Romelu Lukaku at Manchester United, Dries Mertens at Napoli, Gary Hooper at Sheffield Wednesday: what do they have in common?
They’ve all scored seven goals in seven games.
I had a quick browse through the scoring statistics from the European leagues and Hooper’s form is only topped by Edinson Cavani at Paris Saint-Germain, Robert Lewandowski at Bayern Munich, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at Borussia Dortmund, Ciro Immobile at Lazio and Paulo Dybala at Juventus. Lionel Messi and Falcao top the scoring tables with 11 in seven games and 12 in eight games, respectively.
What illustrious company Hooper is keeping. I’m going to great lengths to show what fantastic form Hooper is in because he deserves the recognition. Last season we fell apart when he succumbed to a lengthy injury and this season we are reaping the rewards of his fitness, vision and unplayable attitude.
It shouldn’t be surprising because he is a proven goal scorer in the top six English football leagues, Scottish Premier and has scored for Celtic in the Champions League. We need Gary Hooper, but he can’t-do it on his own.
The Leeds United game was a welcome relief after the previous week. The frustration for Wednesday fans is we know we are capable of playing like this and while we don’t expect them to play to this standard every game, dipping from one end of the spectrum to the other is quite frankly emotionally exhausting.
Barry Bannan and Ross Wallace provided a masterclass of cross-field passing on Sunday. It’s interesting that Bannan and Wallace play brilliantly together in some matches but they are also equally absent in other games. It’s a simpatico playing relationship.
Carlos Carvalhal has a reprieve for the international break. It’s a pity because building some momentum off the back of the Leeds game could give the team the confidence to push on.