Which team has the most prolific strike force in the Premier League this season?
Sergio Aguero is the best out and out striker in the Premier League. I’ve been saying it for years and the stats are there to back it up. At 32 years old, age is a concern but if you are giving me the reigns of a team and I need a striker to win now I’m going all-in on Aguero. Even in a season hindered by injuries and rotation, the Argentinian striker has nearly a goal for every ninety minutes played, coming in just under at .99. But it’s a team game and the attacking force is very rarely one player, even if he is as good as Aguero, so if given the choice who are you picking between the so-called ‘big’ six teams when it comes to firepower? The right answer could surprise you.
Let’s start with Man City. The former champions play a style a football that is easy on the eye and with a front four of Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling, and Riyad Mahrez has a pretty formidable striker force. Apart from Mahrez (.48), each striker is averaging half a goal per 90 minutes played or above. But there is also a huge drop off between Aguero at the top (.99) and Jesus (.55) and Sterling (.50). They also have Bernardo Silva (.25) and the squad depth means they can rotate but as the stats show without a replacement for Aguero the Manchester club could struggle, especially considering they just lost Leroy Sane to Bayern Munich. I don’t doubt for a second that City will go big in the transfer market this summer with a defender probably top of their list, but if I’m Guardiola I’m also looking at the other end of the pitch.
We then move on to the current champions Liverpool. There is no doubt Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are one of the most lethal strike forces in the Premier League. Salah is averaging .61 goals per ninety minutes and Mane .59. Unfortunately for Liverpool and their hopes of retaining the championship they will both most likely miss a portion of next season due to the African Cup of Nations. The real fear for the Champions is that the drop off from those is quite dramatic. Roberto Firmino stumbles in at .27 and Origi is their best alternative option with .42 per ninety minutes played. Takumi Minamino has yet to shine since joining from Red Bull Salzburg but did average .50 per ninety in his final season at the Austrian club and Liverpool will be hoping he can find that form again especially if they lose Mane and Salah. Like City, you would expect them to add during the summer, especially knowing the African Cup of Nations is on the horizon.
Chelsea will add Timo Werner from RB Leipzig where he has scored .90 goals per ninety minutes played in the Bundesliga this season. However, they may also lose Willian and his .36 goals per ninety. They will also have to find a way of playing Werner and Tammy Abraham (.57 goals per ninety) without hindering either output. Christian Pulisic’s .46 goals per ninety is decent and the American International will be hoping with more game time next season that will increase. Mason Mount is a concern at .21 per ninety minutes and will need to see an improvement, but should Oliver Giroud stay he will be a serviceable backup with .53 per ninety. If Werner can hit the ground running and fits with Abraham and Pulisic Chelsea could be the most attractive attacking team to watch next season.
Their London rivals Arsenal will need more output from anyone not named Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who is averaging .62 goals per ninety with Alexandre Lacazette following at .48. Gabriel Martinelli has shown glimpses and will be hoping to improve on his .41 goals per ninety next season with more game time as will Eddie Nketiah who sits at .36. They will also need an increase from Nicolas Pépé who languishes well behind his teammates at .26 goals per ninety minutes played. His second year at Lille in Ligue One was what prompted Arsenal to purchase him and with a .60 goals per ninety minutes played during that season the Gunners will be hoping he can reach something close to that yet again. They also have Bukayo Saka as an attacking option if they so wish, but given he has played a number of games at left back I have decided not to include him. Once again, the squad depth could be there for Arsenal if everyone can play to their potential.
Staying in London, Tottenham’s push to break the top four will rely heavily on Harry Kane, to nobody’s surprise. The English striker is averaging .55 goals every ninety minutes this season, which is less than his previous three campaigns but still decent. If he can get back to his 2016-17 form when he was averaging 1.04 goals per 90 minutes Tottenham could easily break the top four but he’ll need help from Dele Alli and Son Heung-min who both are averaging .39 goals per ninety minutes and Steven Bergwijn who has averaged .47 goals per 90 since joining from PSV Eindhoven. Jose will also be active in the market if given the money as he will likely look to replace Lucas Moura (.19 goals per ninety) and Erik Lamela (.17 goals per ninety) who hinder more than help in the attacking third.
Lastly, we come to Manchester United who have the most prolific four on the list with Mason Greenwood averaging .77 goals per ninety minutes played, Bruno Fernandes at .70, Anthony Martial at .62 and Marcus Rashford with .61. The problem for United comes in the form of backup for these four and it’s easy to see why they’ve been linked with Jack Grealish and Jadon Sancho this offseason. I still think it would be ridiculous to pay silly money for these players but with Lingard and Mata both without a Premier League goal this season and Andreas Pereira not much better with one, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must find a way to rest his top four without drastically hurting his team.
If Solksjaer can manage this, Manchester United might not be as far away from challenging as some pundits think. However, for pure ability, Chelsea will be the team to watch next season. If Werner can continue his goal scoring antics and form a connection with Tammy Abraham, who has been fantastic this season, Chelsea could be a real threat. It’s a big ‘IF’ though and Chelsea fans won’t need to be reminded about fantastic strikers flopping once they joined the club like Andriy Shevchenko and Fernando Torres.