It’s probably one of the most irritating things to have appeared on your Facebook page, since Farmville and the Ice Bucket Challenge were clogging up your newsfeed: The ‘New Year New You’ pictures normally shared by someone you went to school with. Someone you know, in two weeks’ time, will be back in the same routine tucking into a tub of Ben and Jerry’s watching old repeats of Friends.
But for the minority, the motivational nonsense that comes with the turn of the year can lead to a very prosperous January – and footballers, despite their multi-million pound lifestyle, are no different.
Here at the Paddy Power Blog we dipped into last season’s results to see which Premier League stars rolled their socks up at the turn of the year and put in their best performances in January. Luckily for us it’s thrown out a 74/1 goalscorer double to get your teeth into.
Santi Cazorla managed just four league goals last season, however three of them came at the turn of the year in January. He scored a brace in the Gunners’ 2-0 win over Fulham and briefly put Arsenal ahead in their 2-2 draw away at Southampton. Not only that, but he scored against Tottenham and Coventry in the FA Cup in January as he hit a real purple patch. The little midfielder bagged seven goals in total for Arsenal last year – with five of them in January.
Could it be the same this time around? Quite possibly. After scoring the opening goal of the Community Shield win against Manchester City, Santi then failed to score until December 6 – a drought that lasted 21 matches in all competitions. During December Cazorla managed four goals in six league games and he’s hitting a decent spell of form just at the right time to continue his January trend.
Sunderland’s Adam Johnson is another man who starts the New Year with a fresh outlook in front of goal. Last season he scored 10 goals in total for Sunderland, with six coming in January, including five of his eight league goals. He bagged a hat-trick away to Fulham, a late equaliser in a 2-2 home draw with Southampton and the winner in a 1-0 victory at home to Stoke. On January 5 he also scored the opener as Sunderland beat Carlisle 3-1 in the FA Cup.
And now might be the time to get on Johnson again as he hits top form in front of goal. After scoring inside the first four minutes in a 2-2 draw with Tottenham on September 13, Johnson then didn’t find the net until December 21 – a goalless run that lasted more than 16 hours of playing time before his stoppage time winner in the Tyne-Wear derby. That goal against Newcastle sparked a run of three goals in his last four league games as Johnson, full of confidence, hits his peak in front of goal.
The number-crunchers in Power Tower have also looked into how much you would have made backing Cazorla and Johnson each league game in January 2014.
- £5 each-way on Adam Johnson in every league game in January 2014 would have returned £118.75 in profit – an increase of 594 per cent
- £5 each-way on Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla in every January 2014 league game would have returned £40.63 in pure profit. Cha-ching!
On Saturday Adam Johnson’s Sunderland face Liverpool at home, and after scoring first in two of the Black Cat’s league games, the midfielder is 9/1 to break the deadlock. Santi Cazorla is 13/2 to open the scoring on Sunday when Arsenal face Stoke at the Emirates. That equates to a 74/1 double with Paddy Power and £2.50 each-way would return a tidy £220 if both opened the scoring, or a handy £32 if the place part of the bet clicked.
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