As much as keeping them out, scoring goals has been an issue for Dundee in recent weeks.
Injuries and Covid have restricted their options of course but in their last five matches – all of them defeats – they failed to score in three.
Earlier in the campaign they endured a five-match run without a single strike to their name.
At that point, though, getting close to the opposition goal hadn’t been a problem.
Dundee were getting into shooting positions and hitting the target plenty, just not scoring.
Fast forward three months and we are seeing similar struggles in front of goal.
The difference is now the shots on target have dried up too.
Efforts on goal
Now they have played a further 14 games, the Dark Blues have dropped significantly in those standings.
They were fourth with 25, now they are ninth on 73 with Celtic close to double that tally.
In December, the Dark Blues managed just 15 shots on target across six matches – five of those, though, were at Ross County.
Since that disappointment in Dingwall, an injury-hit and then Covid-ravaged Dundee managed four shots v Hibs (one on target), four against Hearts (one on target) and two at Aberdeen (both on target).
Where do the goals come from?
Past halfway, Dundee’s top league goalscorer is wideman Luke McCowan.
In his debut season, the former Ayr playmaker has four to his name, ahead of Danny Mullen (3), Jason Cummings (3), Leigh Griffiths (2) and Ryan Sweeney (2).
The Dark Blues are well ahead of the league’s lowest scorers with 18 to St Johnstone’s 11.
With a backline struggling to keep goals out, though, more are needed at the other end.
Of late, they have dried up.
Style of play
They get it forward and they get it forward quickly.
With the pace of Paul McMullan and the passing range of Charlie Adam, that’s not unexpected.
Only Motherwell (19) have had fewer sequences of 10 passes or more – Dundee have made 24 compared to Aberdeen’s 164 and Celtic’s 397.
The Premiership coming to an abrupt halt due to the rise in Covid cases has come at a welcome time for Dundee.
They now have 18 days to recharge, regroup and refresh their squad in the January window.
Failures at both ends of the park right now are costing them dearly.
There is plenty work to do in 2022.