This time last year, things weren’t going brilliantly for Sam Cosgrove.
The Aberdeen striker had just two goals in the first 16 games of the season, and they were both in one game, against St Mirren, who were second-bottom of the Scottish Premiership at the time.
A few weeks later he was sent off against Rangers, but after his return from suspension, something seemed to click. He scored a further 19 goals in the season, including a run of 15 goals in 14 games between December and March.
This season, he’s been just as good, if not better. He has 15 in 15 starts and is, understandably, attracting plenty of attention, even from Lazio if you believe a few slightly spurious reports circulating a few weeks ago.
He might not be quite Serie A standard, but just how good is Cosgrove? That was a topic of discussion on the Totally Scottish Football Show this week.
“I was speaking to Derek McInnes,” said JJ Bull, “and he was saying how he thinks Cosgrove is perfectly suited to the English game, and that he he’d be a Championship player, no problem.”
One of Cosgrove’s recent strikes, a delicately dinked opener in a 3-0 win over Motherwell, attracted particular attention, if only because it wasn’t the type of goal most would associate with a big centre-forward like him.
“That’s the type of finish I didn’t think he’d have in him,” said Kieran Canning. “We know he’s good in the air, has scored a lot of penalties and is good in the box, but that’s about the technique you need to take it on and carry it off. It isn’t even one of those goals where the goalkeeper goes down easily: the goalkeeper stood up and he has to go all the way over him.”
Then it was over to JJ for some stats, and a little context about exactly how good Cosgrove is, and indeed could be.
“His xG this season is 0.7 per game, so he should be scoring 70% of a goal every game – I know that’s not quite how the stat works – but for a team who haven’t created much this season (most of what Aberdeen have done is set pieces), that’s really impressive.
“If he was playing in a team that creates chances regularly…he can play off the shoulder of the last man, or as a target man, he can drop deep to link play: he’s basically the complete forward, and could do a job at a [bigger] club.”
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