Yaya Sanogo has pleaded for patience from Arsenal supporters and insists he will be able to find the net regularly once he manages to score his first competitive goal for the club.
Sanogo joined Arsenal from Auxerre in the summer transfer window of last year having played only half a season in the first team, during which time he scored a commendable 10 times in 13 Ligue 2 appearances. It was form described as 'frightening' by Arsene Wenger.
The young French striker made his Arsenal debut away to Fulham at the end of August before coming off the bench against Fenerbahce in a Champions League qualifier, but did not play again until the following February due to a back injury.
His first start came in the FA Cup success over Liverpool on Arsenal’s path to glory in the competition, while he was a surprise inclusion when Bayern Munich visited the Emirates Stadium in the last-16 of the Champions League.
But, while these contributions offered some promise, his performances as the campaign progressed declined and is inability to find the net, despite the faith shown by Wenger, became increasingly apparent.
The 21-year-old failed to score in 14 matches during his maiden season with the Gunners but, in this summer’s Emirates Cup, stunned both himself and the club’s supporters by hitting a quadruple in a 5-1 rout of Benfica.
Normality was restored somewhat during the recent draw with Leicester, with Sanogo’s display derided by fans, although he has since responded by scoring twice for the France under-21s.
Sanogo now believes that first goal of note for Arsenal is not far away and says that, when it does eventually come, he will be capable of making it a much more regular occurrence.
“Football is the football, but it takes time to adapt,” Sanogo told L’Equipe.
“When you come out of Ligue 2 and you end up in a duel with [Vincent] Kompany, it is not an easy task.
“On all aspects, I’ve evolved. When you train with great players every day, you progress. When you play big teams, it helps gain experience.
“The fans expect me to score more, but once the first one goes in they’ll come.
“At 21, it’s not easy to play striker at Arsenal. You have to fight every day to prove your worth. But Wenger just pushes me to continue my work will eventually pay off.”
The burden of expectation on Sanogo has been relieved somewhat by the acquisition of Danny Welbeck, who joined for £16 million on deadline day to ease - although not entirely - concerns about Arsenal’s centre-forward options.
With Olivier Giroud out until the new year, it had appeared as though Wenger was prepared to continue for this season with Sanogo as the only recognised central striker in the Arsenal first-team squad.
That is still the case to some extent, although Welbeck has been recruited with a view to giving him regular opportunities to operate in this position rather than be shifted out onto the wing like he was for much of his time at Old Trafford.
The 23-year-old will play in this role for England against Switzerland on Monday evening after an injury sustained by Daniel Sturridge, and Arsenal supporters will now have even more reason to watch this game with interest.