Stat Analysis | Who is the Best Goalscorer in the Premier League

With the race for the golden boot tighter than ever, I decided to crunch some numbers to see who is the best goalscorer in the Premier League. In this post I’ll outline the stats I used, who is best in each category of my analysis and then try to predict what the final goals tally will look like. I took the 13 top scoring players in the PL this season as the sample. First let’s look at a number of stats comparing players performance this season to last.

Salah

 

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Love for El Loco?

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Where it began

On June 15th, Leeds United appointed Marcelo Bielsa as Head Coach after Paul Heckingbottom was sacked because he was awful, simply awful. The move was a highly rumoured one with media from all over the world reporting it but no one actually expected ‘El Loco’ to actually take the role as Head Coach. Saying that though, I’m sure the rumoured £67K a week helps, right?

Bielsa is widely regarded as a footballing genius & has been given an almost god like status in certain places, but can it happen for Leeds? Well, the early signs are showing it can. I’ll explain a little more below.

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The Three Free Agents To Keep An Eye Out For

 

sport-preview-max-meyer-to-arsenal.jpgThe summer always brings fresh new players to the free agency and thus starting the never-ending social media and paper talk. Despite already seeing some interesting names already hit free agency and move on to new clubs there are still hundreds of players yet to find a club, many  will attract interest from lots of sides not only around Europe but also across the world. I’ve picked my three favourite players who can be snapped up instantly to discuss their possible destinations.

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The winter break is needed – the details & more

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A new winter break will come into play in the 19/20 season – but will take place in February.

The Premier League and The FA officially announced on the 8th June that from the 19-20 season that the Premier League would have a two winter break starting in February 2020.

The winter break will only apply to the Premier League, and the league won’t completely shut down like other European leagues

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Why England won’t win a major competition in our lifetimes.

The England Football team, that strange place where we seem to have generation after generation of incredible talent with no real final product. We’ve produced some of the best players in the world yet when it comes to an international competition, we lack that edge going forward. In this piece I’ve looked at some points that could explain our shortcomings on the global stage.

1. Youth Development

When I play Football Manager I will happily spend hours upon hours searching the depths of the world’s football to find the best youth players and bring them in at an early age, allowing them to become used to the new country and the style of football that you are trying to implement.

National football should be very similar in my opinion, in the sense that players with potential should be brought through more of the youth stages and then given international football, rather than just chucked in the deep end. We’re all too used to players arriving in the premier league and struggling for the first season because they’re adapting to the new environment, so why should international football be any different?

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England U21’s Final team in their defeat to Germany in 2009. I’m sure you will recognise a few faces! Source: Talk Sport

A comparison I will provide regularly in this piece will be that of Germany. Now despite recent success, the Germans were actually really struggling with international football just before 2000, and they set up a new system since and it’s worked a charm. They have focused much more on developing home-grown talent, improved youth facilities across the nation and have significantly more qualified coaches than England. In 2009, the U21 European Championship saw England and Germany in the same group, in the group stages they drew 1-1 with goals from Gonzalo Castro and Jack Rodwell. However they met in the final and Germany ran away 4-0 winners. Now despite the results lets look at how the Germans and the English lined up in the final:

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And how the Germans lined up in comparison, again some familiar faces! Soure: Bundesliga Fanatic

Germany England
Manuel Neuer (GK) Scott Loach (GK)
Andreas Beck Martin Cranie
Sebastian Boenisch Lee Cattermole
Benedikt Höwedes Nedum Onuoha
Jérôme Boateng James Milner
Sami Khedira (C) Mark Noble (C)
Mesut Özil Adam Johnson
Sandro Wagner Fabrice Muamba
Fabian Johnson Theo Walcott
Mats Hummels Micah Richards
Gonzalo Castro Kieran Gibbs

So you’ll probably recognise names on both sides, however how many of the English side went on to play for England? Let alone play well? Compared with a German side with the likes of Manuel Neuer and Mesut Özil, its hardly a fair comparison! If this team were to play today I’m assuming the scoreline would be even worse!

