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Balotelli and Toure lacking killer instinct

Liverpool's big-money recruit Mario Balotelli tops Whoscored.com's list of Premier League stars who are struggling to convert shots into goals.

At the start of any new season there's always one or two players that just hit the ground running. The main man this season is undoubtedly Diego Costa, with everything the new Chelsea striker touches seemingly turning to goals at present. By the time he had netted his eighth league goal for the club that figure had matched Saturday's opponent Aston Villa's shots on target tally for the season.

On the opposite side of the coin, however, there tend to be more of those that just can't buy a goal. In this piece WhoScored.com look at those unfortunate few that are struggling in front of the sticks in the season's formative stages.

The stats show Mario Balotelli is yet to hit top form since his move to Anfield

Yaya Toure - 15 shots without a goal

Much has been made of Yaya Toure's slow start to the season, by his lofty standards at least, and it's certainly been a disappointing return to action from the Ivorian when looking at the impact he made at the beginning of the previous campaign. The midfield powerhouse has wracked up 15 shots without notching in the league and looks some way off his imperious best.

Toure scored with his very first shot of previous campaign and took eight matches, rather than the five of this season, to muster 15 shots at goal. He's clearly trying hard to hit the goal trail once more but is perhaps taking too many pot shots in order to do so. After as many efforts in 2013/14 the 31-year-old had already scored four times in the league.

Dusan Tadic - 16 shots without a goal

It's always important for new signings to make a good first impression, and particularly those in attacking positions. It's fair to say that Dusan Tadic has managed that but will still be desperate to really announce himself to the Saints fans with a first league goal for the club, having struck from the spot against Arsenal in the cup.

With a deflected effort hitting the woodwork last time out the Serbian is getting closer and it seems only a matter of time. Like Toure, Tadic took little time to make his mark last season, scoring three times in his first two Eredivisie appearances, but with three assists to his name for the Saints already, he is already proving his worth to Ronald Koeman's new look side.

Lukas Jutkiewicz - 17 shots without a goal

Lukas Jutkiewicz is working hard but with little reward for Burnley

Another new recruit this summer yet to make an impression on his side's goal return is Burnley striker Jutkiewicz. As the leading front man in the absence of the Clarets' two top scorers from last season, however, the former Middlesbrough forward's profligacy has been far more of a concern. Having started every game for the club, Jutkiewicz has been one of the main culprits that have seen the newly promoted side fail to score since Scott Arfield's early strike in their opener with Chelsea.

With Danny Ings having joined Sam Vokes on the sidelines the new striker is carrying the weight of the goalscoring burden and that pressure seems to be affecting him thus far. With 17 shots without a goal, Jutkiewicz has tested the opposition keeper just five times and will need to improve his accuracy if Burnley are to avoid sinking without trace.

Connor Wickham - 17 shots without a goal

Month-long world beater and legitimate saviour of Sunderland's Premier League status earlier in the year, there's been a disappointing return to what has become a worrying norm in the Premier League for Connor Wickham. At 21 the striker certainly still has plenty of time to come good but the Black Cats fans and indeed the board hoped he would continue his end of season form from earlier in the year, resisting concrete interest from West Ham over the summer.

A couple of months on and Wickham is clearly in Gus Poyet's first-team plans, starting all six games of Sunderland's winless start to the season, but he isn't repaying that faith right now. To say that the forward has been wasteful would be a pretty drastic understatement, with just two of a relatively impressive 17 shots in total having hit the target thus far.

Mario Balotelli - 20 shots without scoring

Mario Balotelli has cut a frustrating figure for Liverpool so far this season

A quiet and unassuming integration into the Liverpool set up was never really likely where Mario Balotelli was concerned. The striker wants to be at the centre of attention when he plays but he won't be happy with the start he's made to his Reds career in front of goal. Balotelli may have scored for the club in the Champions League but he's had more shots without scoring in the Premier League than any other player.

Ten of his 20 shots in the English top-flight to date came in the weekend's derby draw with Everton, with the Italian clearly viewing that game as the ideal chance to win over the Liverpool fans. Balotelli will shoot from anywhere, frustrating his team-mates on more than the odd occasion, and will no doubt net for the club in the league soon enough having fired off the most shots per game this season (five). He'll certainly get his fair share of the headlines but it's fair to say you can expect a modest conversion rate from the controversial front man come the end of the season.

You can follow Martin on Twitter here.

All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings.


Headlines for Sunderland this week

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  • Rumours in the Press: Duo back in hunt for Khedira


  • Arsenal and Chelsea are willing to wait to sign Real Madrid ace Sami Khedira in summer, while Mats Hummels has ruled out a move to Man United.

  • Balotelli and Toure lacking killer instinct


  • Liverpool's big-money recruit Mario Balotelli tops Whoscored.com's list of Premier League stars who are struggling to convert shots into goals.

  • Regional Rumours in the Press: Spurs eye Samp star


  • Tottenham could make a move for Sampdoria striker Manolo Gabbiadini in January and Simon Mignolet remains bullish about his Liverpool future.

  • Rumours in the Press: Blues step up bid for Barkley


  • Chelsea have entered the race ahead of Man City for Everton's Ross Barkley, while Olivier Giroud is believed to have signed a new Arsenal deal.

  • Rumours in the Press: Valencia keen on Mata return


  • Valencia wish to re-sign Juan Mata from Man United, Eden Hazard won't join PSG and Aston Villa, Sunderland and Southampton want Ashley Young.

  • Regional Rumours in the Press: Duo chase Gignac


  • Marseille's Andre-Pierre Gignac could join Arsenal or Liverpool and Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino denies he's fallen out with Jan Vertonghen.

  • Premier League: Billy Jones says Sunderland desperate for first victory


  • Sunderland full-back Billy Jones admits the team are desperate to win their first game of the season.

  • Premier League: Sunderland held to 0-0 draw by Swansea City at the Stadium of Light


  • Sunderland’s wait for a first Premier League win of the season continued as they were held to a 0-0 draw with 10-man Swansea at the Stadium of Light.

  • Premier League: Sunderland boss Gus Poyet seeing positive signs after Swansea draw


  • Sunderland boss Gus Poyet felt his side deserved to take all three points after being held to a 0-0 draw at home by Swansea City.

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