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Top 20 Goalscorers In The Premier League 2012/13

In today's article I want to look at the top 20 goalscorers in the Premier League. It would be too simple to merely list goals scored and have done with it, so I have added some twists and turns to freshen it up!

This is a follow up article from the top 15 Strikers article I wrote last year (Link) and it also has a little nod to some of the work I have been doing here. Specifically, I am going to add in the per 90 minutes categories I used when looking at Man City's strikers and individual players like Bale, Walcott and Falcao.

Our very own @mixedknuts has been banging the drum recently on the need for per 90 usage when looking at player stats. I have used it extensively before and It will be a key feature of this article.

One important note: All penalties, goals from penalties and shots from penalties have been stripped out. Thos levels the playing field and doesn't hand an advantage to a player like RvP who takes penalties over a player like Bale who didn't take penalties.


Gls per 90 Goals Close Gls Tied Gls
Suarez 0.7 23 17 6
Dzeko 0.69 14 14 7
Lukaku 0.67 15 12 2
Van Persie 0.66 23 23 9
Bale 0.65 21 17 10
Walcott 0.55 14 9 7
Michu 0.54 18 16 6
Le Fondre 0.54 9 8 1
Benteke 0.51 16 14 9
Podolski 0.5 11 8 7
Lampard 0.47 10 9 4
Aguero 0.46 10 9 4
Ba 0.43 12 12 4
Fletcher 0.42 11 11 9
Defoe 0.41 11 8 5
Mata 0.4 12 10 8
Rooney 0.4 9 9 4
Berbatov 0.35 11 10 8
Lambert 0.35 12 11 4
Tevez 0.34 9 7 4

As promised, goals from penalties have been removed.

Luis Suarez is the leader in the all important category of Goals Per 90. This category takes a players minutes played and divides it by their goal tally and * by 90.

Suarez is the king, but only just. It really is an impressive number from the Liverpool shot monster.

Dzeko comes in 2nd place and it's an impressive number from a much maligned player although some form of substitute effects may be at play here (as they are for Le Fondre and for the early part of Lukaku's season).

Of the other true full timers RvP and Bale are next. Michu, Walcott and Benteke all post numbers north of 0.50 goals per 90. Tevez brings up the rear.

This table is sortable so have a play around and discover some of the other information.

Close Game State goals is a pretty important stat, for it tells us whose goals were scored at crucial points in the game and which players' goals had a bigger impact on putting his team in a better game position. The downside is it may well penalise sides who are very good (thus spending a lot of minutes at +2 and beyond) or very bad (spending a lot of minutes at -2 and beyond).

van persie is the best of the elite bunch here with 23 goals (he scored 22 of these goals for Arsenal last year). Suarez is second with 17 which means he scored 6 goals outside of Close GS. Bale has 17 also.

Dzeko and Fletcher scored everyone of their respective goals at Close Game State. Both players were scorers of vital goals for their teams. Going well for Dzeko so far!


Sorted by SoT per 90.

Shots p 90 S o T p 90 Scoring % Shot Acc %
Bale 5.08 2.25 28.76 44.24
Suarez 5.7 2.19 31.94 38.5
Lukaku 4.36 2.02 33.33 46.39
Dzeko 4.65 1.98 35 42.55
Ba 4.76 1.88 22.64 39.55
Tevez 3.87 1.8 18.75 46.6
Van Persie 3.98 1.79 37.09 44.92
Aguero 3.89 1.58 29.41 40.47
Walcott 3.43 1.54 35.89 44.82
Defoe 4.03 1.53 26.82 37.96
Rooney 3.71 1.43 28.12 38.55
Benteke 3.22 1.28 40 39.6
Le Fondre 3.09 1.25 42.85 40.38
Lampard 3.55 1.23 38.46 34.66
Lambert 2.62 1.12 30.77 42.85
Fletcher 2.09 1.07 39.28 50.9
Michu 3.3 1.02 52.94 30.9
Berbatov 2.44 0.98 35.48 40.25
Podolski 2.45 0.91 55 37.03
Mata 2.31 0.79 50 34.28

In my opinion the ability to get Shots on target is a mightily important skill for a striker to have. The scoring of goals can be luck dependent (goalkeeper saving the shot, positioning etc) but a long term ability to generate shots on target will see a player score far more often than not.

By formatting shots on target into SoT per 90 numbers we can easily see which players have high shots on target volume. These players, if they can hold the numbers together long term, will overcome any short term issues with scoring% (luck) and be high volume scorers. In short: the ability to get shots on target is probably a far better tell on player talent than scoring%/conversion% which is liable, in most cases, to peaks and dips.

Bale and Suarez are the best in the league at generating SoT per 90. Lukaku and Dzeko score well once again.

