As the relegation battle comes into the final flurry of games, there is an increasing need to score goals.
This article will look to examine which players need to hit form at the right time for their club, to ensure they stay up and play in the Premier League again next year.
Adam Le Fondre | Reading
Reading are seemingly all but destined for the Championship next season. Even with a new manager in Nigel Adkins, the future looks bleak for the Royals. However, if they are to stay up Adam LeFondre could be pivotal to their future Premier League status.
Le Fondre was an integral part of Reading’s purple patch, when they drew against Chelsea and beat Newcastle scoring four goals in these two games. He needs to try and rekindle this sort of form to help Reading push towards safety. Although, with their fixtures featuring four of the top six teams in the Premier League, even his goal-scoring prowess might not be enough to keep them up if they concede too many goals.
Loic Remy | Queens Park Rangers
QPR are in a similar predicament to Reading, being seven points from safety; although with considerable investment they are probably in a stronger position. After arriving in January, for a transfer fee reportedly at £8m, Loic Remy is one of their investments they will be hoping for a return on.
His start to life in the Premier League has been hampered through injury, but for a player who has been capped 17 times by his country he needs to show his class. Having already scored three goals since signing, there are signs of optimism, but he now must kick on and aim to score every week. Especially now Harry Redknapp has stated that they need to win five out of their last eight games.
Arouna Kone | Wigan
Wigan seemingly only begin to play as the end of season approaches and history seems to be repeating itself, as seen with their fortunate victory over Newcastle. The main threat at Wigan is their blonde haired front man Arouna Kone, who has already scored 11 goals this year, despite being away for a month at the African Cup of Nations.
His physicality ensures he can hold up the ball well and he has a turn of pace to play in behind, although at times he goes missing against big teams. He needs to link up with Shaun Maloney and Jean Beausejour, Wigan’s most attacking edge and finish off their attacking plays. Don’t be surprised if Wigan do it again and remain in the Premier League for yet another season.
Christian Benteke | Aston Villa
Aston Villa are currently outside the relegation zone by three points. However, Wigan do have a game in hand which if won would send Villa back into the bottom three. The obvious choice that can keep Aston Villa up is the summer signing of Christian Benteke.
His power, pace and clinical finish makes him a defender’s nightmare and scoring the winner against QPR will only boost his confidence. His partnership with Adreas Weimann is beginning to flourish and if they can continue to work on this partnership more goals could follow. Since the turn of the year, Benteke has scored more goals than Rooney or Van Persie and due to his individual form he could ensure Villa’s survival.
Rickie Lambert | Southampton
Southampton looks to be in the strongest position of all the teams involved in this battle. Their home performances against Manchester City and a Liverpool team who themselves were in great form; shows Southampton have the character and personnel to ensure survival. The top goal scoring English forward Rickie Lambert has been sensational this season.
After rising up from the lower leagues, he hasn’t let his chance pass him by. He is a strong presence - the talismanic centre forward who keeps cool under pressure and is able to finish from inside or outside the box. Due to his natural goal scoring ability and frequency Southampton should be safe.
Steven Fletcher | Sunderland
Sunderland’s fixtures place them as the potential dark horse for relegation. They have to play four of the top six, as well as a North East derby against Newcastle away. Steven Fletcher was once their only goal scorer and even with the addition of Danny Graham, is still their main potential source of goals. However, having only scored one goal in his last seven games, Sunderland fans will worry where the goals are going to come from.
They seemed to look uninspiring in their draw against a 10-man Norwich, relying on a penalty to score their solitary goal. Sunderland need Fletcher to find his form and fast because with their daunting fixture list, he could be the difference between Premier League football and Championship football next season. However, if his injury sustained on international duty is serious then it will have to be time for Danny Graham to step up to the plate.
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