Power Ranking Every Premier League Team's Attack
They say that attacks win games while defence wins championships, but true or not, scoring goals is a prerequisite for any team seeking success in football.
Since last season, the make-up of all Premier League teams has changed and their offensive reserves shifted, as well as seeing promoted Leicester City, Burnley and Queens Park Rangers re-enter the top-flight fray.
As we'll discuss, even the smallest of teams can boast a fearsome attack, and perhaps even more importantly, bigger sides don't always live up to expectations with their front men.
The natural instinct when forming a ranking of this kind is to look at the players within each squad, assessing their worth to the team and overall quality on the individual scale.
This, of course, plays the biggest role of all in our selection, but it's important to point out that ranking is almost exclusively decided on those who most often line up as strikers, wingers and attacking midfielders.
Quality and Quantity
Just as having one world-class talent among one's ranks is of great benefit, so too is having options en masse, the likes of which enable one to contend with unforeseen injuries over the course of a season.
As such, the amount of attacking members in a squad has been weighed into account, just as having one or two top-quality assets will wade into the discussion.
Not all teams necessarily rely upon their most advanced players for goals and instead see a lot of scoring success come from midfield and attack.
For example, Chelsea scored 71 goals last season, the third-highest total in the league, but their lacklustre trio of Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto'o only accounted for a small portion of that tally.
This ranking isn't based merely upon which side scores the most—one would need only look at the Premier League table for that ranking—but instead assesses the crop of players who contribute up top more discriminately.
Burnley finished second to Leicester City in last season's Championship promotion hunt and were fourth-highest scorers overall, netting 72 goals on their way back to the top flight.
Of those 72 goals, 41 were scored by forward pair Danny Ings (21) and Sam Vokes (20), while January signing Ashley Barnes was the most frequently used backup in the rotation.
This summer, Sean Dyche has added Lukas Jutciewicz and Marvin Sordell to his ranks up front, neither of whom bring much proven Premier League talent to the team, the latter having spent a short spell among England's elite during his time wt Bolton Wanderers.
Vokes brings a similarly minimal amount of experience from his time with Wolves, but all eyes will be on Ings to prove whether or not he's truly of a top-flight pedigree.
19. Leicester City
Nigel Pearson will be buoyed by the fact that his Leicester City side managed to put two past Everton upon their return to the Premier League this past weekend, but the Foxes are far from having proven themselves just yet.
The summer outlay of £8 million for former Brighton man Leonardo Ulloa may have raised a few eyebrows in terms of value, but the Argentinian is going about proving his worth after scoring against the Toffees in his top-flight debut.
Next to him, David Nugent is the figure Leicester fans are hoping will build on his 20 league goals during the 2013-14 Championship campaign, having enjoyed a promising pre-season.
After those two, though, the quality of striking talent at the King Power Stadium drops as Jamie Vardy and Gary Taylor-Fletcher provide the most clear signs of reinforcement, though neither are truly encouraging in the Premier League's grand scheme.
18. Crystal Palace
The lowest scoring of any outfit who managed to maintain a Premier League status last season, it beggars belief that Crystal Palace managed to clinch a mid-table finish in 2013-14.
Without Tony Pulis' trademark influence on defence, the side may struggle to balance things out in the campaign to come, Fraizer Campbell their only attacking acquisition from the summer months, albeit a good option to have.
The former Manchester United, Tottenham and Sunderland attacker joins up with Dwight Gayle, Glenn Murray and Marouane Chamakh, making for an extremely varied rabble of strikers.
For Gayle, this season is about eclipsing last season's feat of finishing as the Eagles' top scorer, not that his tally of seven league finishes was much to write home about compared to other mid-table sides.
Jason Puncheon tied that amount last term and will again look to have a direct threat from midfield, while Murray is hoping to put an injury-ridden couple of years behind him.
Chamakh's dizzying drop from brighter days at the Emirates Stadium hasn't left him in the most glamorous of lights as a prolific finisher, either.
One thing all these strikers have in common is that they've all enjoyed high-scoring form in the past, be it at Selhurst Park or elsewhere, but those streaks need to be revived if the Londoners are to do better than last season's abysmal scoring run.
17. West Ham United
Sam Allardyce has come full circle with his attacking ranks, which saw Carlton Cole released last summer, only to be re-signed on a short-term deal, which in turn became the 18-month contract that currently ties him to Upton Park until the end of the 2014-15 campaign.
It's slightly damning of the Hammers' quality up front that Cole should be their main scoring asset while Andy Carroll lingers in perpetual injuries.
