep Newcastle in the game? Simple answer no. I looked at our ability to get into the final third and create chances as I feel the 12 shots on target does not tell the full story.
We have entered into the final third a total of 45 times throughout the game when we are looking in wide areas how many times we got a cross into the box
Entries into final third
The table shows that we were more successful down the left where Raheem Sterling is more of an orthodox winger who will get crosses into the box. For all these crosses our chance creation percentage was poor, too many crosses were cleared, blocked, dispossessed or went out of play.
What does this tell us?
• The qualities of our crosses were poor?
• We lack confidence in the final third
• We do not have enough options in the box
I think all of these three possibilities are true. Firstly we do not reach the intended targets when we get into the final third. We do lack belief in the final third. We do not get enough players into the box giving us another option. When Newcastle scored they had three options to pick out in the box giving our defenders decisions to make. When we got into their box we did not commit enough options. Far too often we do not make it easy enough for our attackers giving them a number of different options. This involves midfielders getting into the box as well as attackers, something we are absent of doing so far. I think when we address this situation more goals will be scored and more points gained. Until then though if you’re looking to place a first goalscorer bet then it looks like there’s only one man who could get you a return from your money – Luis Suarez. For now it seems as though you might as well put all your money into a slots machine if you were thinking about betting on someone else, you’d probably get a better return. Standing only one goal behind Robin Van Persie on top scorers for the league (and way ahead of Fernando Torres), the bookies are giving pretty good odds on him to take the Golden Boot this season. And let’s not forget to keep a mental note on the ‘offside’ winner in the derby a couple of weeks back. You won’t have to contend with bad linesmen at the slots and with a huge array of different games you can always find something to suit your mood at Lucky Nugget – either stick with football in the slots game “Game on” or go for something completely different and try your skills at a card game such as poker or Blackjack.