Zlatan Ibrahimovic's start to life in the English Premier League (EPL) could not have gone better as he scored five goals in the first five matches he played for Manchester United. However, in the remaining eight games, he was only able to score one goal, which came during the UEFA Europa League against Ukranian side, FC Zorya Luhansk.
Now, this might seem like the opposition defenders are finally figuring him out. Opta, on observing the numbers closely, have revealed that Ibrahimovic holds the record for having missed the most number of big chances in the Premier League this season thus far.
Opta, who are one of the foremost providers of data for sports, define a big chance as – A situation where a player should reasonably be expected to score usually in a one-on-one scenario or from very close range.
Even if a defender passes the ball to the opposition striker, and the striker fails to finish after going through on goal, it will be counted as a big chance missed by the striker. On the other hand, a big chance warrants that a shot is taken by the player. If a player, who is through on goal, and fails to get a shot away then the chance is not termed under the big chance category.
For the 2016/17 season, Opta has been noting down the list of players who have missed most sitters. Although Ibrahimovic has four goals to his name in the EPL this season, as per the latest data, the Swede has missed five big chances, which is the highest in the league.
Ibrahimovic can possibly take comfort from the fact that he is not the only one who has missed five big chances this season. Accompanying him are Arsenal's Theo Walcott and Sunderland's Jermain Defoe. Man United's record £89 million signing, Paul Pogba also makes the top ten, having missed three big chances.
It could be argued that these players, who make the list, are able to get themselves into scoring positions. For midfielders like Pogba and Dele Alli (who also makes the list), it might be termed as an added attribute to find themselves in such situations. However, for a forward like Ibrahimovic, it could very well be seen from a negative perspective.
The 35-year-old Swede, who has been on a wane in the last month or so, will be looking to reclaim his finishing touch from the earlier in the season and help Man United climb up the EPL table. In Monday night's match against Liverpool, Ibrahimovic had missed a sitter when he failed to head Pogba's pinpoint cross at goal.
Here are the highlights of Zlatan’s performance against Liverpool last night, with a caption filled up to the brim with sarcasm.
With Wayne Rooney's form already a worry for Jose Mourinho, the Man United manager will not want to have another of his forwards struggling to score goals.
Here is the list of players who have missed most big chances so far this season:
|Player (Club)||Big Chances Missed|
|Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United)||5|
|Theo Walcott (Arsenal)||5|
|Jermain Defoe (Sunderland)||5|
|Romelu Lukaku (Everton)||4|
|Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur)||3|
|Paul Pogba (Manchester United)||3|
|Vincent Janssen (Tottenham Hotspur)||3|
|Charlie Austin (Southampton)||3|
|Odion Ighalo (Watford)||3|
|Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)||3|