Rooney, Kane, Aguero, Costa: what's stopped them scoring?
The eight most feared forwards in the Premier League have mustered seven goals in 47 games this season, with none for Rooney and Kane
Six weeks into the Premier League season and so far the pickings have been slim for the division's top strikers, and those who backed them to find the net this season.
The Premier League's top scorer so far is Callum Wilson of newly promoted Bournemouth, who has five goals in six games, which is more than the main strikers of last year's top four clubs combined.
Indeed, the men probably regarded as the eight most feared forwards in the division this season have so far mustered a meagre seven goals in 47 appearances.
What's eating them?
Aguero and Costa
Sergio Aguero of Man City and Diego Costa of Chelsea terrorised defences up and down the country last season, scoring 46 goals between them in only 59 appearances combined. This year, they have a goal apiece after six matches each.
Aguero was in action in the Copa America in the summer, and despite appearing in every Man City league match this season has only played 90 minutes on two occasions.
An established goalscorer his form is likely to return and his lack of goals was not a problem when City were flying in the league, but two home defeats in less than a week will add to the pressure.
Costa was plagued by hamstring problems at the end of last season and fitness concerns continue. He has also suffered from the poor form of his creators-in-chief, Hazard and Fabregas, at the start of this campaign.
But Chelsea are showing signs of having turned the corner and Costa is likely to do the same. Last season was his first in English football, but he looked to the manor born, and is unlikely to prove a one-season wonder - provided his temperament and hamstrings last.
Giroud and Benteke
Arsenal's Olivier Giroud and Christian Benteke of Liverpool were both under scrutiny at the start of the season, but at least they can claim to be performing better than their big rivals. They both have two goals in six games.
Liverpool fans, though, may be concerned by Benteke's hamstring problem picked up against Norwich. The player may also be worried after the performance of his replacement Danny Ings, says Football 365. "Benteke has managed just five shots on target in 495 league minutes this season (and one of those shouldn’t have been allowed vs Bournemouth), Ings has had three in 195."
It's hard not to feel for Giroud, who spent most of the summer being told he was not good enough for Arsenal, and who has been on the bench three times this season already. He, like Benteke, could end up fighting for his place.
Hazard and Sanchez
Last term, London-based midfielders Eden Hazard of Chelsea and Gunner Alexis Sanchez gatecrashed the scoring charts with 30 goals between them. So far Hazard's deflected strike against Arsenal is all the pair have to show for their efforts after a dozen games between them.
It seems churlish to criticise their scoring records given that they are not out and out strikers. Indeed, Hazard has created more chances so far this season than he managed in the first few games of last. He will come good.
Sanchez may be more of a concern after he was rushed back into the team ahead of schedule after his Copa America exploits. His first season in England was nothing short of stellar, but could he be a casualty of second-season-itis? He never truly established himself at Barcelona where he remained something of an enigma. Sanchez runs a lot more than Ozil, but can the Gunners cope with two misunderstood midfielders?
Rooney and Kane
But most worrying for English fans is the form of Roy Hogdson's main strikers, Man United veteran Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane of Spurs, neither of who have scored a league goal this season.
Rooney has notched a hat-trick against Bruge and become England's top scorer so far this season, but he has managed only four league goals in 2015. This is not what Louis van Gaal would have had in mind when he named him as United's main striker this summer. There must be fears that his best days are now behind him.
For Kane the fear is that he turns out to be a flash in the pan. "Expectation is a fresh burden, increased by the fact Tottenham disposed of their other recognised centre forwards," says the Daily Mail. "Goals from Son Heung-min suggest he will share the load but Kane does not shirk responsibility. Two goals for England prove the knack has not deserted him but they came in a gentle qualification campaign, against inferior opposition.
"The same might be said for Rooney's Champions League hat-trick in Bruges, his one recent flourish in United colours," adds the paper.
Football 365 adds that the impact of Anthony Martial, ten years his junior, has not flattered Rooney. "Martial scored more away league goals than Wayne Rooney has managed since March 2014," notes the website.
Another problem for the final pair, plus Aguero, is chemistry, says the Mail. "Kane has missed the creativity of Christian Eriksen for a month. Aguero must learn to understand new players in the City side and Rooney has appeared more isolated over time as United have shelved their cavalier traditions and become a more functional unit."