The Best Striker In The Top Four

CREDIT: SKY SPORTS
CREDIT: SKY SPORTS

It’s the biggest day in the Premier League season on Sunday, as the top four teams go head to head. First place Leicester City visit third place Arsenal at midday, before fourth place Manchester City host second place Tottenham Hotspur at 4:15pm. Each of the clubs has a striker central to their title hopes, and I’m going to rate and rank them. All the stats are provided by Squawka, ESPN and WhoScored.

Jamie Vardy – Leicester City

CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES
CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES
  • Age: 29
  • 2015-16 Premier League games: 25
  • 2015-16 Premier League goals: 18
  • 2015-16 Premier League assists: 3
  • International Caps/Goals: 4/0 (England)

His form may not be as great as it was earlier in the campaign when scored in a record 11 consecutive Premier League games, but Jamie Vardy remains the division’s top scorer with 18 strikes. His importance to Leicester’s surprise title challenge was reinforced when the Foxes handed him a new £80,000 a week contract earlier this month to keep him at the King Power Stadium until 2019. There’s even rumours about a film being made about his dramatic rise to glory.

Harry Kane – Tottenham Hotspur

CREDIT: AFP
CREDIT: AFP
  • Age: 22
  • 2015-16 Premier League games: 25
  • 2015-16 Premier League goals: 15
  • 2015-16 Premier League assists: 1
  • International Caps/Goals: 8/3 (England)

2014-15’s breakthrough star and PFA Young Player of the Year had a slow start to this campaign, but now Harry Kane has 14 goals in his last 16 games proving that he was not a one season wonder. Despite his age, he has even taken up the Tottenham captaincy on a few occasions this season showing how much Mauricio Pochettino values him at the club. Along with Vardy, Kane will be crucial to England’s hopes at the European Championships this summer.

Olivier Giroud – Arsenal

CREDIT: REUTERS
CREDIT: REUTERS
  • Age: 29
  • 2015-16 Premier League games: 25
  • 2015-16 Premier League goals: 12
  • 2015-16 Premier League assists: 3
  • International Caps/Goals: 44/13 (France)

I often think Olivier Giroud doesn’t get as much praise as he deserves at Arsenal, as although he has missed a couple of sitters, without him the Gunners would be nowhere near the top four. The Frenchman had to carry the goalscoring burden pretty much by himself when Alexis Sanchez was out injured for nearly two months, and scored nine goals in that time. He has hit double figures in the league in each of the four campaigns he’s been at the Emirates Stadium.

Sergio Aguero – Manchester City

CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES/MICHAEL STEELE
CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES/MICHAEL STEELE
  • Age: 27
  • 2015-16 Premier League games: 18
  • 2015-16 Premier League goals: 14
  • 2015-16 Premier League assists: 2
  • International Caps/Goals: 69/32 (Argentina)

The only one of the four to have lifted the Premier League trophy (twice), Sergio Aguero has struggled with injuries in the past couple of seasons but remains at the top of his game. He was the division’s top scorer in 2014-15 with 26 goals, whilst this campaign he scored five goals against Newcastle to become only the fifth player to net that many in one game. However Aguero did it in just 23 minutes, faster than anyone else to write his name in English top flight history.

What the Stats say

Below I’ve ranked the four players in a number of areas to see how they compare in terms of stats. Here’s why I chose each stat:

  • Goals – A striker’s main goal is to score goals. Simple
  • Assists – Do they set up their team-mates as well?
  • Points won by player’s goals – How vital are they to their team?
  • Mins per goal – They may have scored a lot of goals, but is that because they’ve played every minute?
  • Shot accuracy – They may have scored a lot of goals, but is that because they have had loads of shots?
  • Average duels won – Are they strong and committed in the tackle?
  • Times fouled per game – Do the opposition see them as a major threat?
  • Chances created per game – Similar to assists, do they help their teammates as well?

If a player was first in a certain stat, they would gain four points, second = three points, third = two points and fourth = 1 point. I then tallied up the scores across the eight stats. Here are the results…

striker comparison

My Opinion

Obviously the statistics above are from this season in the Premier League alone, so they can be taken with a pinch of a salt when deciding how to rank the four strikers. Personally, I think there’s no question as to who the best striker out of the four and that’s Sergio Aguero. He is the only one who I would categorise as ‘World Class’. He’s been doing it at the top level for a longer than any of the others, despite Vardy and Giroud being older than him. If it weren’t for injuries in recent seasons, then opinion would be even higher. He’s obviously also the only one to have actually lifted the English top division. This campaign, his minutes per goal ratio is significantly higher than the other three.

Behind Aguero, I think it’s actually very close. If you based it on this season alone, Jamie Vardy takes second place as he currently sits top of the scoring charts, whilst he created Premier League history earlier on in the campaign. Furthermore, if you took at the points he has earned Leicester this season, it is double that any of the other three. Without his goals, the Foxes would be in mid-table, which proves how key the Englishman is. The big question now is if he can perform at the European Championships as well as continue to bang in the goals next season, when Leicester are likely to competing in the Champions League as well.

Then in third for me it’s Harry Kane, who should partner Vardy in France in the summer. The 22 year old has showed that he really is a superb striker and not just one who had six months of good form. He may not have earned his team as many points as the others, but his shot accuracy is the best and you will often find that Kane is never afraid to shoot. And if you don’t shoot you don’t score. He’s still young and has a bit of learning to do, but has the potential to become a legend for both Tottenham and England.

Ranking Olivier Giroud fourth doesn’t mean I think he’s a bad player. Quite the opposite in fact. I really rate the Frenchman, but I’m not entirely sure Arsene Wenger quite believes in him – Giroud has completed 90 minutes in only 13 of his 25 appearances this season. When he is on the pitch though, I think he has a big impact. The 29 year old doesn’t score as many goals but he is more the kind of player to help set up team-mates. Meanwhile, at 6ft 4in, he has the biggest physical presence of the four strikers.

So that’s my verdict, but how do you rate Vardy, Kane, Giroud and Aguero? Let me know on social media and in the comments below! 

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