The weekend’s early kick-off sees Watford host Everton at Vicarage Road, and while it seems a fairly inconsequential tie from a distance, comparing the teams’ lack of goals makes for intriguing analysis.
This time last season, Watford’s Odion Ighalo and Everton’s Romelu Lukaku were firing on all cylinders. This year, it’s a very different story.
Let’s start with the Hornets’ front man, Ighalo. Twelve months ago the Nigerian had chalked up nine Premier League goals, and quite a fantasy football following. This year, he has one goal and one assist. Both came in the same game against West Ham.
Furthermore, new Watford manager Walter Mazzarri seems to be losing patience – Ighalo missed just one of the first 11 games of the season, but has played only 50 minutes in the last three games.
Lukaku’s situation is rather less critical, but concern still rears its head. Twelve months ago the Belgian had 11 Premier League goals, and while he has a respectable tally of seven thus far, the last four games have been barren for Rom – he’s not scored a league goal since October.
What impact do these statistics have on the team? The results make for grim reading.
Watford have amassed a meagre six goals in their last seven games, and while Etienne Capoue filled the Ighalo-shaped hole in the side earlier in the season, his efforts have mostly dried up as the season has gone on.
Everton meanwhile are suffering similar woes – this time last season the Toffees had accrued an impressive 27 goals – the tally this season stands at just 17, less than half the total of Merseyside rivals Liverpool, who have 35.
It doesn’t get better. Ronald Koeman’s side have scored seven goals in their last nine games, and so far this season are being outscored by Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, and even Saturday’s struggling opponents, Watford.
These are two teams who simply can’t afford for their main men to stop scoring – they just don’t have the squad depth to cover for that sort of poor form. Everton’s next best goalscorers have only two to their name.
So what can we expect on Saturday? A stale continuation of some abysmal goal scoring, or a glut of overdue goals?
Well 32 goals in the last 10 meetings between the sides suggests a goalless draw is unlikely – in fact, there has never been a 0-0 result between the two sides.
How’s that for tempting fate?