Juventus might have bagged only nine goals in five Serie A games so far (not exactly too worrying) but a worrying fact will be that only three of those goals have come forwards and particularly only one has come from centre forward Gonzalo Higuain. In actual fact, asides the penalty goal scored by Cristiano Ronaldo against Hellas Verona and his strike against Napoli, the remainder of Juventus goals have come from midfielders and defenders.
Ronaldo can be forgiven given there’s a centre forward that should naturally be scoring a chunk of the team’s goals. Put into comparison, Roma’s Edin Dzeko already has three goals to his name, as well as Inter’s Romelu Lukaku and Napoli’s Edin Dzeko – meaning as harsh as it may sound, Higuain should be doing better – especially for a man of his calibre.
Juventus most recent fixture against Brescia earlier in the week was one that essentially stressed how important an in-form marksman would be at the moment. Sarri’s men had to come from a 1-0 deficit to record a 2-1 win. Both goals came courtesy of an own goal and a second half goal from Miralem Pjanic, yet another midfielder.
It might be too early to make anything of this situation but it’s becoming obvious the struggles to score goals will be one to haunt the Bianconeri in due time – if it’s not sorted.
A look at Higuain’s heatmap against Brescia gives a hint at what the problem might be – potentially.
As per the image above, we can see that Higuain struggled for service and had to go in deep to receive the ball at all. To that effect, his 46 touches was the least of any outfield player on the pitch. And of course to score a goal, one needs to be in possession of it in the first place. The same pattern has followed suit in virtually of all Higuain’s games so far.
It points out two potential reasons that could be the factor for Higuain’s lack of goals. It could either mean that the Juventus midfielders are not sending enough service upfront or it could simply be poor positioning from the Argentine forward.
Also, on a personal level, It’s been a difficult year for the 31-year-old striker. The Higuain on show during his loan stint at Chelsea was something to forget. He netted only five times from January-May, with three of those strikes found against sides which got relegated, Huddersfield Town and Fulham. His average read a Premier League goal every 218 minutes (via Whoscored). Compare that to a fellow Argentine forward, Sergio Aguero’s goal every 118 minutes (via Whoscored) which fired Manchester City to the title.
Higuain never properly settled at Stamford Bridge. Unaccustomed to English football’s fast-paced tempo, he looked sluggish throughout, struggling to find any space in which to make his mark.
So it could be the loss of confidence from a poor spell that could still be a psychological block for the 31-year-old, but if Juventus are to be a formidable team this season and stand the chance of retaining their title, Higuain will have to get over himself – quickly.
Furthermore, the fact that his return limits Ronaldo from roaming more centrally as he’ll have loved to do makes it all the more negative for everyone. If Ronaldo’s tally will be decreased because of Higuain, then the latter should at least be making up for it by scoring goals.
It’s still only five games gone and it might be a simple drought that could later be accompanied by a prolific spell but it’s already worrying a fact that the Juventus front line isn’t delivering the goods as expected of them. With the game against Inter on October 6, Higuain will easily be forgiven if he can bag a goal or two that gives Sarri and his side bragging rights in the highly anticipated contest.
It’s only a matter of time before the midfielders can’t bail the team anymore and that will leave Sarri and his Juventus side with a big dilemma.