There have been some incredible performances from the Premier League’s leading marksmen this season. Robin van Persie has already surpassed the 20 goal mark that earned Tevez and Berbatov the golden boot last season and Ba, Aguero and Rooney all well on their way to joining him. In fact, only four players netted more than 13 goals last season, which is something that the aforementioned 4 from this season have already managed.
However, for every Henry there is an Akinbiyi and WhoScored has taken the time to name and shame those who have been guilty of missing some glaring chances. We study the players who have faltered from inside the box this season, focusing on strikers with the worst accuracy when reaching the opponents’ area.
Peter Odemwingie (West Brom) – 22 Shots Inside the Box – 32% Accuracy
Of all Premier League strikers to have attempted at least 1 shot from inside the box per game on average, Peter Odemwingie has the worst accuracy from close in with 32%. The West Brom front man was a revelation last season, winning over the Baggies fans by finishing 4th in the scoring ranks with 15.
He converted over 14% of his total shots at goal last season but having struck just 4 so far this campaign, has found the net with just 9% of his efforts to date, leading to public vents of frustration from his manager. In missing an open goal in the narrow home defeat to Swansea last time out, the 30-year-old could find himself falling out of favour, not only with his manager but also the fans that fell in love with him last season.
So far he has attempted 22 shots from inside the 18-yard box, missing the target 15 times, scoring 3 and testing the keeper on just 4 other occasions.
Fernando Torres (Chelsea) - 22 Shots Inside the Box - 36% Accuracy
The Nigerian is followed by Fernando Torres, who continues to disappoint at Chelsea having scored just twice. Both of the Spaniard's goals have come from inside the box but having attempted 22 efforts in the area, his accuracy is just 36%. That overall tally includes 6 shots saved by the keeper and one spectacular acrobatic effort that struck the woodwork.
The £50m-man is now without a goal in his last 17 appearances and his stats highlight the fact that if you don't hit the target, you won't score. Like Odemwingie before him, Torres has also had somewhat of a horror moment in front of goal, with the sight of the 27-year-old trying to bury his head into the turf at Old Trafford somewhat epitomising his tenure at Chelsea so far.
Tim Cahill (Everton) - 24 Shots Inside the Box - 38% Accuracy
Last season Tim Cahill finished as Everton's top scorer with 9 and this season he is only 2 goals away from the joint-leading marksmen once again. However, the fact that those "marksmen" have just 3 goals apiece after 24 games indicates towards the Aussie's frustrations in front of goal this term. His sorry tally of just 1 goal hasn't been for a want of trying, popping up in the box to attempt 24 shots from close in this season.
The attacking midfielder-cum-support striker has been denied by the woodwork once and by the opposition goalkeeper 8 times but has missed the target altogether on 14 occasions. This 38% shot accuracy from inside the 18-yard box has been key to Moyes' side’s slight downturn this season, with Cahill scoring with almost 16% of his overall shots last season compared to under 3% this time round.
The Worst of the Rest
Elsewhere in the bottom 10 are fellow strugglers Didier Drogba - a teammate of Torres, Saha - a former teammate of Cahill and Liverpool's Andy Carroll, whose tally of 3 goals from 43 efforts inside the box almost makes the Torres deal look like shrewd business. The fact that Carroll's strike partner Luis Suarez also makes the leaderboard (or loserboard if you will) is indicative of Liverpool, Everton and Chelsea’s misfiring front lines.
The likes of Carroll (23), Suarez (24) and Edin Dzeko (25) - also among the worst 10 strikers for shot accuracy inside the box - all rank in the top 5 when it comes to total attempts off target from inside the opposition area. Some may be surprised to see that Robin van Persie is also among the guiltiest in this regard, missing the target with 23 shots from inside the box. However, the flying Dutchman has had 72 shots from close range, meaning his accuracy of 64% is the 6th best in the league and proving that hitting the target is half the battle.
The player to have missed the target from inside the box more than any other forward is Spurs' on-loan front man Emmanuel Adebayor, who has failed to test the keeper with 27 efforts. The 27-year-old's 9-goal haul is still impressive but his form in front of goal will be of concern to the club having failed to register in his last 8 matches.
Perhaps the best way to round off an article of this ilk is to compare the inaccurate few that were analysed with the league's best, and it is fair to say that Everton fan's should look away now. With the Toffee's two main goal threats this season failing to fire, it is a player that David Moyes allowed to leave the club on a free who is showing them how it's done. From a total of 27 shots inside the area, Yakubu has tested the keeper 19 times, of which he has scored 12, meaning he has converted 44% of his efforts in the opponent's box this season.