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Who is the Premier League’s best striker? Opta Stats Analysis

Who is the Premier League’s Best Striker? This is a question argued amongst Premier League supporters all the time. This season Robin van Persie has scored the most goals and stake’s a claim to the title. However Wayne Rooney’s 26 Premier League goals are threatening Van Persie’s crown with two games to go. In his début season; Sergio Aguero has been a revelation – boasting 22 goals and scoring at a better rate, of 110 minutes per goal, than Robin van Persie it’s clear that had Aguero had more minutes he may have had more goals. Wayne Rooney betters both of them with a minutes per goal time of 103 minutes.

Last weekend saw expensive signings come to the fore with hat tricks: Luis Suarez and Fernando Torres look to be coming into form. Suarez has now got seven goals in eight games and in Torres’ last three starts he has four goals – we’ll be expecting a lot better figures from these two next season.

Other impressive players in 2012 have been Cisse (Newcastle) and Jelavic (Everton). Both of these players have taken the league by storm. Jelavic has started eight games and scored eight goals whilst Cisse is performing even better than that with thirteen goals in eleven starts. Some of the goals that Cisse has scored have been sublime, two of them last night against Chelsea, however our favourite is the goal side-footed finish against Swansea that curled into the top corner whilst falling away – that was a superb finish.

Below we have some statistics comparing players that have played regularly for their clubs and scoring goals of late:

Minutes per Goal

A lot of information there however we’ve analysed everyone as a group and not in their individual tables. Obviously van Persie leads the total goals tally whilst Torres only has six this season, however the first interesting statistic is the minutes per goal metric. Papiss Cisse is averaging a goal every 72 minutes which is the best in the entire group analysed today and is certainly an impressive stat. The only other player in double figures is Nikica Jelavic who is averaging a goal every 98 minutes. The closest players to these from the rest of the group are Mario Balotelli and Wayne Rooney – Balotelli managing a goal every 101 minutes and Rooney ever 103 minutes. Once again Fernando Torres lags behind here on 299 minutes and had it not been for his hat trick he would have been further behind.

Shots on and off target

A metric that may be a little unfair as a few players are able to have more attempts than others because of the way their team is set up or how much stronger it is than others. Robin van Persie leads the way again and Luis Suarez – un-surprisingly – comes bottom as he spurned many a chance for Liverpool this season.

Minutes per Shot / Shot on Target

You’d expect van Persie to be ahead here once again as he’s had the most shots on goal however it’s Luis Suarez and Wayne Rooney that come up trumps here. Luis Suarez is attempting a shot on goal every 23 minutes with Rooney and van Persie on 24 minutes. Had Luis Suarez been more clinical in front of goal this season, there is no doubt that he’d be competing with RvP, Rooney and Aguero at the top of the goal scorers charts. So much quality, as his hat trick on the weekend showed, however he lacks the calmness in front of goal. Wayne Rooney leads the shots on target column with a shot on target every 40 minutes and once again van Persie is his closest rival on 42 minutes.

Shot Accuracy

So who is the most accurate in the league? Rooney? van Persie? Aguero? Nope it’s newcomer Papiss Cisse that has an astonishing 65% shot accuracy since joining Newcastle earlier this season. Van der Vaart gets a mention here with an impressive accuracy of 63%. Luis Suarez and Fernando Torres make up the group at the bottom with shooting accuracies of 45% (LS) and 43% (FT) – both of these strikers are showing promise towards the end of the season – if they hit top form like we know they can – the league table will be very different next season.

Chance Conversion

The much talked about Chance Conversion metric is one that has had many articles written on this website and it is shows how wasteful a striker is or how proficient they are at taking their chance. Papiss Cisse once again comes top of the pops here with a 42% chance conversion, double the conversion of van Persie and almost quadruple that of Suarez (once again bottom of the pile with 11%). Cisse has been a revelation and really has taken the league by storm scoring some absolute belters along the way. Jelavic is also impressive here with a 31% chance conversion – 2nd highest out of the players analysed whilst Yakubu is top out of the players that have played a full season with 29%.

Clear Cut Chance (CCC) Conversion

Another very interesting metric – this one displays a goalscorer’s ability to put away the easier chances. Frank Lampard leads the way here with 92% however Lampard takes Chelsea’s penalties as does Wayne Rooney for Manchester United. The real impressive striker here is Steven Fletcher from Wolves who is converting 70% of his easier chances. A sure target for Premier League clubs this summer – Fletcher has shown that he will put the ball in the back of the net if give the chance. Luis Suarez once again comes bottom here – missed a penalty and so many clear chances – he should really improve next season if Liverpool have any hopes of coming back into the top four.

Goals via CCC

This metric is to decipher which players are reliant on their team creating clear-cut chances (CCC) for them. Adebayor is totally dependent on his side creating a chance and putting it on a plate for him. He’s scored all of his goals via clear-cut chances and none of them have been difficult or made by himself. Jelavic on the other hand is scoring more goals from difficult angles or volleys (as demonstrated against Manchester United) – this is an impressive statistic for Jelavic. The only other player not relying on their side to create easy chances for them is Grant Holt with 31% of his goals coming from CCC’s.


The big boys fare well in the comparison with van Persie and Rooney topping some categories but it’s clear to see that there will be some new contenders next season. Cisse and Jelavic have shown some real promise in the league and their stats do not lie – they’ve attained some excellent statistics via their scoring rates and types of goals they score. Luis Suarez and Fernando Torres have been poor from a goal scoring point of view this season. If we included creativity in this article we’re sure they’d have fared a little better however this is about goal scorers and unfortunately they’ve not come out on top even though there are signs that they’ll come good next season.

Our choice for most impressive player at this time is Papiss Cisse – his scoring rate and chance conversion is very impressive (Jelavic a close second). It’ll be interesting to see if he can continue this next season. However from a full season stand point there are not many people who can argue with Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney being the stand out strikers this season – there’s not much between their stats and on the pitch they’re the danger men when you play Arsenal or Manchester United.

All of the stats from this article have been taken from the Opta Stats Centre at EPLIndex.comSubscribe Now (Includes author privileges!) See Demo’s and videos about the Stats Centre & read about new additions to the stats centre.

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