9 Players Who Never Score…Who Actually Scored This Weekend

Dominic Solanke scored his first Premier League goal for Bournemouth | GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

This weekend has been all about surprises. Teams like Chelsea and Leicester City were both humiliated, but we don’t care about team results here. What’s caught our eye is the sheer number of unlikely goalscorers.

This weekend was full of “What, really? Him?!” moments. We’re used to getting one of those every once in a while, but not all at one time. The football gods are spoiling us.

Here are some of the most unlikely goalscorers from the past weekend.

Sheffield United’s David McGoldrick entered this weekend as the man with the most shots on target without scoring in the Premier League. He’d played 25 games (20 starts) and failed to find the back of the net.

Then Chelsea rocked up to Bramall Lane.

The Blues, who had only just recovered from letting Crystal Palace’s Christian Benteke net his first home league goal in 800 days, watched on as McGoldrick fired home. Twice.

It’s a Chelsea thing.

Speaking of Chelsea things, Blues academy graduate Dominic Solanke hasn’t had the best of times out on his own. He scored just once Liverpool and entered this weekend with one goal in 42 appearances for Bournemouth – none in the Premier League.

He had, after 60 appearances, as many England caps as Premier League goals.

The Cherries ran into Leicester City this weekend and soon found themselves 1-0 down. However, Brendan Rodgers’ side collapsed and allowed Solanke to put two past them in what turned into a 4-1 loss.

There were his first Premier League goals for Bournemouth, in his 39th appearance.

Michail Antonio does score the odd goal – the West Ham man had managed four in his last 22 games in the Premier League.

So, when he managed to match that tally in just 90 minutes by putting four past Norwich City, it’s safe to say that we were a little surprised.

Leganés took a huge step towards La Liga safety this weekend by picking up a shock 1-0 win over Valencia – now just three points from 17th with two games left – but what was even more surprising is that Rubén Pérez was the man who scored the goal.

The 31-year-old midfielder fired home his first league goal since May 2013 to take his all-time tally to…two. In 260 games. If you’re going to do your best to keep Super Pepino on the touchline in the Primera Division, do it in style.

Pérez bagged just his sixth career assist last weekend as well. He’s a man in form!

It’s not unusual to see Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld pop up in with a goal, but it’s pretty rare to see him do it at home. Heading into the weekend, his last goal at home was back in September 2016 in a Champions League tie with Monaco at Wembley. If you want a goal at an actual home (White Hart Lane), you’ve got to go back to April of that year.

Guess who headed home the winner in the north London derby?

It was the Belgian’s first goal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and it could hardly have been more important.

When you watch Blackburn Rovers, you’ll see Joe Rothwell pop up all over midfield. He plays in the centre but is often seen out wide. Where you won’t usually see him, however, is on the score sheet.

25-year-old Rothwell has just 12 career goals to his name, and he bagged one of those this weekend in a 1-1 draw with high-flying West Bromwich Albion.

He earned himself a few new fans up at Elland Road with that goal.

25-year-old forward José Manuel Arnáiz, who plays primarily as a winger but also as a central striker, doesn’t come with the best goal record. He failed to score after swapping Barcelona B for Leganés in 2018 and was shipped out on loan to Osasuna in January.

Coming into this weekend, his last goal came back in January 2018 (for Barcelona’s first team in a Copa del Rey draw with Celta Vigo), but he finally ended the drought by coming off the bench to net in Osasuna’s 2-1 win over none other than…Celta Vigo.

If in doubt, just play Celta.

Aday does it all for Girona. He’s a left-back who can play on the right, and since the turn of the year, he has been used almost exclusively as a winger, which is an odd move for a player with seven goals in 168 appearances before this weekend.

The Spaniard fired home a lovely free kick in his side’s 2-2 draw with Lugo just seven minutes after entering the game as a substitute. Not bad.

Moving him forward was a masterstroke.

Alexandre LacazetteAlexandre Lacazette
Lacazette has managed two away goals in the last week | Pool/Getty Images

A special shout-out to Alexandre Lacazette. The Arsenal man does score goals, but almost exclusively at the Emirates Stadium. It’s got so bad that some fans want him gone because of it.

