With the Premier League race hotting up, the stage is all set for a serial goal scorer to step up to the mark and make a name for himself.
Championships are won by defenses is a very true adage. But no one can deny that one key ingredient for any title winning side is a 20 goals per season striker. Just ask Diego Milito and Inter if you don’t take my word for it
The Premier League has no dearth of quality strikers and in Drogba, Rooney, Tevez and Torres; we have arguably four of the best strikers in the world. At the start of the season, one would have expected the best striker to come from this list of four.
I will try and make a comparison between these four stars and come up with some points that we can use to debate on whom among them is the best striker in the Premier League.
Drogba has won 3 Premier League titles during his time at Chelsea and is a proven goal scorer in this league. The 2009/10 season saw him score close to 30 goals and the stage was all set for him to carry Chelsea to back-to-back titles again. Things, however have not gone perfectly to plan as injuries have restricted his effect on games. Drogba has been suffering from malaria and it maybe an effect of this illness that his power dependant game might be suffering a little bit.
In 12 games and 1 substitute appearance, Drogba has managed 6 goals. Three of these 6 goals came against West Brom at Stamford Bridge. Worryingly, in the remaining 12 odd games, he has managed only 3 goals. I have to think that his lack of fitness has a huge role to play in this and a fully fit Drogba would easily have managed a strike rate much closer to 1 goal per game.
He also has 6 assists and 25 shots on goal to his credit. These are important numbers too as a striker who can help the rest of the team score is an added asset.
Didier has been fouled 18 times by the opposition and rather ironically he has committed 23 fouls himself. This is a sign that he is a follower of the philosophy ‘Defending from the Front’.
With 0 red cards and just 2 yellow cards, one can add that Drogba has improved the temperamental side of his game which is sometimes the only criticism one can level against him.
Drogba plays alongside Anelka, Malouda and Salomon Kalou. With Anelka being the only recognized striker, Drogba will be the main focus of Ancelotti when fit. The lack of a winger who likes putting in crosses rather than coming infield himself might reduce the number of headers that Drogba might manage. But overall, the strength in the Chelsea attack should not see him being isolated in games.
Drogba’s last Premier League goal came against, surprises of all surprises – Arsenal on the 3rd of October. Didier Drogba is due goals and with fitness coming back it seems almost perfect for him to lead Chelsea out of their current slump.
Best Performance: Chelsea v West Brom- Chelsea won 6-0, Drogba 3 goals.
World Cup Flop, Unfaithful and Rebel. These are just some of the terms used to describe Rooney this season for reasons well documented. The World Cup saw Wayne in terrible form which continued into the start of the season. His off-field issues have been talked about to death and I won’t delve into that. If that wasn’t enough, his contract signing rumblings with the Old Trafford hierarchy was exactly what the tabloids wanted. In a way, Rooney has been the media’s best friend never leaving them a day without something new to write about.
Unfortunately for Rooney and Manchester United, all this has resulted in just 4 Starts and 2 Sub appearances. An injury has also had a role to play in the low number of appearances. It is unfair to judge Rooney on his performances thus far given the circumstances but I will try to run through his numbers none the less.
He has managed 1 goal in 4 games getting 18 shots on goal of which 7 were on target. An impressive stat is his 3 assists in 4 games.
Rooney is known for his great work ethic and he has managed roughly 1 tackle a game. His disciplinary record has also been better than usual with just 1 yellow card and no reds.
Playing in a fluid style with players such as Nani and Berbatov will surely allow Rooney a number of scoring chances as well as a number of assists for his team mates.
Having made his return to the team and put all his contract troubles behind him, the New Year should yield a much clearer picture of Rooney’s season.
Best Performance: Manchester United v West Ham United- Man Utd won 3-0, Rooney 1 goal.
When you are the top scorer of your team with 9 goals and the next highest scorer has 2 goals, it says something about your importance to the team. Tevez is City’s Captain and also their most influential player, by a country mile.
