In the latest round of Premier League fixtures something rather unusual happened. We were treated to three unusual goal scorers: Wayne Rooney, Peter Crouch and Robbie Keane, players who had only scored three league goals between them before Tuesday.
As I imagine you’d have noticed, the 2010/11 Premier League season has been uncharacteristically quiet for these three hit-men. Rooney especially is languishing someway behind the 26 league goals that he grabbed last season.
Rooney’s well-catalogued off-field problems and niggling injuries have contributed to his lack of production this year, but more pressing is his lack of form. Rooney has looked a shadow of the player he was before the World Cup and the pressure of having his private life exposed on the front pages has clearly affected the Rooney’s confidence. Luckily for United, forgotten man Dimitar Berbatov has taken over the goal-scoring burden, and in doing so has already tripled his goal contribution from last season.
So for United fans, seeing Rooney double his goal tally for the season in the space of 45 minutes must have been quite a relief, his first strike against Aston Villa was superbly taken and evoked memories of the Rooney of old.
Spurs fans must be wondering what the hell has been going on with Robbie Keane.
He barely gets a sniff of goal for Tottenham since the start of last season (minus his four goals against Burnley), then as soon as he goes out on loan he’s back scoring goals for fun. Wednesday night he showed his poacher’s instinct by poking home a rebound after Richard Kingson’s save in West Ham’s 1-3 win.
Peter Crouch seems to have secured his place in the Spurs first XI due to the amount of times he has provided an assist for Rafael Van der Vaart. So it only seemed fair that one day Van der Vaart would return this favour, and on Wednesday he finally did. The thing I enjoyed about Crouch’s goal is that no one else in the side could have scored that goal, ‘vintage Peter Crouch’ I guess you could call it. With that goal Crouch showed exactly why he can be unplayable at times; it’s just a shame that those times occur at such intermittent intervals.
So which one of these players is most likely to continue adding to their goal scoring stats? All of them have a good chance, Rooney is always a threat and his brace against Aston Villa could spark him back into life. As for Peter Crouch, well, with Robbie Keane going out on loan Spurs are now down to three recognised strikers, so Crouch needs to start pulling his weight by finding the net. Granted Crouch’s place in the team is about more than just goals, but to have taken part in every one of Spurs’ Premier League games this season and only have netted twice isn’t really good enough.
In my opinion, Robbie Keane is best placed to carry on his (mini) goal scoring run. Keane seems to flourish in his loan moves, as his 16 goals for Celtic last season will testify, and half a season at West ham could really suit the Irish striker. Let’s not forget that Keane is still only 30 years-old so he still has a potential four or five years at the highest level. I’m sure that once Keane gets some game time under his belt he will return to the player we knew before his ill-fated move to Liverpool, and being a ‘star’ in the Hammers’ team as opposed to a squad player at Spurs could give his ego a much needed stroke.