So step 1 for the FA: Sort out English youth football. If a players getting youth football, you should be expecting him to be playing full international football in the future, if they’re not good enough to be playing then you need better scouts or better coaches.

2. Domestic player bias

When doing these sort of articles, I like to be able to back up my claims with evidence, or some statistic that seems to match my trends. As a Mathematics student I think its important to provide a proof or pseudo-proof to your claims.

In this case, I noticed that a lot of foreign players tend to travel to the premier league, but English players don’t tend to move in the same direction as much. You could easily write in this article each English player in a different major European leagues. However hundreds of other players seem to come here. In fact on 12th January 2017 we had 69.2% of our players from other countries which is over 10% more than any other nation in Europe. Our reliance on foreign talent at our clubs means the English talent is pushed aside. Even Pep Guardiola compared Spanish nationals coming to England and suggested that the English team could benefit from playing in other nations. Teams and leagues have different styles of play, with different coaches and different ethos regarding the game so collecting lots of different ideas might change the national side completely. We’ve had varying success when players seem to move abroad. Gareth Bale, although not English but British, famously moved to Real Madrid however no major English players are currently playing overseas. At the 2018 World Cup, many teams have announced their squads and of the teams higher than England in the FIFA World Rankings I’ve compared how many of the national teams are playing club football abroad:

Nation (FIFA Ranking)

% of squad playing club football in home nation

England (13th)

100%

Denmark (12th)

19%

Peru (11th)

17%

Poland (10th)

25%

Chile (9th)

Did not qualify

Spain (8th)

70%

France (7th)

39%

Switzerland (6th)

3%

Argentina (5th)

13%

Portugal (4th)

26%

Belgium (3rd)

7%

Brazil (2nd)

13%

Germany (1st)

67%

As you can see we are the only nation with all our players coming from home soil. Every other team has players playing all over the world. Is this something we should seek to improve upon? Obviously the appeal of the Premier League is enormous, with money enticing the very best players. However if you can’t get game time in England then maybe younger players should go abroad to seek new challenges in a foreign country.

So here are just two of my suggestions on how I think the England team could improve, but I’m sure every fan has their own opinions on who to select and how the team could win major competitions. I guess that’s why Gareth Southgate has the hardest job in football!

Supporting your local team – The best option

Ah the good old ‘support your local team’ saying is sometimes drummed into us by our parents, or we just happen to stumble across our local team and fall in love. However, we all have our reasons for supporting our team.

My story? Well, I’m a Swindon Town fan which I’m fully aware isn’t anything amazing! However, in my time I have created memories with my family, and have truly seen some wonderful times. I remember beating Stoke away in the cup 4-3- James Collins goal in the last minute of extra-time to win it,  having Paolo Di Canio manage my club and never fail to amuse Town fans, playing out a thrilling 5-5 draw in the play-off semi-finals against Sheffield United and seeing Preston North End humiliate us 4-0 at Wembley. Point is, you don’t get these experiences watching a team miles away on TV.

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Success with a Cherry on top – AFC Bournemouth’s rise to the top – Part One

Every fan remembers their first game, it’s the one that sets you on your path to following your chosen team. Whether you support your local club or are influenced by a family member, you become invested in them, and follow their every exploit almost religiously. For me, my first game was 2nd May 1995, when AFC Bournemouth took on Shrewsbury Town in the final game of the season. With Bournemouth having had a fairly terrible season, an upturn in form saw them just one win away from securing their Division 2 status going into the final game.

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Auditing the Beautiful Game

Soccer is known as the beautiful game, but beyond the field it can get quite ugly. Soccer is rife with horrors: corruption, drugs, gangs, Nazism/racism, hooliganism, doping, match-fixing, and even money laundering. Soccer is a worldwide sport, spanning every single country and territory. Accounting and auditing for public multinational corporations is routine, but tough to navigate. Now imagine thousands of entities: a few public but most private, some large, many small, spanning every single country, including ones with no respect for international law and standards such as Iran and North Korea. Now imagine how accounting must vastly be different in this industry, and that is before we discuss how transactions being recorded in bizarre ways is the norm for soccer.

