Stoke City striker, Saido Berahino had a game to forget on Saturday after seeing his penalty kick saved and his search for his first goal in Stoke colours, go on.
Dubbed a future star of English football, Saido Berahino is making headlines for all the wrong reasons as far as strikers are concerned. The stats don’t lie and unfortunately for Berahino, they don’t make for great reading for the 24-year-old. It’s been: 1,908 minutes, 583 days, 38 shots, 30 Premier League games and counting without a Premier League goal for the former West Brom striker.
At the end of the day, strikers will be judged by goals. Whether they have a brilliant game, create sacrificial runs, provide assists or get themselves into good positions, it counts for very little unless the ball pierces the back of that net.
Goal-barren strikers often look isolated, lonely and somewhat depressed figures out there on the field. It can be very easy for out of form forwards to get lost in and amongst the ferocious pace of the game and even ‘bottle it’ when goal scoring chances come their way. However, on Saturday, Berahino was afforded the perfect opportunity to net his first goal for the club after being clipped in the box by Van Dijk.
But he was denied from the spot by the out-stretched hand of England keeper Forster and he has now gone 30 Premier League games without scoring a goal – he last found the back of the net in February 2016 in West Brom’s 3-2 win over Crystal Palace.
Despite seeing his penalty saved, it was Berahino’s urgency to take the spot-kick himself that was inspiring. The easy decision would have been to hand it over to another quality dead ball specialist, but the 24-year-old’s confidence to put himself in that situation spoke volumes of his character.
It’s been well documented that Berahino has a strong Christian faith and his faith will have been tested throughout this specific season of his career. Speaking in Cross The Line, when asked ‘do you believe prayer affects performance?’, Berahino’s answer was both interesting and provoking. He said, “Yes, of course but you don’t pray for hat-tricks or great goals – you pray for guidance, for protection and to stay healthy.” It seems that despite a lack in confidence in his game at the moment, Berahino is still choosing to put his identity in Christ as opposed to being a striker out of form. Berahino knows that he may be judged by goals from the fans, but ultimately, man looks at the outside but God looks at the heart.
The goals will come, we know that. There’s too much quality oozing out of Berahino for him to continue this unfortunate streak too much longer, but it’s his willingness to keep God at the centre despite it all which speaks volumes.
Goals will come and go, but a relationship with God will remain steadfast.