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.

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The Homegrown Rule and how it has affected the development of Young players in England

new-premier-league-logo-2016-17-7The Homegrown rule. It’s something that often does the rounds in football chat and forums across the land. When people talk about how “England are never a force at international level” or “Young players just aren’t given a chance these days”, invariably the Homegrown rule is often called into question. And with seemingly good reason, especially in the Premier League.

Whilst it’s fantastic for all clubs concerned that the Premier League is such a huge financial cash cow, with clubs pocketing in excess of £130m per year just for competing in the Premier League, not to mention all the admittedly top-tier talent brought over from foreign shores, the question always comes back to whether England is doing enough to develop its own World Class talent. Whilst recently the England youth sides have had an incredible amount of success, such as winning the Under 20 World Cup, in times gone by the England teams suffered some damaging losses and have had to fight to get back their reputation of a good footballing nation.

Whilst some of this can be attributed to clubs not giving enough game time to younger players when they can buy a ready-made foreign replacement, in this writer’s opinion it can be mostly attributed to past failings by the Football Association, such as failing to provide adequate funding for grass-roots level football, and ultimately, the incredibly vague nature of the Premier League’s Homegrown Rule, which states:

Each Premier League team can only register 25 players over the age of 21 for that season’s first-team matches. Of those 25 players, no more than 17 can be non-Home Grown Players. In other words, if you want the full complement of 25 over-21 players, you must have at least 8 Home Grown Players. Note that this rule ONLY applies to Premier League matches, not fixtures in other competitions.”

A bit vague right? When you delve a little deeper into it, the rules state that:

A Home Grown Player, as defined by the Premier League, is a player who: (a) is 21 or older on January 1 of the year in which that season begins; and (b) spent three years between the ages of 16 and 21 with a team in the English football League system.”

So not only does the Homegrown Rule sound very vague in its initial description, but it actually does nothing to promote the growth and development of young British players. This in turn leads to sub standard international performances and intense media scrutiny for the “underperforming” players. The other issue with this rule is that there is no obligation to even PLAY your Homegrown players! As long as they form part of your 25 man squad, that’s all that matters. It’s no wonder then that so much pressure is put on any emerging young talent in England, as the perception will be that they must be a top quality talent, and sadly this pressure is often what causes players to not fulfil that potential.

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Michael Johnson was a hot prospect for Manchester City but ultimately gave up on football and now owns his own estate agents business. Credit to Telegraph.co.uk

One example of this is former Manchester City midfielder Michael Johnson. Hailed as something of a prodigy when he broke through to the City first team in 2006, he seemingly had the world at his feet. But just a few years later, and after several incidents, Manchester City paid up the remaining time on his £25k a week contract and Johnson retired from football, having stated that he had spent time in the Priory Clinic for mental health issues and now wanted to be left alone to live the rest of his life.

Whilst it was never specifically noted that the pressures of life as a rising star in the Premier League were to blame for his issues, it was almost certainly a factor. Had the pressures of his rising stock not been so great, perhaps he would still be playing now, but sadly this is not the case. And for me personally, there can be no doubt that the relaxed and vague nature of the Homegrown rule contributed to this. If there was a clearer route to regular first team football, as well as with the right support from health professionals, then more young players would get the opportunity to shine.

Whilst the Homegrown rule does apply to all of Europe’s major leagues, clubs in countries like Spain, Germany and Italy all spend a lot of time and money developing and cultivating their young talent, as well as providing them with all the necessary support that they require in order to prepare them for the pressures that come along with playing top flight football. Due to the intense nature of the Premier League, from the outside looking in, this doesn’t always seem to be the case.

Allsvenskan.jpgOver in Scandinavia, the Swedish Allsvenskan league has possibly the best Homegrown rule. Each matchday squad in the league must have at least nine Swedish players, which means that at worst five players in each team will get game time if all three substitutes are used. This has led to Swedish players earning big moves to other teams and means that they can potentially develop into World Class players. Zlatan Ibrahimovic spent 3 years at Malmo before earning a move to Ajax, current Sweden Captain Andreas Granqvist plays for Helsingborgs, whilst players like Pontus Jansson, Victor Lindelof and Kristoffer Nordfeldt all ply their trade in the UK for Leeds, Manchester United and Swansea respectively. All of them started their careers in the Swedish Leagues, though Lindelof started lower down in Division 1 Norra, but still earned a big move to Benfica regardless.

This is the sort of system that would yield more effective results, but for whatever reason, it just doesn’t happen here in England. German teams must name at least twelve German players in their squad of twenty-five, which is effectively half, and its easy to see the results this has had on their international successes, prior to this year at least. Whilst in Spain and Italy as previously mentioned, there appears to be more game time given to young players to aid their development.

At the 2017 Under 21 European Championships, Germany, Spain and Italy’s Under 21 teams all played more top-flight minutes for their clubs than England players did as the images below will show.

If the Premier League were to introduce a rule similar to the Swedish Allsvenskan, then young players could potentially gain more top-flight game time and thus develop at a much quicker pace than they currently do. The much discussed “6+5 rule” is another option, but this was abandoned in 2010.

Ultimately, there won’t be any changes to the rule anytime soon or possibly even ever. But it is the opinion of this writer that for the England team to prosper and become a successful and feared footballing nation again, our young players need to be given the opportunity to get more game time. Whether that is with a rule change in the Premier League, or from moving abroad, both the FA and the Premier League must act to safeguard the future of English footballers.

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Check out some of our other fantastic articles:

Bradley Wright-Phillips – Reborn in New York

Marseille’s Duje Ćaleta-Car: The Tall Equivalent to Javier Mascherano?

Interview with former St Mirren and current Ross County player, Stelios Demetriou

Who does each Premier League team need to sign for the 2018/19 season? Part 1

Top Las Vegas Private Transfers

Transfers and Arrivals. Image- https://www.viator.com/Las-Vegas-tours/Private-Transfers/d684-g15-c5526

Whilst we are currently going into complete meltdown with a heatwave and the fact football’s coming home, what better way to celebrate than a detailed analysis of each Premier League team and who they need for the coming season? (Beware controversial signings ahead..)

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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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No, Kroenke Isn’t Stealing From Arsenal, He’s Just Mismanaging Them

 

Enos Stan Kroenke is the largest shareholder of Arsenal, and partially to blame for them falling out of the top 4 in the Premier League. Arsene Wenger, the 22-year manager of Arsenal turned scapegoat has left the club, with a new manager on the way: former Sevilla and PSG boss Unai Emery. Emery will be the new “scapegoat,” unless he can turn around Arsenal’s recent misfortunes. The best way to turn around misfortunes is with fortune, as in, transfer money.

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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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