Dzeko, Soldado, Balotelli & 20 of European Football's Most Wasteful Attackers
Initially benched for Manchester City’s FA Cup encounter with Wigan on Sunday, Edin Dzeko came into the match in the 53rd minute, hit the woodwork once and missed his other three shots.
Inauspiciously known as one of European football’s most wasteful strikers, the 27-year-old Bosnia-Herzegovina international requires nearly 10 shots for every goal he scores and has converted just over 10 per cent of his opportunities so far this season.
Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, on the other hand, needs only 5.29 shots for every goal and has a conversion rate of 18 per cent. And Diego Costa, who has been on fire for Atletico Madrid this term, is finding the back of the net with nearly a quarter of the shots he takes.
In the following slideshow, we’ll examine 20 of the European game’s more inefficient attackers—centre-forwards, support strikers and attack-minded wingers who seem to need countless chances before making something happen.
The metrics: shots per goal and rate of proficiency.
Dzeko, needless to say, is featured in this ranking. But where?
Let’s get started and find out.
20. Samuel Eto’o (Chelsea)
Our lead-off man is Samuel Eto’o, who turned 33 (apparently) on March 10. He had gone 11 games without scoring when he found the back of the net in Chelsea’s 4-0 win at home to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.
Shots per goal: 7.00
19. Jonas (Valencia)
Presently eighth in La Liga, Valencia have struggled to find the back of the net this season, and although the Brazilian Jonas has found the back of the net on nine occasions, he has missed 55 of his shots.
Shots per goal: 7.11
18. Neymar (Barcelona)
Neymar is proof that being mentioned in this ranking is not the same as being a poor player.
In a side that thrives on build-up play, the Brazil international is one of the few Barcelona attackers who rarely passes up a shot. And as he matures in Spanish football, his proficiency will no doubt improve.
Shots per goal: 7.19
17. Mame Biram Diouf (Hannover)
Offensively starved Hannover could do with a few more goals, and while Mame Biram Diouf has so far tallied eight times for the Bundesliga side, he has missed a further 56 shots.
Shots per goal: 8.00
16. Nolan Roux (Lille)
Ligue 1 Bastia are the only top-half side to have scored fewer goals than Lille so far this season.
Shots per goal: 8.29
15. Alexander Meier (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Towering attacker Alexander Meier is key to Eintracht Frankfurt’s survival bid, but so far this season he’s converted only 12 per cent of his goalscoring opportunities.
Shots per goal: 8.33
14. Wilfried Bony (Swansea)
In a November interview with the Guardian, Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins seemed to criticize former manager Michael Laudrup’s summer acquisition of Wilfried Bony, who has needed more than eight-and-a-half shots to score since arriving at the Premier League outfit.
Shots per goal: 8.56
13. Imanol Agirretxe (Real Sociedad)
The Real Sociedad striker is second choice to the more efficient Carlos Vela these days. Vela has scored 10 La Liga goals from 55 shots so far this season—a conversion rate that puts him on par with Suarez.
Shots per goal: 8.60
12. Roberto Soldado (Tottenham Hotspur)
There are times you forget Roberto Soldado is even on the pitch. And more often than not, when he finally receives the ball, he has no idea what to do with it.
The Spaniard is unquestionably among the most wasteful strikers in the Premier League.
Shots per goal: 8.67
11. Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Borussia Dortmund)
Henrikh Mkhitaryan operates in a support role behind Robert Lewandowski at Borussia Dortmund, but he has taken enough shots this season to justify his inclusion on this list. His numbers are identical to Soldado’s.
Shots per goal: 8.67
10. Antonio Di Natale (Udinese)
One of the things that makes Antonio Di Natale special is "when" he scores his goals for Udinese. A big-game player, he might not put up the numbers he once did, but he remains a club icon at the Serie A outfit.
Shots per goal: 8.78
9. Fernando Torres (Chelsea)
When Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was caught saying "I have no striker" in what was supposed to be a private conversation, as per the Mirror, he might easily have been referring to the wastefulness of Fernando Torres.
The Spain international has required 9.25 shots for every goal so far this season, as compared to Eden Hazard’s 4.54.
Shots per goal: 9.25
8. Kaka (AC Milan)
Kaka is taking a few more shots than he’d prefer, no doubt because his AC Milan side are struggling mightily to find the back of the net. Again, his numbers are more a reflection of desperation than clumsiness.
Shots per goal: 9.40
7. Edin Dzeko (Manchester City)
Seven goals by the second week of March is not nearly good enough for Edin Dzeko, who often comes up with the Premier League’s most unexplainable misses.
Shots per goal: 9.57
6. Amauri (Parma)
At 33, Amauri is no longer expected to carry the load offensively. Antonio Cassano and Marco Parolo have been the leading men at Parma this season, and the Serie A side’s wide-ranging contribution to offense has given them a chance at European football in 2014-15.
Shots per goal: 10.40
5. Brandao (Saint-Etienne)
Saint-Etienne are another side that has thrived off scoring by committee, which is just as well given that Brandao has required more than 10 shots to find the back of the net this season.
Shots per goal: 10.50
4. Mario Balotelli (AC Milan)
That AC Milan have two players in our ranking’s top 10 tells you all you need to know about their struggles in front of goal so far this season.
And while Mario Balotelli is typically the one to make something happen for the Rossoneri, he tends to serve up a head-scratcher as often as a golazo.
Shots per goal: 10.7
3. Dorlan Pabon (Valencia)
After returning to Valencia from a loan spell at Monterrey, Dorlan Pabon scored just three goals for Los Che before heading to Sao Paulo on a temporary deal at the end of January.
Shots per goal: 12.00
2. Manolo Gabbiadini (Sampdoria)
Manolo Gabbiadini hasn’t quite blossomed into the striker Juventus thought he’d become when they bought him from Atalanta in 2012. The 22-year-old now plays for Sampdoria and has taken nearly 100 shots already this season.
Shots per goal: 12.38
1. Michu (Swansea)
An ankle injury has kept Michu out of the Swansea lineup in recent weeks, but even so the 27-year-old hasn’t been able to build on a 2012-13 campaign in which he scored an eye-popping 18 Premier League goals.
Shots per goal: 16.4