Back in December I had a look at the Premier League’s best finishers through 17 games. With a further 16 of 17 games played by teams since then, here is the latest on how the best finishers in the division are faring in front of goal.
The above table is a list of stats for all 23 players who have scored a minimum of 10 league goals this season, ranked by goals scored and then minutes played per goal.
Manchester United’s Robin van Persie overtook Luis Suárez on Monday by firing in a hat-trick versus relegation-threatened Aston Villa. The Dutch striker has interestingly scored against 16 of the 19 teams he has faced this season – with only Norwich City and Queens Park Rangers shutting RvP out in two games this season. Swansea City can become victim number 17 to the league’s top scorer on 12 May, both teams’ penultimate game of the season.
Robin van Persie has scored 31% of his team’s Premier League goals this season following his move from Arsenal over the summer. He’d scored 41% of the Gunners’ goals last season.
Organising the top 23 goalscorers by shooting accuracy, where blocked shots are discounted, Sunderland’s Steven Fletcher is the most accurate. 65% of the Scottish striker’s shots that aren’t blocked test the opposition goalkeeper.
In comparison to the rest of the players in the original list, only Adam Le Fondre (51) has had fewer shots on goal than Fletcher’s 55, including blocks. All 11 of Fletcher’s goals this season have come from inside the 18-yard box.
At the bottom of the table is Swansea City’s Michu. The Spaniard has only found the target with 39% of his attempts. Olivier Giroud, Adam Le Fondre and Arouna Koné are the only other players from the original list to fire more shots off target than on.
Goals per Game
It doesn’t come as a great deal of surprise that Robin van Persie ranks number one in terms of goals per 90 minutes. Though the leading goalscorer has featured in all 34 of Manchester United’s Premier League games this season and is the only player Sir Alex Ferguson has featured in every league game this season.
Romelu Lukaku has only started 16 Premier League games this season and with the on-loan West Bromwich Albion striker only playing 90 minutes on 7 occasions this season as well as scoring 3 goals as a substitute, his goals per 90 minutes rankings second only to RvP.
Luis Suárez has played more minutes than any other player on the list but still ranks very well. Edin Dzeko and Frank Lampard have played the fewest minutes on the list but the impact they have made when on the pitch this season fares well on this list.
Shots per 90 minutes
Expanding the list back to the whole of the Premier League but then excluding the players who haven’t played 900 minutes (10 full games) this season, we are left with the top 10 players who try to make the most impact for their teams.
Luis Suárez has had the most shots in the league this season and averages nearly 6 attempts per game which would be one every quarter of an hour per game.
Gareth Bale has shot up the list having not featured in December. The Tottenham midfielder has transformed in 2013, scoring 9 of their 22 (41%) Premier League goals in 2013.
When Edin Dzeko is on the field for Manchester City he does appear to take a number of shots at goal and this table backs that up – averaging 4.4 shots per 90 minutes.
Having opened the list to the rest of the Premier League players who have played at least 900 minutes, only Wigan Athletic’s Jordi Gómez makes the list outside of the 23 players with 10+ goals. The Spanish midfielder, when on the pitch, is often seen shanking a shot into row Z. His 3 goals all came in a single game when he did have his shooting boots on – versus Reading back in November.
Of those with at least 10 goals so far this season, Frank Lampard is best at converting them. Excluding blocked efforts, the Chelsea midfielder has converted 28% of his attempts this season – 2% better than both Steven Fletcher and Juan Mata who trail behind him.
In terms of Chelsea, Eden Hazard has scored with 22% of his chances this season but they have been held back by striker Fernando Torres who has put the ball in the back of the net with only 14% of his shots – only Olivier Giroud (13%) and Jermain Defoe (14%) in the top 23 have a worse conversion rate this season.