Top Five: Goal scoring droughts

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Fernando Torres finally ended one of the most agonising goal scoring droughts in recent memory as he finally put the ball in the back of the net against Leicester, helping Chelsea secure a 5-2 victory and a place in the semi-finals of the F.A Cup.


In what had become one of the Premier League’s most talked about on-going sagas, Torres went more than 25 hours on the pitch without scoring a goal having set Chelsea back £50 million over a year ago.


But who are the men who share his pain having seen the goals dry up in the glare of the watching millions? GMF runs down those players whose bread and butter is scoring goals, but came close to starving.


Tim Cahill: 30 Premier League games, 13 months


Perhaps Tim Cahill made a rod for his own back having established himself as one of Everton’s leading goal scorers from midfield.


The Australian talisman made it his forte to bag crucial goals for the Toffees, and has been the leading scorer in three of his eight seasons on Merseyside to date.


All seemed to be in perfect working order during the first half of the 2010/11 season as he bagged nine goals in 17 games.


But having scored in the 2-1 win over Manchester City in December 2010 (incidentally, the last time City lost at home in the league) the well dried up. For 13 months.


Worryingly for Everton, Cahill still finished last season as their top scorer. Salvation came courtesy of a scrappy effort against lowly Blackburn - they all count.

It still isn't all coming up roses for the former Millwall man, his goal against Sunderland this weekend was only his second strike in 2016 minutes of playing time in all competitions this season.


Diego Forlan: 23 Premier League games, 9 months


Having enjoyed spells with Villarreal and Atletico Madrid that were quite literally littered with goals since leaving Manchester United, Diego Forlan’s stage fright at Old Trafford still mystifies most observers.


The Uruguayan had enough talent to convince Sir Alex Ferguson to splash £7.5 million on him back in 2002 but simply couldn’t get off the mark in the league.


From January 2002 to October of the same year the net remained untroubled whenever the current Inter Milan striker was baring down on goal unitl he scored against Aston Villa.


After he ended his barren run the goals still didn’t exactly flow - his open goal miss against Juventus in 2003 was something to behold.

Astute as ever, Ferguson pointed out to Forlan that he should be wearing longer studs to deal with English conditions to help him score on a regular basis.


“I agreed to change but I didn't and, against Chelsea, I slipped in front of goal and wasted a chance,” Forlan said back in 2009.


"Afterwards, I rushed to the dressing room to change boots but Ferguson caught me. He grabbed the boots and threw them. That was my last game for United."


Ade Akinbiyi: 14 Premier League games, 8 months


Probably the ultimate barren spell in English football. While it may not be longest it was certainly the most excruciating; Ade Akinbiyi’s 14 games between April and November 2001 without a goal marked perhaps the most drastic and startling decline through loss of confidence of a striker seen in English football.


Some of his misses were hilarious. In one game against Liverpool he not so much as missed three clear-cut opportunities as crumbled at the notion of scoring – perhaps the pressure of being Peter Taylor’s £5.5 million striker (a late fee which earned him the nickname Ade Akin-panic-biyi) was too much to bear.


“Michael Owen is paid millions because he takes those chances,” manager Dave Basset said after the Liverpool game. "That's not criticism of Ade, it's just the difference in being a great striker who is paid millions and an average striker.” No wonder Akinbiyi’s confidence was low.


When his goal-less run came to an end against Sunderland, it was greeted with probably the greatest celebration of all time. Andy Impey, Dennis Wise and Robbie Savage combined couldn’t hold back the shirtless Akinbiyi and his rippling torso after he prodded home against Sunderland.


Any fears that the goal would spark a resurgence however were soon quashed as he squandered plenty mored chances that season. More astonishingly, Leicester got £2.2 million for him when he joined Crystal Palace.


Andy Carroll: 11 Premier League games, 3 months


Andy Carroll’s big money switch to Liverpool in January 2011 raised more than its fair share of eyebrows, almost as many as amount that were raised over his ‘six hour 30 Jagerbomb bender’ that ended in him falling off a chair and injuring his leg, thus delaying his debut for the Reds.


Newcastle’s loping gazelle further tarnished his reputation when he turned up on the pitch for his new side, and in unison with the misfiring Torres embarked on a fairly impressive goal-less run – one that would have gone on for 23 games were it not for two efforts against Everton and West Brom that made October a particularly fruitful month.


A goal against Wolves just two months ago marked the end of Carroll’s dry spell for Liverpool, although he has only scored once since and is five games without a goal, so there is still a chance of another, similarly unsuccessful run.


Chris Sutton: 16 Premier League games, 6 months


Technically, Chris Sutton’s goal-less streak in the Premier League only came to an end when he found the back of the net for Birmingham in 2006, making his run at seven years easily the longest barren spell in the Premier League’s history.


At £10 million back in 1999, Sutton represented a sizeable investment for Chelsea in the pre-Roman Abramovich era, however Ken Bates ended up describing the signing of the former Blackburn striker as a ‘disaster’ after he went an impressive six months without scoring.


Sutton missed two open goals on his debut against Sunderland and if it weren’t for his goal against Manchester United in October of 1999, his run would stand at 28 league games without a goal – or put another way, every single league game he played for Chelsea.

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