He went 510 days without scoring an away goal before he found the net in the recent 2-0 win over Wolves, but then needed to wait just eight days to do it again in the 2-1 loss to Tottenham.

For more from ​Tom Gott, follow him on ​Twitter!


Tottenham 2-1 Arsenal: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Alderweireld Gives Spurs First Derby Win at New Stadium

Alderweireld headed the winner on 81 minutes | JULIAN FINNEY/Getty Images

A late Toby Alderweireld header gave Tottenham a 2-1 victory over Arsenal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the first men’s north London derby to be played at the new ground.

Alexandre Lacazette broke the deadlock with a rocket of a shot to open the scoring with just 15 minutes on the clock after dispossessing Serge Aurier, but Tottenham hit back almost instantly through Son Heung-min’s left-footed finish after some characteristically calamitous defending from Sead Kolasinac and David Luiz.

Arsenal began the second half strongly and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rattled the crossbar with a left footed drive just short of the hour mark but ultimately – and against the run of play – it fell to Toby Alderweireld to glance home from a Son corner in the 81st minute to send Spurs back above the Gunners in the table.

Key Talking Point

Jose Mourinho set his Spurs side up in a rarely used 4-4-2 formation, hoping to stifle Arsenal’s flying wing-backs, and it largely worked in the opening passages of play. Tottenham enjoyed plenty of the ball, and had the first chance when Lucas Moura fired straight at Emiliano Martinez. An Arsenal error slipped Harry Kane in moments later, but he couldn’t dink it over the Argentine either.

Son Heung-minSon Heung-min
Son hits the equaliser after an Arsenal defensive lapse | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

The away side had much more of the ball in the second half, but Mourinho instructed his side to sit deep and wait for the counter with Lucas Moura often sitting back as almost a fifth defender at times. They stayed in the contest until they won a crucial corner on 80 minutes, which Son delivered beautifully for Alderweireld to head home from. Mourinho through and through.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Lloris (7); Aurier (6), Alderweireld (7), Sanchez (7), Davies (6); Sissoko (7), Winks (6), Lo Celso (7); Lucas Moura (8), Son (8*), Kane (7).

Substitutes: Bergwijn (N/A), Skipp (N/A), Lamela (N/A).

Son Heung-minSon Heung-min
Son was the driving factor in Spurs’ comeback | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Son was Tottenham’s main attacking threat for much of the match, with his pace, movement and directness stretching the Arsenal backline, particularly in the first half.

His calm and collected finish to equalise and his fantastic corner for Alderweireld’s winner acted as reminders of his importance to Spurs’ attacking plays, coming up trumps even as Harry Kane floundered alongside him.

Key Talking Point

Alexandre LacazetteAlexandre Lacazette
Lacazette drills Arsenal into the lead early on | Julian Finney/Getty Images

Arsenal’s trio of centre-backs have looked alarmingly competent in recent games, covering for each other’s weaknesses while displaying the best of their own strengths – which, in Sead Kolasinac’s case, is actually his…strength.

It had to end at some point. Kolasinac was the main man responsible for the Spurs equaliser, pinging a pass to the next postcode over from Luiz, who himself was slow to react. Shkodran Mustafi escaped from that calamity unscathed, but had a torrid last half-hour as he threw himself to the floor time and again as if to remind Gunners fans of his own worst habits.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Martinez (8) ; Mustafi (6), Luiz (7), Kolasinac (6); Bellerin (7), Xhaka (7), Ceballos (7), Tierney (7); Pepe (7), Lacazette (8*), Aubameyang (7).

Substitutes: Saka (7), Willock (N/A), Nelson (N/A), Soares (N/A).

Alexandre LacazetteAlexandre Lacazette
Lacazette had a welcome return to goalscoring form | Pool/Getty Images

The French striker provided Mikel Arteta with a timely reminder of his quality with an excellent strike to break the deadlock.

Replacing the suspended Eddie Nketiah, Lacazette linked up well with his attacking partners and looked a threat for most of the evening, particularly when dropping into midfield to receive the ball from Dani Ceballos.

Tottenham travel to the north-east on Wednesday evening to take on Newcastle before a tasty home tie against Leicester on Sunday.