Last season, like Palace, West Ham had no player reach double digits on the goal tally, midfielder Kevin Nolan having actually been their top scorer with seven goals, Cole just behind him with six.
Allardyce has gone about improving his options up front this summer, with Ecuador's Enner Valencia arriving along with Mauro Zarate and Diafra Sakho.
However, judgement will be withheld on those players until we see them more in action, Modibo Maiga having initially held some promise upon his arrival from Sochaux, for example, only to disappoint.
Valeri Bojinov and Ricardo Vaz Te also pose as cover in attack, but there isn't an evidently classy presence up top for the east Londoners, a consistent threat on goal that they'll require in order to improve last season's goal count of 40.
16. Hull City
Shane Long's departure to Southampton is a big blow for Hull City to suffer so late in the transfer window, even if the £12 million fee received for his services does give the club some financial weight to throw around.
That exit now leaves Nikica Jelavic and Yannick Sagbo to uphold Steve Bruce's offensive structure, while summer acquisition Tom Ince adds firepower from the wings.
The Tigers need to reinvest some of the money received for Long, but the options at the KC Stadium aren't terrible, although Robert Snodgrass, who was likely to bring a scoring threat following his move from Norwich City, faces some time on the sidelines after being injured on Saturday against QPR.
15. Aston Villa
For Aston Villa, the prerogative is once again to get Christian Benteke firing on all cylinders, but there remains an air of enigma around the Belgian following his Achilles injury.
If fitness and tactics are all swinging in fluid motion, Benteke has the potential to be a 20-goals-per-season player, but it will be some time before he's back at his optimum.
Andreas Weimann and Gabriel Agbonlahor, despite spending most of their time on the flanks, each bring a spark of flair to Paul Lambert's squad, but it's turning those odd glimpses of the magnificent into more prolonged form that will be key when Benteke's unavailable.
One factor running in Lambert's favour has been the return of Darren Bent, who has looked hopeful in pre-season and has been a Premier League menace in the past, while Libor Kozak sits as a fringe asset.
Gus Poyet actually has a promising array of attacking talent under his command, but the problem in recent years has been fitting those stars into a system that works.
Before the days of Jozy Altidore, Steven Fletcher, Connor Wickham and Danny Graham, it was the likes of Stephane Sessegnon, Darren Bent and Asamoah Gyan who had prolific runs as the scoring jewels at the Stadium of Light, but less prolific times have followed.
Last season, Adam Johnson and Fabio Borini scored 14 of the Black Cats' total of 41 league goals, while Wickham found a powerful vein of form late in the campaign, finishing with five to his name.
Once again, it's likely the midfield will account for a brunt of the team's scoring, as shown by Lee Cattermole and Seb Larsson's finishes during the 2-2 draw at West Brom in this season's Premier League opener.
That being said, Poyet can still hope to see one of his front men find their feet as the spearhead of his attack, Sunderland owed a good run from at least one of their striking investments.
13. West Brom
Despite his new manager Alan Irvine not having seen the player in action prior to his signing, club transfer record purchase Brown Ideye brings an intriguing prospect to the Hawthorns, having gone through strong patches as a Dynamo Kiev player in recent years.
His 2013-14 term was far from sensational with 10 goals in 29 appearances overall, but the Nigerian international could turn out to be worth the £10 million stumped up for his signature.
Placing one's faith in a 21-year-old aspiring England international may not be at the forefront of every Premier League manager's ambitions, but in Saido Berahino, Irvine at least has a player who is enjoying his Premier League rise with some enthusiasm.
The youngster marked his 2014-15 opener with two goals against Sunderland, helping his side earn their point from a 2-2 draw, with Victor Anichebe the other choice in the centre-forward role.
The Baggies boss is lacking in quantity more than anything as far as his forward line is concerned, although Stephane Sessegnon has the capacity to play in a more advanced position should it be required.
12. Stoke City
Peter Crouch scored eight Premier League goals and was the only Stoke City player to net in the double digits overall last season, but the Englishman now has renewed competition for playing time.
Mark Hughes' pursuit of a more attacking paradigm in the post-Tony Pulis era has seen Mame Biram Diouf and Bojan Krkic arrive at the Britannia Stadium this summer.
Diouf, who impressed during a two-and-a-half-year spell at Hannover, looks more prepared for the Premier League now after leaving Manchester United in 2012. Meanwhile, Bojan's pre-season form suggests the 23-year-old may be ready to live up to the potential so fervently linked with his career since his days as a Barcelona youth.
