Simone Zaza has taken 26 shots since he last scored. Wilfried Zaha has taken 31. Sandro Ramírez should look away nowBy Martin Laurence for WhoScoredA new year is a time for a new start. A few Premier League strikers took the spirit of new year’s resolutio

The forwards whose new year's resolution should be to score goals

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  • 2019-01-29 02:30:19 10 months ago
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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.

Lorenzo Insigne.

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.

Mario Balotelli.

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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The forwards whose new year's resolution should be to score goals

Marseille humbled by fourth-tier amateurs in Coupe de France

While gilets jaunes (yellow vests) protests interrupted much of the Ligue 1 programme in December, things are now slightly less chaotic in France, with the Coupe de France staging its round-of-64 over the weekend. The competition, which whittles down thousands of sides before including the top-flight teams at this stage, has always produced fairytale runs, with Lyon holding off third-tier Quevilly in the 2012 final and PSG beating Les Herbiers in last season’s showpiece.

Yet, on the wrong side of a result this weekend were Marseille, who lost to ASF Andrézieux, a fourth-division side from a suburb of Saint-Étienne. Andrezieux’s 5,000-capacity ground was deemed too small to host the match, so it was moved to the nearby Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. Whereas some sides rotated their line-ups or lost in dramatic circumstances – both Angers and Montpellier lost 1-0 to lower league opposition – Marseille not only played a first-choice team but also failed to score in a 2-0 defeat.

L’Équipe led with the headline “the lesson,” but Marseille fans must feel as if no lesson has been learned. With no win in seven matches, their struggles are impossible to ignore, even in the face of those of their neighbours, Monaco. The two clubs meet in Ligue 1 on Sunday. Despite Monaco’s struggles this season, Marseille are hardly big favourites.

Andrezieux players celebrate after winning the tie at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne.

The arrivals of Cesc Fàbregas and Naldo, a 36-year-old centre-back from Brazil, are not exactly inspirational, but at least Monaco are taking a proactive approach to dealing with their current predicament. Much like Marseille, Monaco spent in the summer, with an emphasis on younger players with no experience in French football. Some of their signings have been a mixed bag (Benjamin Henrichs), but others, most notably Aleksandr Golovin, have been unmitigated disasters.

Marseille face a similar situation, with the signings of Duje Caleta-Car and Nemanja Radonjic at a combined cost of more than €30m having hamstrung the club financially, for no return. Now, as Monaco try to turn around their fortunes in the transfer market, Marseille, having spent heavily in the summer without any significant outgoing sales save André-Frank Zambo Anguissa’s £30m move to Fulham, must try to regain their verve with no mooted help from outside. Or, almost no outside help; a move for Mario Balotelli, who had been a target in the summer, has been rumoured, but with the Italian yet to score this season and unlikely to feature for Nice any time soon after his bust-up with manager Patrick Vieira, his potential arrival hardly seems a palliative.

Marseille could cash in on some of their prized assets in an attempt to restructure the team; Morgan Sanson’s guile and versatility has tempted several bigger sides but the €20m or so they would make from selling him would scarcely make a dent for a team that increasingly looks shorn of depth and quality. This, coupled with their crippling over-reliance on Florian Thauvin, has made Marseille the apotheosis of what can go wrong when a club with a proud tradition seeks to restore their reputation on the fly, opting for ageing or inconsistent players.

Andrezieux coach Jean Noel Cabezas celebrates with a player after their victory over Marseille.

The club has enjoyed positives under the ownership of Frank McCourt – their appearance in the Europa League final last season and the renaissance of Thauvin – but this is a squad whose best days seem behind them, with Dimitri Payet, Adil Rami and Steve Mandanda all playing far below their best this season. Rudi Garcia, a manager who earned an impressive reputation in France after his achievements with Lille, has also looked out of his depth, chopping and changing players and systems at will.

Given that McCourt cannot compete financially with PSG, Marseille simply must take an holistic approach to squad building. The Ligue 1 table serves as evidence of this: Lyon have relied on their academy and canny acquisition of young French players; Lille have placed their faith in a young, exciting side; and Montpellier have opted to base their side around the brilliant counter-attacking brio of Michel Der Zakarian.

Marseille, meanwhile, installed a manager whose best success came when he picked young sides who played in an attack-minded style, but then brought in the likes of Kevin Strootman and Dimitri Payet instead. Garcia should absorb some of the blame – as we have argued in this column before – but sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta and president Jacques-Henri Eyraud are the ones who need to learn their own lesson.

Talking points

Viry-Chatillon players celebrate after beating Angers in the French Cup.