Arsenal host champions Liverpool in midweek, before a trip to Wembley on Saturday evening to take on Manchester City for a place in the FA Cup final.


Twitter Reacts as Arsenal Fall to Late Derby Defeat Despite Lacazette Stunner

Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal FC - Premier League
Alderweireld heads in the winning goal | Pool/Getty Images

It wasn’t the best north London derby you’ll ever see, but it was nothing if not entertaining. A late Toby Alderweireld header ensured a vital three points for Tottenham, who turned in a vintage José Mourinho performance to outwit their rivals at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium.

After a fairly tame start, things exploded into life when Serge Aurier charged rashly at Granit Xhaka on the edge of his own box. He did not win the ball (naturally) and instead ceded possession to Alexandre Lacazette. The Frenchman then showed the watching world that he does, in fact, know how to play football.

…but then within three minutes, normality resumed. Arsenal did that Arsenal thing where their defenders forget to communicate, and David Luiz misjudged a suicidal pass from Sead Kolasinac, allowing Heung-min Son to capitalise.

Lovely finish – but maybe that Arsenal back three isn’t quite all it’s cracked up to be.

Shkodran Mustafi, though? Weirdly good…for the most part.

Martin Tyler then attempted to be funny – something he should never, ever, ever do.

Into the second half and both teams were looking a little bereft of ideas. So much so that Mustafi – hell-bent on being the star of the show for whatever means necessary – attempted an overhead kick.

To the amazement of everyone watching, it went on target…though was possibly the easiest save Hugo Lloris will ever make.

Thankfully, with less than ten minutes on the clock, we finally – finally – got something else to write home about. In came a corner, up went Toby Alderweireld, and down went Arsenal. Too easy.

For more from Robbie Copeland, follow him on Twitter!


Goal-Shy Alexandre Lacazette Holds the Key to Arsenal Overcoming Tottenham

Alexandre Lacazette
Alexandre Lacazette is likely to start for Arsenal against Spurs on Sunday | Michael Regan/Getty Images

Last season’s Player of the Year is having a bit of a rough time. I mean, three goals in his last 17 appearances is hardly the makings of a £46m frontman, is it?

Call me old-fashioned, but I like my strikers to score goals. Y’know, the one-in-two(ish) rate where you’re almost assured that if they didn’t score this weekend, they’ll bag one in the next.

In the ever evolving world of football, this isn’t always the case anymore. In many instances, strikers aren’t just goalscorers. Instead, they’re the string of the bow as opposed to the arrow. Was Alexandre Lacazette signed to be the string though? No…no he wasn’t.

But in Mikel Arteta’s setup, that’s become his function. It’s clear in his playing style that the Frenchman likes to be involved in the early phases of attacks, with such characteristics coming at the cost of, well, that goalscoring thing.

His style is something the Spaniard has clocked on to, though, and one he now embraces.

Eddie Nketiah on the other hand, is an entirely different striker, one who prefers to play on the shoulder, but it’s Lacazette’s style – goals or no goals – that could be the key to Arsenal securing a positive result in Sunday’s NLD.

Look, he must start scoring again, end of, but what he brings to the team in aggression and work rate could be the hugely important against a rigid Jose Mourinho setup. As due to his willingness to drop deep and collect the ball in front of the back four, he could act as a disrupter for Arsenal on Sunday.

Disrupting the Spurs backline will be key to forcing errors. The spaces that open in between the full-back and centre-back are where the Gunners can hurt Tottenham, with the pace of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka in the inside-forward roles likely to be their main weapon.

Spurs are a side short of confidence, and ensuring they remain on the back foot throughout will begin with Lacazette’s tenacity. When he comes short to collect the ball – likely from Dani Ceballos – the overlapping runs from the wide players will stretch the game, playing into Arsenal’s hands.

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Laczette grabbed a welcome goal away from home in the win over Wolves | Pool/Getty Images

Nevertheless, Lacazette has to step up to the plate. He simply does not score enough goals and recapturing that touch is essential to him regaining his place in the starting XI. Yet, against Spurs, scoring will not be his most requisite task.

Getting in the faces of the opponents, harassing and pressing from the front, opening up spaces behind him for his fellow forwards and buying Ceballos time to distribute the ball will be where Arsenal win this game.

