Taiwo Awoniyi continues to make the news for all the good reasons with yet another headline-grabbing outing for Nottingham Forest against Southampton.
PREMIER LEAGUE: Taiwo Awoniyi’s clutchness for Nottingham Forest is a prime example of quality over quantity
Four goals, three match-winners, two man-of-the-match awards are some of the reasons Taiwo Awoniyi is the most important player for Nottingham Forest this season.
The Nigerian striker scored the only game of the game to claim his second consecutive man-of-the-match award after a superb individual performance on New Year’s day against Chelsea.
The 25-year-old has scored four goals in 16 Premier League games for Nottingham Forest so far but it is the significance of those goals that makes them special.
Taiwo Awoniyi’s importance to Nottingham Forest
Awoniyi’s tally of four goals in 16 games is not particularly impressive, especially for a striker who Nottingham Forest paid a club-record £17.5 million (at the time) to sign in June.
But looking at the broader view, he also plays in a team that has scored 13 goals (the second-fewest in the league) so it is not surprising that he has not been prolific.
It is also worth noting that his four league goals are at least double the tally of any other Nottingham Forest player, Brennan Johnson and Morgan Gibbs-White with two each are the only other players at the club to have scored double figures in the Premier League.
Awoniyi has scored three match-winners already this season, particularly noteworthy as Nottingham Forest have only won four Premier League matches so far.
Going by that logic, Awoniyi is directly responsible for nine of Forest’s 17 points this season so far, the level of impact expected from big-money centre-forward signings.
Quality over quantity
Despite being Nottingham Forest’s top scorer, Awoniyi ranks fourth on shots taken in the Premier League at the club.
Morgan Gibbs-White (28), Brennan Johnson (25) and Ryan Yates (22) have all shot the ball more times than Awoniyi with 19 shots.
Scoring four goals from 19 shots at just over 20% conversion rate is the type of efficiency that has become the theme of Awoniyi’s Nottingham Forest career so far.
Three of his four goals have come in 1-0 wins for Nottingham Forest against West Ham, Liverpool and most recently, Southampton.
The only goal he’s scored so far that didn’t directly affect the outcome of the game in Nottingham Forest’s favour was in a 3-2 defeat to Fulham in which he scored the opener.
That means all four of his Premier League goals this season have been opening goals, only Erling Haaland has managed to open the scoring more times in the entire league with five opening goals.
Awoniyi continues to breathe rarified air in the Premier League as he currently has the joint-fourth most winning goals in the 2022/23 season so far.
Only Harry Kane and Erling Haaland with six each, Marcus Rashford with five, Ivan Toney and Gabriel Martinelli with four each have scored more match-winners than Taiwo Awoniyi.
Nottingham Forest are currently 15th on the Premier League log, two points above the relegation zone but if they are to beat the drop, it has become clear that they cannot do it without Taiwo Awoniyi.