The solution for Watford to get Odion Ighalo scoring again

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Did you know that only seven different players have scored in the Premier League for Watford this season and one of these departed the club at the close of the summer transfer window to join Porto on loan?

Even detached bottom club Aston Villa have done a superior job at sharing goals around their squad.

This goes to show the goal-scoring pressure heaped on the shoulders of the Hornets’ Odion Ighalo this season, whose tally of 14 goals through 29 matches is bettered by only five players in the Premier League.

However, in Watford’s 10 top-flight fixtures in 2016, Ighalo has netted just one goal and he hasn’t scored in seven matches in all competitions.

The logical thing to blame is Watford failing to create as many opportunities for their star striker, but this is not majorly culpable.

In the first 19 gameweeks of the season when Ighalo scored 13 times, he was being provided with an opportunity every 26 minutes. This has only marginally dropped in 2016 to every 33 minutes.

Jamie Vardy has only been having efforts every 31 minutes this calendar year and he has still added another four goals to his tally.

Ighalo’s first 13 league goals this term also came at a conversion rate of 21.5%, so better than a goal from every four attempts.

This was always fairly high, considering Sergio Aguero is converting 18.8% of his opportunities this season, Romelu Lukaku 18.2% and Harry Kane 14.7%. Therefore, it was fair to expect some type of dip.

The problem is that this dip has been tremendously steep. In Ighalo’s last 10 league starts, his conversion rate is a horrible 3.6%. No striker to have scored in 2016 has been as wasteful.

Given that only six frontmen have benefited from more scoring opportunities in this period, Watford can’t be blamed too much for their creative input, instead it is Ighalo’s confidence that should be called into question.

A lack of strikers in the squad makes it tough for Quique Sanchez Flores to drop the 26-year-old Nigerian, but there is the possibility of Nordin Amrabat playing further forward in support of Troy Deeney.

Using Ighalo as an impact substitute for a few games may provide the opportunity for him to have a break, collect his thoughts and enter a game when the opposition are starting to tire.

Ighalo remains 50/1 to be the Premier League’s top scorer this season and he enters the final nine matches five behind Vardy.

All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.