Many pre-match assumptions are that Arsenal should secure victory given the turmoil at Tottenham, but it’s a classic case of ripping up the form book when the north London derby is concerned.

Which, coincidentally, is precisely what Lacazette must do. Start scoring again, yes (please), but put any goal-shy woes to one side on this occasion and focus on the task at hand; you’re integral to that.

For more from Ross Kennerley, follow him on Twitter!


Why Arsenal Need a Creative Midfielder This Summer More Than Anything

Özil’s decline has been obvious | IAN KINGTON/Getty Images

Arsenal’s defensive frailties have been well documented for a number of years, dating back to the days of Arsene Wenger.

When the Frenchman eventually stood aside, successor Unai Emery wasn’t really able to address the problem – and soon enough, a lack of creativity in front of goal was added to the list of criticisms being flung Arsenal’s way.

Now, Mikel Arteta is steering the ship – and although the creativity issue remains, it’s fair comment to say that the Spaniard has started to address the club’s issues at the back.

There’s also an issue of restricted finances at the club, meaning the recruitment team will need to focus spending in one area, rather than reconstructing the entire team. So where should Arteta’s priorities lie? Well, the statistics would suggest that defence isn’t the main area of concern, contrary to public opinion.

Unai EmeryUnai Emery
Emery’s defensive record was dreadful at Arsenal. | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

In the 20 games Emery managed in the Premier League this season, Arsenal conceded 1.45 goals per game – yet in Arteta’s 15 games, his Arsenal side have averaged 0.8 goals per game – almost half. When compared to the best defensive side in the league this season – Liverpool – Arteta’s Arsenal are only 0.04 worse off than the champions.

While this isn’t something to write home about, Arteta’s Arsenal side are much harder to beat than Emery’s team were. It is evident that this Arsenal side have improved, but the difference between goals scored pales in comparison to that of the numbers now being conceded.

With Emery in charge, Arsenal averaged 1.38 goals per game. That figure has now risen to 1.63 under Arteta, but when you compare those numbers to Manchester City – for example – they are some way off the 2.53 goals per game mark set by Pep Guardiola’s side. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but almost a goal per game more on average? That’s a big difference.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Héctor BellerinPierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Héctor Bellerin
Arsenal FC v Everton FC – Premier League | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

It’s a figure that’s not really good enough, considering Arsenal boast two of the most expensive forwards to have ever been purchased in the Premier League – in Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Pepe has struggled to find his feet in England so far, but has shown on occasion some of the ability that persuaded the Gunners to part with £72m (eventually). Aubameyang, meanwhile, continues to carry Arsenal’s goal threat on his shoulders, scoring 40% of the club’s goals (20 out of 50). Considering he’s been linked away from the club, that’s a real concern.

The main problem lies in Arsenal’s midfield, and their lack of contribution going forward. Lucas Torreira, Granit Xhaka, Joe Willock, Mesut Özil and Bukayo Saka have all scored just once, while chances have hardly been created at a premium.

The most impressive performer in that regard has been Saka, who is continuing his rise to prominence with impressive displays each and every week. He’s also a teenager, so it’s perhaps unfair to level criticism at a player who is finding his feet and is visibly improving.

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Dani Ceballos is the only real advanced midfielder in Arsenal’s squad – that Arteta likes. | Michael Regan/Getty Images

Dani Ceballos, on loan from Real Madrid, appears to be the only central midfielder with any real desire to push forward and drive on with impetus. But even he goes missing on occasion, though things have improved since the Premier League’s resumption. So much so, in fact, that Arteta is thought to be keen on extending his loan deal, which looked highly unlikely with Emery at the helm.

But even if he does stay, Arsenal must be in the market for an attacking midfielder. Somebody in the mould of James Maddison – willing to get on the ball and dictate from deep, but also keen to push forward and take shots at goal.

To say the Gunners have underwhelmed this season would be an understatement, and the majority of those problems have come from their failure to outscore the opposition. Yes, David Luiz has looked rocky at the back and a number of goals have been conceded from errors – but sometimes you have to look forwards, rather than backwards.

A defender would be nice, but a midfielder is essential.