When Wilfried Bony left Swansea in January 2015, many expected the Welsh club to struggle, particularly in front of goal. However, Bafetimbi Gomis seamlessly slotted into the Ivorian’s position, helping the Swans to their highest ever top flight finish and points haul.
The Frenchman, signed on a free the previous summer following his release from Lyon, had been limited to predominantly substitute appearances during his first six months in England meaning he hadn’t been given the opportunity to show his full potential.
A French international, it wasn’t a surprise that Gomis possessed plenty of quality and started to work well with Swansea’s array of attacking midfielders. Having scored just 2 goals whilst playing second fiddle to Bony, Gomis went on to scored 8 in 17 in all competitions to the season’s end.
Gomis’ performances during the second half of last season meant that he assumed the role of Swansea’s number 1 striker at the start of this campaign. In August it seemed to be a position he was relishing with 4 goals in the opening 4 games of the season helping the club to pick up 8 points from their August fixtures. Since then though, the Frenchman has endured a torrid time, scoring just once – against Manchester City – a run of form that eventually led to him being dropped from the team after Garry Monk’s departure, two things that would have seemed inconceivable in August.
The root of the striker’s issues appears to be in his lack of goal scoring opportunities. Gomis is not being guilty of wasting guilt edge chances but of not receiving the ball in threating positions in the first place. Both the striker and Swansea’s array of attacking midfielders are to blame for this but for a team as renowned as Swansea for beautiful football and good attacking play, it is a big surprise to see the team struggling to create for their main striker and suggest that Gomis may burden the majority of the issues.
One of Gomis’ biggest problems has been his ability to link play with his fellow teammates. With the team struggling after their initial good start to the season, the Swans needed Gomis’ to be at his best, offering a pressure-relieving option for the defence and midfield whilst bringing his fellow attackers into the game. However this aspect of his game was missing and the Frenchman is yet to register an assist in the Premier League this season. Whilst strikers aren’t often prolific in this department, Gomis’ inability to pick up a single one is a severe knock on his performances, especially with the impressive Gylfi Sigurdsson, currently the team’s top scorer, playing just off the striker.
Swansea’s and particularly Gomis’ form have dropped off remarkably since the 0-0 draw with Everton in mid-September. According to Squawka statistics (www.squawka.com), in the opening 6 games of the season, Gomis averaged a shot every 26.2 minutes, a shot on target every 45.2 minutes and a goal every 124.3 minutes. In the games since, the Frenchman has averaged a shot every 31.4 minutes, only a slight drop off. However, he has only averaged a shot on target every 226.4 minutes and a single goal in his 1132 minutes of Premier League action, a huge disparity from his early season form.
However, the minute per shot ratio is slightly misleading as Gomis’ barren spell in front of goal has led to him taking shots from outside the area more frequently. In the first six games of the campaign, just 21% of the Frenchman’s shots were from outside the box. Since those opening 6 games though, 36% of Gomis’ shots have come from outside the area including 6 of his last 9 as things become more desperate.
It suggests that Gomis hasn’t been revitalised despite the Swans recent form picking up. He currently has fewer shots on target this season than the league’s leading marksmen have goals, a truly staggering statistic. For a team that are known to play good football, Swansea require a proven goal scorer to finish off their chances. It appears that despite the positive early signs, Bafetimbi Gomis isn’t going to be that man.
Featured image: All rights reserved by Daniel Barrientos Tamayo.