The Headmaster Ritual
Payet key to Antonio’s Premier League ‘headed goals’ record attempt
Such is the regularity with which Michail Antonio has made a habit of scoring headed goals, it comes as a bit of a shock if the latest English Premier League highlights reel does not include the ritual of the West Ham United winger showcasing his latest goal celebration routine following yet another headed goal.
Antonio’s aerial threat was highlighted in a WhoScored article back in January but nobody could have envisaged what has happened since that article was penned. The Hammers’ wide-man has added another 10 headed goals to his Premier League CV, including all 6 goals he has scored in the current campaign and he is on course to eclipse Duncan Ferguson’s record of 9 headed goals in a Premier League season.
There has been speculation linking Dimitri Payet with a move away from the London Stadium in January and if he was to move, the Frenchman’s precision passing would be missed. Even though he didn’t provide the assist for his latest strike, Payet has teed up Antonio for 5 of the last 9 goals he has scored with his head, so if the former Nottingham Forest man is to establish himself as the new master of headed goals, confirmation that Payet intends to stay would certainly help his cause.
Giroud’s lack of playing time a concern for Özil backers
Antonio is not the only player who excels in the art of heading, with Olivier Giroud also finding himself on the score-sheet at the weekend. On Saturday, Giroud came off the bench to salvage a point for a distinctly second best Arsenal side at Old Trafford, thumping home a trademark header following some good work by fellow substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
The French striker has scored more headed goals (21) in the Premier League than anybody else since the start of the 2012/13 season but is, incredibly, with almost a third of the campaign over, still searching for his first Premier League start.
Giroud’s lack of playing time seems to be having a big impact on Mesut Özil’s fantasy football output as well. The German international, who has provided the assist for 4 of the last 9 headers that the towering forward has scored, only has 1 assist to his name this season, a somewhat startling statistic when you consider that he accumulated 19 assists in 2015/16 and looked nailed-on to surpass Thierry Henry’s record for much of the season.
Giroud’s cameo performance at Old Trafford gave Arsène Wenger a timely reminder of his talent but it remains to be seen whether or not he will force his way into his manager’s startling XI.
Combining players from the same side is a tactic that is well worth exploring in fantasy football contests, so keep an eye out for Antonio/Payet and Giroud/Özil pairings, especially if they have favourable fixtures.
Can Michail Antonio score 10 headed goals in the current Premier League season to become the undisputed ‘head-master’?