Earlier this month, we covered Folarin Balogun’s upturn in form, scoring six goals in six games for Middlesbrough and the England u21s. Yet he has since unexpectedly dropped out of the side.
Balogun has made one start in the four games since the end of that six-goal run, coming off the bench twice and spending the whole game against Fulham watching from the sidelines.
But to add to the frustration of that situation from an Arsenal perspective, Middlesbrough have seen no tangible benefits to leaving the striker out.
The Championship side haven’t scored a single goal in those four games, with Duncan Watmore, Aaron Connolly, and Andraz Sporar all getting multiple chances to start up front and returning consecutive blanks.
Admittedly, Middlesbrough were on a tough run of games, including playing against the top-three teams in the Championship.
But as promotion-hopefuls themselves, they would have hoped to pick up more than one point in four matches.
The only upside is that Middlesbrough’s struggles will surely encourage Chris Wilder to put Balogun back in. They play 13th-placed Swansea City next, on Saturday, 23rd April at 15:00 BST.
Balogun has played 808 minutes of Championship football since his January loan, directly contributing to five goals. That’s a goal or assist every 162 minutes, better than Watmore, Connolly, or Sporar can boast.