5 high-profile forwards whose finishing has been poor this season

Chelsea striker Timo Werner
Chelsea striker Timo Werner
Shambhu Ajith

These forwards seemed to have forgotten their striking boots at home before joining their sides for the season.

Being a forward is perhaps the most exciting and exhilarating role to play on a football field. After all, the objective in football is to put the ball in the back of the net and the forwards are the ones who are primarily tasked with executing that.

The role of the forward requires a skillset replete with good ball control, technique and most importantly composure and finishing. It's not enough for an individual to have silky feet or electrifying pace. He needs to be able to keep his head when an opportunity presents itself and apply the right finishing touches to put the ball in the back of the net.

Without further ado, let's take a look at five high-profile forwards whose finishing has been poor this season.

#5 Raheem Sterling - Manchester City

Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Carabao Cup Final
Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Carabao Cup Final

Manchester City have been running riot this season and it is particularly commendable as they haven't been able to rely much on their forwards for goals. Sergio Aguero has missed the majority of the season through injury. Gabriel Jesus has not exactly been prolific and neither has Raheem Sterling.

Sterling's finishing has always been suspect and in fact, it is the one thing that has arguably held him back from being one of the best players in the world. Granted, Sterling has had seasons where he has been prolific in front of goal. But this campaign, he has been quite hit or miss.

He is awkwardly poor in one-on-one situations and always takes too much time before getting the shot away. His shooting arsenal is quite limited and apart from side-foot finishes, you won't see much there.

Sterling squandered some big chances against the likes of Chelsea, West Ham United, West Bromwich Albion and Leeds United to name a few, and his nine goals from 27 Premier League appearances is a little flattering for his ability in front of goal.

#4 Sadio Mane - Liverpool

Real Madrid v Liverpool FC - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: Leg One
Real Madrid v Liverpool FC - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: Leg One

Sadio Mane had scored 20+ goals across all competitions in each of his last three seasons at Liverpool. As such, it is frustrating to see the Senegalese international act like he has lost the knack for it this term.

Liverpool's injury woes are pertinent to their poor Premier League title defense and their having a forgettable season, but the fact that their forwards, apart from Mohamed Salah, are having their worst season yet shouldn't be overlooked.

Mane has scored just eight goals in the Premier League from 30 appearances and looks a shadow of his former self. The fearsome trio of Mane, Firmino and Salah look pretty tame right now. More than anything, Mane seems to have lost a lot of confidence.

In past seasons, he wouldn't have any qualms about putting his laces through the ball and smashing it home when presented with the opportunity. But this season, even when he has been played through on goal, the 29-year-old tries to play it safe and has often rolls the ball into the goalkeeper's hands.

#3 Anthony Martial - Manchester United

Manchester United v Aston Villa - Premier League
Manchester United v Aston Villa - Premier League

Anthony Martial enjoyed his best goalscoring season in 2019/20. The Frenchman scored 23 goals across all competitions for Manchester United last season. However, he seems to have forgotten all about his craft this time around.

Martial has been poor as Manchester United's first-choice number 9. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be thanking the stars for Edinson Cavani as without the Uruguayan's contributions in key moments, Manchester United could still have been caught up in the top 4 battle.

Martial's finishing has been really poor this season. He wasted three one-on-one chances in Manchester United's 6-2 win over Leeds United in December. Like Sterling, Martial seems to want to only sidefoot the ball into the net and as such, he has become extremely predictable to goalkeepers.

His positioning and movement have also been ordinary this season and this reflects in his numbers. The 25-year-old has scored just seven goals in 37 appearances across all competitions for the Red Devils. Simply nowhere near being good enough.

#2 Roberto Firmino - Liverpool

Leeds United v Liverpool - Premier League
Leeds United v Liverpool - Premier League

In their most recent game against Newcastle United, Liverpool had 21 shots and they scored just one goal. It has been a problem since the start of the season and their strikers have been anything but clinical in front of goal.

Firmino has been one of the main culprits. Though he is not renowned for being an out-and-out number 9, To put things into perspective and on a metric, Liverpool have been scoring 10.3 goals less than their xG. While Jota and Salah have overperformed, Firmino and Mane have been huge letdowns.

Last time around, Liverpool scored 10 goals more than their xG. Roberto Firmino has scored just six goals this season in 43 appearances across all competitions. Those numbers are not good enough for a forward whose team are the defending champions in the league.

#1 Timo Werner - Chelsea

Chelsea v Sheffield United - Premier League
Chelsea v Sheffield United - Premier League

Chelsea activated Timo Werner's £47.5 million release clause to sign him from RB Leipzig last summer. While Werner seems to have brought his electrifying pace and tenacity to West London, he seems to have forgotten his shooting boots in Germany.

Werner has been pisspoor in front of goal this season and that's not an exaggeration. The German international has consistently missed so many big chances this season that his blooper reel will be lengthier than his highlight reel.

Timo Werner had the chance to secure an invaluable lead for Chelsea in last night's game against Real Madrid, away from home, but he squandered it after being played through on goal by Pulisic. He missed a sitter over the weekend against West Ham United as well.

It's starting to get really frustrating at this point and having scored just 11 goals in 45 appearances across all competitions, Werner's debut season in England will be viewed as a big flop. He will need to up his finishing or he could even be shipped out quite soon.

Edited by Shambhu Ajith
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