Southampton star Graziano Pelle’s laboured showing at QPR was a timely reminder that being a Premier League team’s sole number nine takes its toll.
Having struck nine times in the first 12 games after his move from Feyenoord the Italian has added just three to his tally across the next 18 outings.
Pelle has now not just appeared in, but started, 39 of the Saints’ 41 games this term – the kind of monster workload with which Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud can sympathise.
With only Nicklas Bendtner and Yaya Sanogo as back up during 2013/14 the Frenchman was seldom rotated despite the Gunners entering the New Year with FA Cup and Champions League obligations to fill.
Like Pelle, Giroud had started the campaign with the bit between his teeth, plundering six goals in his first seven games for Arsene Wenger’s side.
However, by the end of October his exertions in leading the line week in week out were beginning to take their toll.
Between the end of October and the final match of 2013 he bagged just twice in 12 appearances, both goals coming in the same game.
Giroud struck 16 times in 36 outings for the Gunners last term, at a ratio of 0.47 goals per 90 minutes, before heading off for further exertions at the World Cup.
Only when a broken foot sustained against Everton in August enforced a three-month absence did he finally get to take a prolonged break.
Arsenal have been reaping the rewards ever since he returned to the fold with the recuperated Frenchman operating at drastically improved 0.81 goals per 90 minute strike ratio in 2014/15.
Giroud is 13/4 to open the scoring when the Gunners face Leicester next time out.
For Pelle, who is older yet a Premier League rookie, the effects of overexposure in the world’s most physically demanding football championship are already seen to be having a greater effect.
Ronald Koeman must craft an alternative formation that allows the Italian some rest in order to have him remain useful as a potentially historic season reaches its climax.