Now, if we start to move across the chart we see a player like Tevez:

Shots p 90 S o T p 90 Scoring % Shot Acc %
Tevez 3.87 1.8 18.75 46.6

Tevez has strong numbers in both shots per 90 and SoT per 90 but is crippled by a hideous scoring% this season (historically low). Is Tevez a bad shooter? Well, getting 46.6% of his total shots on target would suggest otherwise. Has he been tremendously unlucky this year? looks that way, but @footballfactman may argue about Tevez's shots positions. Again, I'd refer to Tevez's ability to get shots on net as evidence that either his shots positions may be pretty good or that he is a very good shooter. 18.7% is not, in my opinion, a true reflection of Tevez's 'talent'. Expect a rebound next year.

Bale has similar issues to Tevez. Bale has scored plenty of long distance screamers that may not be sustainable, but his scoring% is below this elite groups average. Bale is recording a ton of shots on target, his shooting accuracy says he is a pretty good shooter (probably an excellent shooter considering the amount of out of the box shots he takes and the difficulty of getting those shots on target) but his scoring% is still pretty low. This may be a function of the distance he is shooting from and the fact the goalkeeper has more reaction time in order to stop the shot. If Bale shoots a little closer to goal next year and has better decision making in terms of his shot selection his scoring% should rise. And that should cover the drop off in the long distance screamers.

Michu, this years PL sensation has some interesting #'s

Shots p 90 S o T p 90 Scoring % Shot Acc %
Michu 3.3 1.02 52.94 30.9

Michu scored 18 goals this year but did so on the back of low (in this company at least) SoT numbers. Michu had an average shooting accuracy % but my oh my did he ride that scoring% in scoring his goals. He reminds me a little of Ba and Cisse for Newcastle last year: average shots numbers crazy scoring% numbers. Just look at Ba's scoring% this year for evidence on how scoring% can fluctuate. Regression may be coming his way next year.

I could talk all day about players of interest, but I'll leave you to play around with the chart. here is the baseline for the top 20 goalscorers in 2012/13

Shots p 90 S o T p 90 Scoring % Shot Acc %
3.63 1.48 35.63 40.77

Pretty easy to see now har far away from the average players like Tevez, Bale, Michu and Suarez are.


KP per 90 Pass Acc %
Mata 3.13 85.20%
Suarez 2.74 76.60%
Bale 2.31 78.50%
Lambert 2.3 67.10%
Tevez 2.29 83.90%
Rooney 2.18 82.90%
Van Persie 1.98 80.20%
Aguero 1.8 82.40%
Benteke 1.69 64.70%
Lukaku 1.61 72.10%
Dzeko 1.58 69.20%
Walcott 1.49 83.10%
Berbatov 1.48 77.80%
Lampard 1.46 81.90%
Podolski 1.46 83.80%
Defoe 1.15 85.10%
Michu 1.02 78.70%
Fletcher 0.79 63.80%
Le Fondre 0.65 72.50%
Ba 0.42 78.30%
League Ave 1.68 77%

Here we are withe passing statistics. final 1/3rd passing numbers would be far better, EPL index has them but the layout prevents me from getting the data easily. Instead we have Key Passes and Passing%

Mata, who is not really a goalscorer per se, leads the league as expected. Only Silva has a better KP number than the Chelsea man.

Suarez and Bale, tow players often accused of selfishness, are in second and third place. Both players have issues with shot selection but by God they are creators of the highest order to go along with their labels as shots monsters. They are two extremely good players in the Premier League.

Tevez and Ricki Lambert are next in line in terms of creation per 90. lambert is a bit of a surprise for me and this chart goes to show he is having a major influence on Southampton's play. Tevez is a creator and a wonderful player, but we already knew this.

Ba, Le Fondre and Fletcher are miles below the league average KP per 90 average.

Make what you will of the passing percentages. A big chunk of a players success or failure in this area may well have something to do with team style and team strength. Mata, Defoe and Tevez excel. Lambert, Benteke and Dzeko are poor.

Final Thoughts

There is some really good information in these charts above. There is added value in changing the format of the popular stats into per 90 numbers and of the removal of penalty goals and shots.

Some of the players in this article surprised me:

Suarez and Bale are shots monsters as well as excellent creators.

Lukaku looks like he is going to be out of this world. remember he was just 19 yo this past season.

Dzeko looks excellent in most categories but lacks the passing game (69% pass accuracy %) to fit into Man City's tactical setup. Alas, Dzeko looks lost playing with Tevez, Aguero and Silva. Some club is going to get a fine counter attacking player in Dzeko.

Michu appears set for a pretty big regression in my opinion. his shots numbers and creation numbers are below average when put against this top 20 crowd. the one thing Michu excelled at was his Scoring% and we know about the unsustainability of that.

RvP was the best scorer of important goals in the league. He is a fine fine player, but Rooney isn't far off the Dutchman in terms of shots, SoT per 90 and is actually ahead of RvP in KP per 90.

Of the Man City players Aguero had the most disappointing season (injury/marriage) per 90 of the three strikers. Tevez was consistently excellent across the board except in Scoring%, and Dzeko was mighty good (a little sub effect bump) in most categories, although stylistically he is a poor fit with Man City.

Anyhow have a play around and dig out some of the quirky stats.