Swansea City have scored just six goals in their opening nine games of the 2017-18 Premier League campaign, which is hardly surprising given the team have only managed to muster a disappointing average of eight shots per game; the lowest in the competition so far.
Whilst some teams are able to show a certain level of efficiency in front of goal, maximising what little they create by taking more of their chances, the Swans have struggled and drawn a blank in five of their nine league encounters.
Certainly not the start to the season manager Paul Clement was hoping for, with the kind of form that has Premier League odds placing Swansea as even-money relegation candidates.
For now, the team remains outside the drop-zone, but only by virtue of having conceded less goals.
KEEP WORKING AND PUSHING. WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER. pic.twitter.com/f0xNK9C0lZ
— Wilfried Bony (@wilfriedbony) September 26, 2017
Much of the summer transfer focus was signing midfield and attacking reinforcements. The idea behind the additions of Sam Clucas, Roque Mesa and Renato Sanches, was creating plenty of ammunition for the forward line. The problem at the moment is they’re still adapting and need time to settle in.
Amongst those expected to make the most of the creativity behind them, were two notable additions in the shape of returning favourite, Wilfried Bony, along with 20-year-old Tammy Abraham on loan from Chelsea, after he impressed with 26 goals last season at Bristol City last season.
The youngster already accounts for four of Swansea’s six goals in the Premier League.
Despite doing superbly for Swansea for two seasons, Bony hardly excelled at City and struggled to get regular enough starts, appearing as more of an impact player from the bench.
When Pep Guardiola arrived, he was considered surplus to requirements and shipped off for an ill-fated loan to Stoke City. When Bony chose country before club and represented Ivory Coast at the last AFCON tournament, Mark Hughes reacted badly and left him out of the squad for the rest of the season.
After three years of not playing regularly enough and arriving with injury niggles, it’s inevitable that Bony will need time to get his rhythm back. However, Clement seems confident Bony will be back to his best soon enough, and is gradually easing the player back into the limelight.
Meanwhile, the responsibility for scoring goals rests firmly on the shoulders of young Abraham.
This guy… ❤️⚪️⚫️ pic.twitter.com/BuPn1qvdNd
— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) October 14, 2017
Tactically, Clement has tinkered with a variety of shapes and systems that have brought mixed results, utilising options of playing three in attack with a central striker and two inside forwards, or a more orthodox pairing of two strikers to lead the line. In all, Abraham has been the most efficient when it comes to getting on the end of chances to score.
The numbers would suggest that Abraham is the primary option as the central striker amongst a trio, but that could change once Bony is back in top shape. Both could be shoehorned amongst a three-pronged attacking line, but would arguably work better as a two-man striker pairing if they had more opportunities to start games together.
Either way, Clement will certainly welcome the selection dilemma of having both players 100% available to play, but that’s just a part of the overall headache he faces. No matter who plays in attack or how sharp they are, strikers need a regular enough supply of scoring chances and based on team performances so far, they’re just not creating enough.