Arsenal striker Yaya Sanogo may not have managed an Arsenal strike in 14 competitive appearances during his first season in north London, but don’t be put off backing the lanky Frenchman to fire five or more goals in the Premier League this term at 17/20.
Sanogo stole the headlines by landing a fantastic four-goal haul against Benfica in his side’s 5-1 pre-season win, with the 21-year-old showcasing the skill and predatory instincts that led Arsene Wenger to pay Auxerre compensation for his signature last summer.
During three-and-a-half seasons in AJA’s B side, Sanogo notched 15 times in 31 appearances in the Championnat de France amateur, the fourth tier of football across the channel.
In his last season at the Stade de l’Abbe-Deschamps, the Parisian poacher bagged ten goals for Auxerre’s seniors in 13 Ligue 2 fixtures, en route to becoming his country’s leading scorer at the 2013 FIFA Under-20 World Cup, a tournament Les Bleus’ youths won.
Some amongst the Emirates faithful will feel uneasy about their club going into the new season with only Sanogo, Olivier Giroud and Joel Campbell in Arsenal’s centre-forward ranks, although the arrival of goal-hungry winger Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona will have eased their anxieties somewhat.
Rumoured moves for Karim Benzema and Mario Balotelli have come to naught, and Arsenal fans could be forgiven for believing that a striker that turned out eight times in the Premier League last term without finding the net, as Sanogo did, isn’t good enough to act as understudy to Giroud.
However, that statistic doesn’t stand up to close scrutiny as the 6ft4in dangerman actually grabbed just 71 minutes of game time in the top flight during 2013/14, having mostly come on as a late substitute.
Sanogo was clearly behind now-departed Nicklas Bendtner in the Emirates striking ranks, and even the famously-useless Dane notched twice in his nine Premier League appearances last term.
With Bendtner now out of the picture, Sanogo will feature with increasing regularity and could even compete with Giroud for the single centre-forward berth in north London if the former Montpellier man has another topsy-turvy season.
Remember, Wenger threw Sanogo into the deepest of deep ends in the Champions League last-16 first-leg clash with FC Bayern Munchen in January, leaving his more illustrious countryman on the bench for the whole 90.
Optimistic Arsenal fans often halt arguments regarding their veteran coach with the words ‘Arsene Knows’, and the 64-year-old clearly rates his young hitman highly, so expect to see much more of Sanogo in the top flight during 2014/15.