Top 5 finishers in the Premier League at the moment
Another exciting Premier League season is underway. 20 teams with differing aspirations have kicked off what promises to be a memorable season full of twists, drama and goals. While solid defences will help teams move closer to their goal, putting the ball in the back of the net is just as important to actually achieve the desired position in the league table.
Now, there are various breeds of strikers ranging from poachers to wide forwards to target men. However, every striker needs to have one attribute in common - goalscoring. As simple as it sounds, scoring goals is easily one of the toughest jobs in the game and this separates the best from the rest.
The evolution of the game has seen wide forwards like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and recently Mohamed Salah score in bucketloads. Nevertheless, it is imperative for teams to have an elite finisher to give themselves a fighting chance of winning trophies.
Gone are the days of the last decade when strikers used to be such good poachers that a half-chance was enough to seal the deal between title rivals. The likes of Ruud van Nistelrooy, Didier Drogba, Robin van Persie were top finishers in their peak and the current crop do not possess the same sharpness in front of goal.
Selection Criteria - In order to decide the best 5, the data used will be from the 2017/18 Premier League season. The 3 main factors which will be considered are outperforming expected goals (xG), conversion rates to decide the clinical nature and number of big chances converted/missed.
Any player who has scored less than expected goals (xG), as well as less than 10 PL goals, will not be considered. Thus, Manchester City's Raheem Sterling barely misses out. Further, players who score largely from outside the box will not be considered as well, which eliminates the likes of Riyad Mahrez. Finally, we consider a minimum of 50 shots to be taken by the forward, which removes Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from contention.
Taking the above points into consideration, here are the top 5 finishers in the Premier League at the moment.
#5 Roberto Firmino
It has been a remarkable rise for Firmino over the past few years in England. Arriving as a hybrid attacker from German club Hoffenheim in 2015, the Brazilian initially looked like another failed signing for Liverpool as then-manager Brendan Rodgers seemed unsure of whether to play him as a no.9 or a no.10. A few months later, Jurgen Klopp took over the reins at Anfield.
Three years later, the 27-year old has morphed into one of the complete centre-forwards in the game. One of the first names on the teamsheet, Firmino is the epitome of everything Klopp wants from his team. Always hungry for the ball, never shirking away from defensive duties and quality in the attacking third are the hallmarks of his game.
The Liverpool no.9 also has a strong finishing capability which truly came to the fore last season. He scored 15 goals in the Premier League last season as he played the perfect foil to his more popular team-mate. His conversion rate of 18% is as good as most strikers in the league while he managed to score 59% of his big chances, a healthy number.
While he is yet to get going this season, if last season is any indication, it is only a matter of time.