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Sky high costs: How Sky’s dominance of football increases ticket prices.

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A few of you may remember my article from back in February, regarding ticket prices. If you’ve not read it, Here’s  a link to the article. Now this article is a sort of follow-up to that and it’s about Sky screwing over loyal fans out of going to matches.

So many fans this season have had plans ruined because of Sky changing the match days at the last minute, such examples include Everton vs Newcastle and Sunderland vs Fulham, another example was Manchester United vs Brighton this season, it was changed to a 7:45 kick off which meant hundreds of Brighton fans couldn’t go!

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Milan’s Summer Spending – What it means for Serie A.

Milan were taken over by Chinese investors in April which made a lot of football fans ask questions about whether these investors would invest heavily into the club, to make them one of Europe’s powerhouses once again.Well this summer has proven that Milan’s owners had exactly this in mind. With the early captures of: Mateo Mussachio (£15m), Franck Kessie (Loan, £6.8m) and 2014 World Cup star Ricardo Rodriguez (£15m.) Many Milan fans were very hopeful that they were investing more players to replace the dead weight and older players such as Ignacio Abate and Ricardo Montilivo.
However, I don’t think even they were expecting the transfers that were about to be made by the Rossoneri.

Firstly Milan had reached an agreement for long term target, Hakan Calhanoglu. The free kick specialist signed for £19m from Bayer Leverkusen after not having played for 4 months after being banned for breachng FIFA transfer regulations over his move to Hamburger SV.
Signings
Milan’s early signings (left to right: Franck Kessie, Hakan Calhanoglu, Ricardo Rodriguez & Mateo Mussachio)

Then, Gianluigi Donnarumma, a breakout star of the 16/17 season was supposedly declining a new contract after his agent, Mino Railoa, was creating problems for Milan and the money that was being demanded. This was sorted out relatively quickly after donnarumma had returned from the U21 European Championships. Alongside this deal Milan signed Gianluigi’s older brother, Antonio, from Greek side Asteras for £1m.

Donna
Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma signed a new contract after a wage dispute.

Following this heavy rumours started circuling that Milan had reached an agreement with Juventus and Italy center back Leonardo Bonucci. Milan fans on social media couldn’t and some even wouldn’t believe it. One of the best center backs in the world was on the verge of signing. Bonucci returned to training with Juventus however the next day he had’t reported in for training and videos quickly surfaced of him arriving at Milan’s training ground. In the end the deal went through for a reported £40m which in the current market is a bargain.
Bonucci
Leonardo Bonucci joining from Juventus after winng 6 Scudetti in a row.

Finally the day of this article, Milan have secured the signing of Lucas Biglia from Lazio who was a key part in Lazio’s cup run this season. But the bigger news is that they have supposedly agreed personal terms with highly rated young talent Andrea Belotti of Torino. Milan originally had a bid of £45m + Niang & Paletta rejected however, a new bid of £60m + Niang & Paletta was supposedly put forward with no news of Torino either rejecting or accepting. The signing of Andrea Belotti could prove key in Milan’s hopeful return to the Champions League with goals being something that has lacked for them for a very long time.
Belotti
Andre Belotti scored 28 goals in all competitions last season and finished third best scorer in Serie A with 26.

What does all this spending mean for Milan’s rivals? To start lets look at Juventus, now looking to win a 7th league title in a row, they must surely be concerened about the amount of money Milan have spent especially compared to themselves who have only secured the signings of Douglas Costa and Rodrigo Bantancur this window.
As for the teams behind Juve like Napoli, Roma, Inter and Atalanta; these clubs now know that Milan are targeting a return to the champions league which means this season they’re really going to have to battle hard to keep up the standard that Milan’s new faces should be bringing in, especially as these clubs usually source players from various smaller leagues throughout Europe and Italy and also gamble on outcasts from other clubs.

Overall I think this Serie A season will be the most competitive season for some time but the real question is…Will Milan’s summer spending be enough to stop Juventus?