Who is the Most Consistent Striker in the EPL?

7 Jan

Aim

This blog has been inspired by the recent set of articles by the excellent Danny Pugsley, Omar Chaudhuri and Mark Taylor who have been looking at measuring player efficiency and teams reverting back to the mean.  As a result of these postings it got me thinking to look at  which strikers have been the most consistent and efficient over the past 3 seasons.

Methodology

Using data from Who Scored I collated the top 20 goal scorers in the EPL over the past 3 complete seasons (2009/10-2011/12).  From this data I calculated the number of total shots taken (TS) by each player (SpG x Games Started), which allowed me to calculate the % scoring success (SS%) of each player in their respective season to determine the players striking efficiency.

Results

Top Scorer

Out of the three seasons 11 players appeared in the top 20 goal scoring chart at least two times with only Rooney and Lampard appearing in all three seasons.  In total the 20 goal barrier was broken 11 times across all three seasons with Rooney being the only player to score over 20 twice with an excellent 26 goals in 2009/10 and 27 in 2011/12 both times finishing second in the golden boot race.  Only once has the 30 goal barrier been reach which was by Van Persie who scored 30 goals last season for Arsenal.

Table 1: Table to show top scorers in the EPL between 2009/10-2011/12 seasons.

The Most Clinical Striker

Before going into this it should be noted that scores for SS% have been based on the number SpG x Starting Appearances and has not included substitute appearances.  This will obviously have an effect on the outcome however it is my intention to revisit this in future posts.

Looking at the top 20 over the three seasons there is a very different luck to the table and supports the notion of players having an exceptional good season before reverting back to the mean expected performance.  In terms of repeat appearances in the list only Hernandez more than once coming first and third with SS% of 43.33 in 2010/11 and 32.68 in 2011/12 showing high levels of consistency. A few surprising entries to the more established players you may expect to see in the chart are Solomon Kalou and Florent Malouda. Kalou, who has the 5th highest SS% for his 2010/11 season, scored 13 goals at a SS% of 29.76, while Malouda who comes 14th with a SS% of 24.29 when he scored 12 goals.

Table 2: Table to show the top 20 players with the highest SS% across 2009/11-2001/12 seasons

Table 2: Table to show the top 20 players with the highest SS% across 2009/11-2001/12 seasons

Surprisingly none of the top scorers from the 3 seasons entered the top 20 most efficient strikers with only Berbatov and Van Persie entering the top 20 who finished in the top three for their respective season. In Van Persie’s most successful season with 30 goals he had a SS% of 17.63 with Drogba’s season best of 29 getting a SS% of 16.71 and  Rooney getting a SS% of 18.34% for his top scoring seasons.  This would suggest that to be top scorer you a team needs to create between 5 – 6 shots per game for a teams top striker to score.

Conclusion

The above initial analysis highlights how difficult it is for a striker consistently finish near the top of goal scoring charts with only 11 players managing to come in the top 20 for at least 2 seasons and only 2, Rooney and Lampard, finishing in the top 20 goal scorers in each of the three seasons. Whilst I have not looked at midfielders it is clear to see that Frank Lampard is the most consistent goals scorer followed by Clint Dempsey. However when looking at strikers whilst Rooney can be considered the  most consistent goal scorer Hernandez, while less prolific, has the highest combined SS%.  This consistency has been further proven with this seasons goal scoring exploits which has seen him with an SS% of 69.56 and 8 goals.

When taking into account the relationship between goals scored and league position Manchester United should rightly be top of the league and the favorites win this season with them containing both the most consistent striker of the past three seasons and the most clinical.  Add into the mix Van Persie who is again topping the goal scoring charts with 16 goalswith his highest SS% of 25.40 it is hard to look past them for the league title.

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