Adding to the attack is Jonathan Walters and Peter Odemwingie, the former of whom has proven to be something of a Mr. Reliable for the Potters (save for the infamous gaff or two).
Marko Arnautovic and Victor Moses, on loan from Chelsea, each has the capacity to be direct on goal from their berths on the wing, Hughes having amassed a respectable selection of forwards.
11. Queens Park Rangers
Queens Park Rangers were the lowest scoring of the three clubs to gain promotion to the Premier League last season, their 60 goals good enough for only joint 12th-best in the Championship.
And while one player's impact shouldn't be overestimated, Loic Remy is a rousing option to be able to call upon after his loan deal with Newcastle United came to an end.
WhoScored.com shows just what a dramatic impact the Frenchman had on the Magpies' scoring figures during his time at St. James' Park:
Loïc Remy: Newcastle scored only 4 goals in the 14 games Remy didn't start in the Premier League last season— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) July 21, 2014
He'll now link up with Charlie Austin, who scored 17 goals last season after showing during his time at Burnley just what a prolific gem he can be, although the top flight now presents an entirely new task.
The same can't be said for veteran Bobby Zamora, who while not as sprightly as he used to be, brings a wealth of experience to the team, shown in his playoff final-winning score at the death last term.
Junior Hoilett will also be eyeing up a threat on goal, as will Adel Taarabt, providing he can stave off any controversies to ensure his involvement with the first team.
10. Newcastle United
It's the nature of Alan Pardew's side that a lot of Newcastle United's attacking midfield talent will lend itself to the club's strikeforce this season, especially with Remy now back at parent club QPR.
That would see the likes of Remy Cabella and Hatem Ben Arfa contribute to the attack, but that isn't to suggest Pardew is without quality up top.
Papiss Demba Cisse will take Remy's departure as something of an opportunity for him to flourish anew, but to do so he'll have to beat summer signings Ayoze Perez and Emmanuel Riviere to a place in the lineup.
The Tyneside outfit opened their season with a 2-0 loss to Manchester City, but Perez looked a handful in that fixture and Riviere showed in the absence of Radamel Falcao at Monaco last season that he can be of worth.
The omnipotent presence of Shola Ameobi has finally moved on from St. James' Park after a 19-year career at Newcastle, but younger brother Sammy and Yoan Gouffran will also add cover to Pardew's roster.
In the ever-rotating conundrum of who should lead the Tottenham line, early signs are that Mauricio Pochettino will place his faith in Emmanuel Adebayor, with Roberto Soldado a terrific option off the bench.
As is the case for much of the Spurs squad, Pochettino's job is very much to get those stars flagging in form back to their best, and just 55 goals scored last season suggests the attack needs revitalising as much as anywhere else.
Should they be able to do so, Erik Lamela and Andros Townsend will be among those who stand to benefit most from a rise, Lamela having yet to demonstrate at White Hart Lane the same wizardry he became so renowned for while with Roma.
The malleable Christian Eriksen is also likely to play a monumental role in Spurs' season, and if his first term in England was anything to go by, there could be a steady rise in the Dane's goal figures this time around.
8. Swansea City
Swansea City were a side in perfect balance last season as far as the figures show, scoring 54 goals but conceding in equal measure to give them an overall goal difference of zero.
Having that kind of weighted approach is no negative thing, though, and with a player of Wilfried Bony's calibre up top, the Welsh outfit can dream of bigger things, the ex-Vitesse Arnhem hitman showing that the Eredivisie can stand as a barometer for elite talent.
Bony has genuine competition this year, however, and with Michu now on loan at Napoli, former Lyon star Bafetimbi Gomis will look to assert his presence in Garry Monk's attack.
The Frenchman was impressive on debuting against Manchester United as a substitute, and while Monk's options up front aren't high in number, they are esteemed in class.
Roberto Martinez has secured the loyalties of Romelu Lukaku in a £28 million deal that could see the Belgian reign at Goodison Park for a decade as long as both parties remain happy.
To have a 21-year-old shoulder the attacking burden of a Premier League squad is no mean feat, but then Lukaku is no average 21-year-old.
Helping the former Chelsea and Anderlecht prodigy will be countryman Kevin Mirallas, himself a former striker who dabbles in front of goal on occasion, while Arouna Kone is hoping to improve upon the near-anonymous term that was 2013-14.
Steven Naismith may not get on the scoresheet as often as he did with Kilmarnock and Rangers, but he has nonetheless shown an eye for goal when played in advanced roles.