Tevez has also had some fitness issues and has made a trip to Argentina missing a game or two in the process.
In 13 games this season, Tevez has scored 9 goals with 4 assists equating to 1.4 goals per game. With 53 shots at 4 shots a game and 18 shots on goal 1.4 shots on goal per game, he is more than likely been responsible for some of his team mates’ goals.
Tevez is known for his Rottweiler like toughness. He is a fan’s favorite everywhere he plays as he gives his all to the team be it attack or defense. In his defensive duties Tevez has conceded 21 fouls while suffering 20 in the process, equating to 1.5 fouls per game.
It is no surprise then that he has a total of 3 yellow cards, the highest amongst this bunch.
Unlike Drogba and Rooney, Tevez plays in a more defensive minded team and it is to his credit that he has the most number of goals by quite a margin.
Citizens would argue that without the little Argentine, their team would find itself several places below and that only further highlights his effectiveness as a striker.
Best Performance: Manchester City v Liverpool- City won 3-0, Tevez 2 goals.
Liverpool is the lowest scoring team in this comparison with a mere 16 goals. Gerrard with 3 and Torres with 5 goals have a combined 50% of the total goals. Seems like a familiar pattern to seasons past.
Torres had an injury plagued world cup and didn’t look completely match sharp when the new season began.
It comes as a bit of a surprise that Torres has featured in 13 of Liverpool’s League games this season. It must be added though that in the initial few games, he didn’t last the whole 90 minutes.
El Nino has scored 5 goals at 0.4 goals per game. He also has a total of 2 assists thus far.
In the same time, he has gotten away 45 shots in total and 17 shots on goal. These numbers lead to 3.5 shots per game and 1.3 shots on goal per game.
When it comes to fouling and getting fouled, Torres gives as good as he gets with 23 each. These are impressive numbers indeed as they are the highest among all the 4 here. Once again, Torres’ defensive attributes come as a bit of a surprise as I expected far fewer fouls committed than the high numbers here.
Torres has 3 Yellow cards and no red card which puts him level with Tevez on the disciplinary scale.
If Liverpool is to get into the Champions League spots or in the Europa League, Fernando Torres will have to chip in with the bulk of the goals for Liverpool.
Best Performance: Liverpool v Chelsea- Liverpool won 2-0, Torres 2 goals.
Thus we have 4 strikers who at the start of the season, we all expected to be fighting for the top scorer’s prize but other than Tevez, the others have fallen a few goals short.
Each has suffered an injury or two along the way and in Rooney’s case his season has been affected rather severely.
Drogba has contributed 6 out of Chelsea’s 28 goals that are 21.4% of their goals.
Rooney has contributed 1 out of 35 but given the circumstances, we shall not compare his numbers and make it a 3 way competition.
Tevez has a massive 9 out 19 goals for City making it a staggering 47.3% of their goals.
Torres has 5 of 16 Liverpool goals giving him a 31.2% share of the goals.
Other strikers who have a claim to the title of best or most effective striker in the League are Johan Elmander of Bolton with 8 goals and Newcastle’s Andrew Carroll also with 8 goals.
Dimitar Berbatov has been Manchester United’s main striker in Rooney’s absence and his haul of 5 goals against Blackburn should propel him to the top of the charts. But if one has to choose between season long consistencies versus a one match blitz, I am sure we all would agree the former has much more value.
Arsenal is represented by Marouane Chamakh with 6 goals in 13 games and the number of occasions that he has come off before the end shows that the Young Frenchman has the potential to be a top scorer next season if it is one step too far this season.
Thus considering all the factors and numbers involved, I would have to go with Carlos Tevez as being the best striker in the Premier League and also the most effective. His consistency and form thus far together with his importance for the team and supporting cast, or the lack of, should make his performances seem even stronger.
I look forward to your opinion as the topic of best striker always brings out colorful opinion from fans of all clubs. This is an evaluation given the performances so far and we might have a totally different outcome by the end of the season.