“Christmas in January,” read L’Équipe’s front page as major cup upsets punctuated the weekend. Beyond the third-tier National, France’s sprawling lower divisions are split into groups or regions meaning around 500 clubs separated Saint-Étienne and seventh-tier Olympique Strasbourg on Sunday afternoon, making the 6-0 result rather respectable. However, Marseille were not alone in humiliation. Despite fielding a strong team, Angers were beaten 1-0 by sixth-tier side Viry-Châtillon; National outfit SSG Entente embarrassed Montpellier by the same scoreline; Gazelec Ajaccio of Ligue 2 also excited to sixth-division opposition; and Nimes were routed 3-0 by third-tier Lyon Duchère. After National side Les Herbiers made the final last year, cup magic remains rife in France.

The FA Cup is the world’s oldest cup competition but the Coupe de France is the biggest. Just 64 of several thousand entrants from across France and its former colonies remained this weekend and among them were Aiglon du Lamentin of Martinique. Despite a near 7,000km journey for the Caribbean islanders, Ligue 2 Orléans needed extra time to overcome their visitors, 3-2. Their encounter mirrored Réunion representative Excelsior’s visit to Lille at the same stage two years ago. Having also battled through various qualifying rounds they too held their own before being overrun in injury time, 4-1.

While Adrien Rabiot’s supposed move to Barcelona will dominate the headlines, another Frenchman may exchange Ligue 1 for the Camp Nou this month. Just 18 and without a senior minute of action to his name, Jean-Clair Todibo seemed a long way from the Toulouse first team this summer but his opportunity emerged when Issa Diop left for West Ham and Stephane Mbia picked up an injury. The rangy centre-back has only made 10 appearances but his ability to play his way out of trouble, pick a pass and read the game quickly and intelligently has drawn significant interest. With his youth contract expiring in June, Todibo refused Toulouse’s longer term professional contract to facilitate a transfer, a decision that, mirroring Rabiot, left him banished from the first team by an understandably frustrated club. Both players are supremely talented but Ernesto Valverde may have to improve their attitudes if they are to succeed at Barcelona.

This is an article from Get French Football News
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European round-up: Real seal late win as Messi reaches 400 La Liga goals

Real Madrid snatched a 2-1 victory at Real Betis thanks to a late free-kick from Dani Ceballos that returned the European champions to the top four.

Luka Modric had given Real the lead in the 18th minute, lashing a loose ball home from the edge of the area.

Santiago Solari’s side were missing seven first-team players and lost Karim Benzema to injury at the end of the first half. They were pegged back by Betis’s Sergio Canales who levelled in the 67th minute.

But the substitute Ceballos, a former Betis player, secured a vital win with two minutes remaining, sending his free-kick outside the Betis wall and into the corner.

The victory took Real Madrid above Alavés and into fourth place on 33 points, although they are still 10 points behind Barcelona who beat Eibar 3-0.

Playing at the Nou Camp Lionel Messi became the first player to score 400 La Liga goals. Luis Suárez struck twice as Barça maintained a five-point advantage over Atlético Madrid at the top of the table.

Messi’s remarkable landmark strike extended his own La Liga record - Cristiano Ronaldo is the only other player to have scored more than 300 goals in the Spanish top flight - and came in his 435th appearance in the competition.

Paris St Germain’s manager, Thomas Tuchel, said his side’s 3-0 victory over 10-man Amiens was “deserved” as they extended their lead at the top of Ligue 1 to 13 points. Edinson Cavani gave PSG the lead from a spot-kick after a goalless first half while Amiens managed only one shot on target in the 90 minutes.

Khaled Adénon was sent off for a second bookable offence after he brought down the marauding Kylian Mbappé just before the French forward added his side’s second goal minutes later. The Brazilian defender Marquinhos added a third to wrap up the game after being expertly set up by Julian Draxler.

Cesc Fàbregas during his Monaco debut against Marseille.

Cesc Fàbregas made his debut for Monaco two days after leaving Chelsea in a drab 1-1 draw at Marseille. Thierry Henry’s side remain one place off the bottom.

In the Coppa Italia goals from Federico Bernardeschi and Moise Kean took Juventus into the quarter-finals with a 2-0 away win at Bologna. Joining them are Milan, who knocked out Sampdoria 2-0 after extra time thanks to a double from Patrick Cutrone, and Lazio, who beat the Serie C side Novara 4-1 with goals from Luis Alberto, Ciro Immobile (two) and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic .

The Napoli striker Arkadiusz Milik scored one goal and provided an assist for another as his side beat Sassuolo 2-0.

In Portugal the leaders Porto were held 0-0 by Sporting CF.

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