Martinez has also picked up the talents of Chelsea's Christian Atsu on loan, a potentially advantageous deal given the Ghanaian's prominence on loan at Vitesse Arnhem last season.
Thanks to Liverpool, Southampton's attack has taken on a far different look this season compared to that of last term's, with Ronald Koeman having to go without Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana's talents.
However, Dusan Tadic and Graziano Pelle have come in to soften the blow of those departures. Martin Laurence of WhoScored shows just what a threat on goal those two can be:
Between them Dusan Tadic (30) and Graziano Pelle (29) contributed to 59 goals (goals+assists) in 61 Eredivisie appearances last season— Martin Laurence (@martinlaurence7) July 1, 2014
Koeman, of course, still has one remaining component of last season's star attackers in the form of Jay Rodriguez, and the addition of Shane Long, albeit overpriced, does give the Saints another scoring spectrum.
5. Manchester United
Louis van Gaal has some of the tools to craft a devastating attack at Old Trafford; the question is whether or not he's the craftsman to put those tools to their best use.
For years now, the story of Javier Hernandez being kept out of the Manchester United squad by the likes of Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck has been overplayed but is very much indicative of just how many quality options Van Gaal possesses.
Granted, those options haven't been at their best over the past year, slumping toward mediocrity in a team sense, but the attackers themselves still held respectable figures.
Rooney, Van Persie and Welbeck each netted 17, 12 and nine league goals respectively last season, accounting for more than half of the club's 64 goals in the division.
However, for a side of United's quality, more is expected, and although past reputations might see the Red Devils climb higher, present form must be taken into account.
And so begins the post-Luis Suarez era at Anfield, with Daniel Sturridge scoring in the Reds' 2014-15 opening 2-1 win over Southampton to show that there may be life after the Uruguayan.
Raheem Sterling was the other player in Brendan Rodgers' side to net in that game as his own eye for goal continues to develop a more acute sense of rhythm.
Backing up Sturridge at present is Rickie Lambert, while other summer striker arrival Divock Origi will spend the 2014-15 season on loan with former club Lille.
Sturridge has excelled during his Reds career and can as such account for a lot of the reasoning behind Liverpool's placement himself, but more options are needed if the club is to survive a multiple campaign season.
Coming from further downfield, one can also expect to see Steven Gerrard, Lazar Markovic, Adam Lallana, Phiippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson each helping to see Liverpool maintain last season's stellar scoring figures.
Just as Mesut Ozil did last summer, Alexis Sanchez's arrival at the Emirates Stadium this summer has got Arsenal abuzz.
The ex-Barcelona speedster will undoubtedly help alleviate some of the scoring burden from the shoulders of Olivier Giroud, Ozil himself likely to help in that endeavour along with Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
To see Yaya Sanogo hitting form in recent months will also be encouraging for Arsene Wenger, who now has more confidence in using the Frenchman as a striker alternative.
The same can be said of Joel Campbell, too, and in the wake of a remarkable 2014 World Cup with Costa Rica, the former Olympiakos loanee brings a new attacking prospect to north London.
Chelsea were the only club to net more than two goals in the opening weekend of the 2014-15 Premier League season, and their 3-1 beating of Burnley saw Diego Costa net a debut goal for his English employers.
The Spanish international has long been foretold as the asset who can cure the Blues' ails of going without a reliable presence up front, Fernando Torres the only remaining asset from last season's lacklustre lot.
Romelu Lukaku, Samuel Eto'o and Demba Ba have all moved on, but where those uncertainties have vacated, club legend Didier Drogba has stepped into the frame and still packs a punch at 36 years of age.
Jose Mourinho's plethora of wing and attacking midfield talent should once again show itself to be of an elite standard, Eden Hazard, Wilian, Andre Schurrle and Mohamed Salah no shrinking violets in front of goal.
1. Manchester City
Another season, another chance for Manchester City to demonstrate that not only can money buy you happiness, but it can buy silverware of the most coveted variety.
That's not a slight on the reigning Premier League champions, either; they've gone about their spending in recent years and are reaping the benefits because of it, Yaya Toure's 20 Premier League goals having paved the way to their domestic triumph in 2013-14.
The Ivorian is a fearsome scoring asset to have in any engine room, but the talent he can aim at in attack is just as illustrious, with Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko, Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic each in a bracket of player that could make its way into just about any team in the world.
City scored 102 league goals on their way to last season's title, and the array of offensive stars at the Etihad Stadium means that bettering that figure is by no means an impossible feat for Manuel Pellegrini's men in 2014-15.