Charlie Austin has only found the back of the net once so far this season whilst others around him are scoring for fun, so what is going on with him at the moment?

The key part to note here is that there is no panic internally about how Austin has played, Michael Flynn has continued to wax lyrical about his overall performances and players in the dressing room frequently talk unprompted about what a big part of the team he is.

However, there are always going to be questions when one of Swindon’s best-ever goal scorers seems to be having difficulties in front of goal.

So, why is he not scoring? And what else has he offered to the team?

The answer to these questions can be summed up in three main ways:

1. Poor finishing

It is tough to get away from the very simple explanation that the lack of goals stems from him struggling for consistency in front of goal.

Town have been averaging 16 shots per game so far this season and he and Jake Young have both taken the same number of shots, so he has certainly not been suffering from starvation in front of goal.

The rather blunt way of putting it is that to start the season he has been one of the worst finishers in the league.

Looking at this graph from Opta Stats Hub, which plots shots per 90 against goals per 90, Ollie Palmer and Rhys Oates are the only players to have been more wasteful than him in League Two.

This Is Wiltshire: Austin has been one of the most wasteful players in front of goal this seasonAustin has been one of the most wasteful players in front of goal this season (Image: Opta Stats Hub)

Some of this has been due to poor luck and some have been times when you would expect more, as he was happy to admit.

“Ultimately, we are winning so it doesn’t matter, but you still focus on yourself, and I also want to help the team with goals," he said.

“If I get the chances then I score, albeit we played Crewe, and I should have scored a header and I don’t know what the goalkeeper had for pre-match when we played Forest Green. I think if I was still there now, he would still be saving them.”

If he was finishing at a league-average level, he would likely have three goals already rather than just one. The chances have been there and have not been capitalised on.

However, this does not matter as much as it normally would, because…

2. He is helping Dan Kemp and Jake Young

This is one thing that Austin himself has stressed a lot, “I think it is my job [to get between the posts], but if I don’t make those movements or find myself in another part of the pitch then that takes away from Youngy doing what he does and Kempy.”

And Flynn has been of the same mindset, saying after the 5-3 win against Sutton, “If you look at our first goal when he peeled off to the left, it was very clever play because it allowed Tariq [Uwakwe] to roll inside and they just didn’t know what to do.”

The attention that teams pay to Austin because they know what he is capable of has made him a rather useful decoy and that has been crucial to giving Young presentable chances to score.

Looking at the 6-0 win against Crawley Town, in which Austin did not find the back of the net, two of Young’s four goals came as a direct result of his movement.

For the third goal Austin is in the middle as Kemp receives the ball on the right with two Crawley defenders around him.

This Is Wiltshire: Austin pulls the defenders away from the danger zoneAustin pulls the defenders away from the danger zone (Image: Swindon Town, YouTube)

He makes a run away from goal to offer Kemp an option, but also vacating the middle of the goal, allowing Young to move into that space and have the simplest of tasks to score.

This Is Wiltshire: His movement gives Young a simple chanceHis movement gives Young a simple chance (Image: Swindon Town, YouTube)

Then for the fourth goal, Austin again has the attention of two defenders in the middle as Tariq Uwakwe has the ball on the left.

This Is Wiltshire: Austin again makes a run to create space behind himAustin again makes a run to create space behind him (Image: Swindon Town, YouTube)

He decides to make another selfless run to the near post, dragging defenders with him, and Young attacks the space at the far post to get his fourth of the game. One defender was not able to get across quick enough to block his header having initially followed Austin towards the front post.

This Is Wiltshire: This gives Young a free run at the far postThis gives Young a free run at the far post (Image: Swindon Town, YouTube)

He does not touch the ball once in either of the goals but has a huge impact on the chance that Swindon create.

3. He is not playing as the central striker.

Swindon are ostensibly playing a 3412 this season with Kemp playing off of Austin and Young, but in possession, this turns into a 325.

The wingbacks push up to playing like “wingers” as Tariq Uwakwe put it and Austin moves to the left half space, with Kemp in the right half space, keeping Young in the middle.

This Is Wiltshire: Austin plays in a more withdrawn roleAustin plays in a more withdrawn role (Image: Sofascore)

You can see from these heatmaps that Austin is taking a lot of his touches out wide, linking up with Uwakwe to become more of a creator, before getting into the box when the ball is on the right.

Flynn’s plan for the attack is to have one central striker that can run in behind, initially this was Rushian Hepburn-Murphy and has since become Young, which forces the defenders back and creates more space in front of them for Kemp, Austin, and the midfielders to play in.

This sees Austin dropping a lot deeper than he would normally be accustomed to and linking the play, whilst Young is expected to occupy the last man, where you might expect Austin to be.

This Is Wiltshire: Austin is still very involved in the attackAustin is still very involved in the attack (Image: Opta Stats Hub)

You can see this in the numbers, as he his chance creation is equally as impressive as what he has been getting on the end of, seeing him rank in the 89th percentile in League Two for attacking contribution, which measures how many non-penalty shots a player has combined with their number of chances created.

He said: “As a centre forward, you just want to get off that duck egg and I have already done that, I am on one and I have got three assists. I set-up Frazer [Blake-Tracy], that was taken off me and how do I not get an assist for Kempy’s goal at Forest Green when the ‘keeper save my header? Shambles.”

He is having a big impact on games at the moment, even without finding the back of the net, enabling his forward partners to dazzle, whilst still getting chances himself. Swindon are already breaking goalscoring records this season, who knows what will happen when Austin gets his eye in?