Why are La Liga's top forwards struggling to score goals this season?
While Lionel Messi has scored 12 goals, these five star players' goals can be counted on one hand
With over a quarter of the season played so far, the 2017/18 La Liga season has already seen a few surprises. Defending champions Real Madrid are already 8 points off the pace (a huge gap this early in the season has never been closed down) while Barcelona, the team they destroyed in the Spanish Super Cup, are top of the league and undefeated.
Two other teams remain undefeated - Valencia have been resurgent while Atletico Madrid have played out far too many draws. Sevilla are struggling to get in the top four while one-time Champions League participants Malaga are bottom of the league with just one win in 11 games.
But the biggest surprise of all has been misfiring forwards, especially among teams at the top. Here are five forwards from Spain's top teams who are struggling to find the back of the net.
#1 Luis Suarez (Barcelona)
Goals in La Liga: 3
It's hard to imagine that a Pichichi winner in 2015/16 and runner-up in 2016/17 has so far scored just three times in the league.
Of the three goals scored, only the equaliser against Atletico Madrid stands out. The others were a stoppage time goal in a 5-0 thrashing of Espanyol and the third in a 3-0 win over Girona - games in which Barcelona were comfortably ahead and the opposition had no choice but to attack.
A major reason for his poor form has been because Ernesto Valverde has deployed him as a wide forward instead of a striker so he can accommodate Lionel Messi in a false-nine role. As a result, Messi has been able to carry forward his rich goal scoring form from last season into this, leading La Liga with 12 goals.
However, Suarez has suffered as a result as he isn't always at the end of chances. But that doesn't mean he isn't deprived of them. He still averages the same number of shots on goal in a game ever since his move to the Camp Nou.
Suarez has had a near-equal number of shots on and off target this season. Excluding the 11 blocked shots, he has had 10 shots on target so far this season.
It's just the quality of his shots and, at times, the angle that has worked against him. His struggles in front of goal have been attributed to an injury he is still recovering from but the Uruguayan striker has still missed a few golden chances to get on the score sheet.