The Hottest Strikers from Week 3 of the Premier League
While this week's showings were certainly more fruitful than last week's goals-wise, it wasn't exactly a stellar run-out for the Premier League strikers.
The usual suspects are still here in Olivier Giroud and Daniel Sturridge, but other than that it's been fairly barren for the men up front.
In fact, it's been so dry that we've had to include two players who did score but whose performances would have otherwise negated their entry had there been a bit more competition. As such, we only gave them one slide to share.
All stats are courtesy of Transfermarkt unless linked otherwise.
Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool
Liverpool 1-0 Manchester United
Yet again, Daniel Sturridge is an automatic entry into the list, showing us why Chelsea’s judgement was so off when they opted to sell him to Liverpool in favour of other, less prolific strikers.
While his contribution to Liverpool’s 1-0 triumph over traditional rivals Manchester United consisted practically of only the goal itself, he once more demonstrated how he has matured since arriving at Anfield in January.
Once a player whose rawness could hinder his otherwise impressive talents, the former Manchester City player has picked up the striker’s knack of positioning himself well in the box. He was there to direct Daniel Agger’s header over the two United players on the line for the only goal of the game.
Not much else to write home about as far as Sturridge is concerned, from this game anyway. Still, three goals in three league games is certainly worth mentioning, and it looks as though there will be plenty more.
Alvaro Negredo, Manchester City
Manchester City 2-0 Hull City
Signing a relatively low-profile striker (for City) for £16.4 million from Sevilla wasn’t exactly a typical Mansour-era move for the Sky Blues. But when you look at Negredo’s goals-to-games ratio in Primera Liga—102 goals in 209 games—it’s not hard to see why that investment is already starting to pay off.
Having scored what was ultimately an academic goal in last week’s defeat at Cardiff City after coming on as a substitute, and also doing the same a week earlier against Newcastle United but having it wrongly disallowed, the stage was set for lightning to strike thrice.
And it did.
After coming on in the 46th minute for Edin Dzeko—a player whose first-team opportunities are under direct threat from Negredo—the addition of the Spaniard roused City, who up to that point had been dire.
Merely 20 minutes later, he rose to meet Pablo Zabaleta’s cross in the same convincing fashion that he has shown previously, and the ball hit the back of the net.
Expect to see him start ahead of Dzeko in the next game.
Olivier Giroud, Arsenal
Arsenal 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur
Has Giroud been the surprise of the season so far?
In 2012-13, he often looked more preoccupied with his hair than scoring goals. It was widely thought that there was no way that Arsene Wenger could rely on the French international for another season.
Consequently, Giroud has looked exactly like a player who knows he is fighting for his place, and the result of that will be pleasing his manager.
He has scored in every league game so far this season, a feat equalled only by Daniel Sturridge. He is constantly drifting into the areas that we expect from a seasoned striker, as opposed to last season’s sometimes rather lost performances.
Having tested the Arsenal fans’ patience last year, there is no better way to fully endear himself than to score against Tottenham Hotspur.
Giroud opened the game with a run into the Spurs six-yard box to neatly tap in Theo Walcott’s cross, which turned out to be the only goal of the North London derby. The industrial showing from the 26-year-old nearly saw him grab a second. Collecting the ball on the edge of the Spurs box, he controlled well and struck for goal, his deflected shot just rolling wide of Hugo Lloris' post.
With an apparent new-found level of confidence on the rise and the goals going in, it looks as though this could be quite an affirming season for Giroud.
Steven Fletcher/Dwight Gayle, Sunderland/Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace 3-1 Sunderland
Goals: 1 each
While Steven Fletcher’s strike actually came from open play, as opposed to Dwight Gayle’s converted spot-kick, neither player really did enough to warrant a slide of their own.
Fletcher did well to rise up to and head home Jack Colback’s cross in his usual manner, and that goal will lift the former Wolverhampton Wanderers man’s confidence after going since March without scoring.
However, the Scotland international will have been disappointed to see his efforts thrown away by John O’ Shea’s reckless foul for the Palace penalty.
At the other end of the pitch, Dwight Gayle gave some indication of the pace and movement that his plaudits promise. He made a good impression, but he was not quite as involved as Ian Holloway would have liked.
Strangely, although he scored his penalty, the kick itself was disappointing. It only went in through Julian Speroni’s inability to stick his knees out.
But as they say, a striker needs goals, and both of these players have more that they can bring to the table.