There is less than two weeks to go until the much anticipated season openers and the excitement is starting to build with pre-season matches now in full flow. Looking forward to the new season, we are comparing players in different positions who we think will have a considerable impact on their squads in the upcoming campaign. We have so far looked at the playmakers and midfield engines but now it’s the turn of the strikers to take centre stage. Using their statistics from last season, we’ll analyse the areas in which the players excelled as well as improvements that could be made. The strikers that will be under the spotlight are Sergio Aguero, Daniel Sturridge, Diego Costa, Alexis Sanchez and Wayne Rooney.
Sergio Aguero – Manchester City
This simple truth is that when Sergio Aguero on the pitch, he is one of the best strikers in the world. The only problem is that it doesn’t happen as often as Man City would like. Aguero seems to go through a number of injuries during the season and was reduced to only 20 starts in the last campaign. He did however manage to score 17 in his 23 appearances, giving him an excellent ratio of one goal for every 91 minutes he played. The Argentinean also chipped in with six assists with a chance created on average of one every 44 minutes. Even though Man City have the likes of Dzeko, Negredo and Jovetic, Aguero is everything you want in a striker and if 26-year-old can stay fit during the course of the season, City have a fantastic chance to retain their title.
Daniel Sturridge – Liverpool
Sturridge enjoyed a fine season at Liverpool and contributed an impressive 21 goals in his first full campaign with the Reds. He worked up a fantastic partnership with the now departed Luis Suarez and together notched 52 goals in their attempt at the title. Liverpool came agonisingly short in their efforts but will take confidence in their performances last season, especially that of Sturridge. The 24-year-old also racked up a goal every 108 minutes but like Aguero, he missed a handful of games due to injury. The former Chelsea and Man City player was also at hand to deliver seven assists from his 29 chances created and with Suarez having now departed the club many people counting Sturridge to provide the ammunition in front of goal for the Reds.
Diego Costa – Chelsea
You know what they say, if you can’t beat them, buy them. Chelsea’s need for an out and out striker has been clear for a long time and Jose Mourinho will be happy that they have secured the services of a man who was prolific last season and someone who can lead the line on his own. Costa, who helped dump Chelsea out of the Champions League last season, was instrumental in Atletico Madrid’s best season in year, winning the La Liga and reaching the Champions Final. 27 goals is no easy feat for anyone in La Liga, well unless you’re Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. At a rate of one goal every 110 minutes, the Spanish international also created 45 chances with three assists to his name. However, with Chelsea’s star studded midfield, all Costa will have to do is get on the end of the chances created by his team mates to help them in their title charge.
Alexis Sanchez – Arsenal
Following his brilliant displays in the World Cup, Barcelona decided to cash in on the Chilean and Arsenal were the lucky team to have grabbed the forward but for a hefty £35 million price tag. Fans of the London club will be pleased however at the intent of the signing, signifying how the Gunners are ready to challenge at the top again. Sanchez notched 19 goals in La Liga last season and will hope for a similar return this season with Arsene Wenger looking for someone to provide the bulk of the goal tally for his team. As well as scoring goals, the 25-year-old provided 10 assists for his team mates from the 47 chances created and his playing ability seems as though it will suit the Arsenal philosophy, but only time will tell.
Wayne Rooney – Manchester United
Rooney was under the spot light for both club and country last season and will need to prove his worth having signed a contract worth up to £300k a week. Many United fans were not happy over Rooney’s attitude after wanting to leave the club for the second time before finally securing the deal to stay. Rooney did however manager 17 goals in a very poor season by United’s standard and the England international will look to put that in the past and start the season fresh after also suffering from a disappointed World Cup with his country. The 28-year-old also helped with 10 assists from 56 chances created and will look to build on his partnership between Robin Van Persie and Juan Mata under the new leadership of Louis Van Gaal
All the players mentioned will have their sights firmly set on one target, helping his team secure the Premier League title. There will be large amounts of pressure on all five players to perform on a consistent basis and their goals will be pivotal in providing the platform to which the title push will be built upon.
Diego Cost & Alexis Sanchez stats via Squawka.