The key Sunderland star whose performances are becoming increasingly ineffective

Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher appears to have lost his best form.

Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher must shoulder some responsibility for the club's goalscoring problems this season, as his form has been well short of his best.

The Scottish international was expected to be the main man at the Stadium of Light this campaign, but he has struggled in front of goal and it meant Gus Poyet moved to sign Jermain Defoe in the January transfer window.

The Black Cats have managed just 22 goals in their first 25 Premier League matches with Fletcher's personal total standing at just four for the campaign. 

It is a poor return from a striker who is renowned for his finishing ability and it is easy to see just how badly he is struggling when looking at the statistics.

It is actually two seasons since Fletcher was at his best and this prolonged slump is a source of major concern for fans of the North East outfit. 

The 27-year-old scored 11 goals in 28 games during his first season on Wearside back in 2012-13, but he has managed to net just seven times since and his performances are gradually becoming more ineffective.

  SeasonGoalsGoal AssistChances created per gameHeaders per gameShots per gameOn Target Shooting AccuracyTouches per gameAppearancesMins Played
Steven Fletcher 2012-2013 11 1 0.75 5.14 1.96 50.90% 38.35 28 2371
Steven Fletcher 2014-2015 4 1 0.65 2.55 1 50% 29.1 20 1265

When at his best, Fletcher was constantly involved. He was taking nearly two shots per game, winning over five headers a match and he was always an option for his teammates.

Since, though, things have deteriorated. Fletcher is now managing just one shot a game, he is getting on the ball far less frequently and he also seems to have lost his ability to dominate defenders aerially. 

It is a worrying dip in his form and unless Gus Poyet can find a way to draw Fletcher's very best out of him their goalscoring issues look set to continue, even if Defoe's arrival will help somewhat. 

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch