Who should have led Premier League top scorers list?

Date published: Tuesday 25th May 2021 8:37 - Sarah Winterburn

Liverpool F365

Son Heung-Min scored his 17 goals from just 11.02 xG. Which is pure sorcery. He should have been nowhere near the top of the Premier League top scorers chart. But who should have been?

 

10) Neal Maupay (Brighton)
Actual goals: 8
xG: 13.77

According to understat, Brighton could have finished the season in fifth if they were better at a) preventing goals and b) scoring goals. So just a couple of minor things to sort out before the Seagulls can challenge at the right end of the table. Maupay perfectly illustrates this issue. For comparison, Danny Ings has scored 12 Premier League goals from an xG of 8.28.

 

9) Michail Antonio (West Ham)
Actual goals: 10
xG: 14.14

This perfectly illustrates why most teams are well-advised to have an actual striker, and also that West Ham have done phenomenally well to finish in the top six without an actual striker. Tomas Soucek and Jesse Lingard have both outscored their xG and that has helped.

 

8) Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
Actual goals: 11
xG: 14.83

After two seasons in which Mane has outscored his xG (he was the best Premier League player of 2019) he lagged behind in this stuttering campaign, though two goals on the final day edged him into double figures for league goals for the ninth successive season. Not bad.

 

7) Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)
Actual goals: 18
xG: 16.02

Yes, there is the penalty caveat but the truth is that Fernandes is one of the best players in the Premier League right now and certainly one of the better finishers. The prowess of Fernandes, Edinson Cavani and Marcus Rashford (particularly in the early part of the season) in front of goal has been the difference between a safe second and a top-four battle this season.

 

6) Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa)
Actual goals: 14
xG: 16.28

Watkins has played a ridiculous amount of football this season – he missed only the 0-0 with Everton earlier this month – and he will be rightly happy with his 14-goal haul. Yes, it could have been more, but it was enough to earn him an England call-up, which in turn brought an England goal.

 

5) Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton)
Goals: 16
xG: 18.21

It’s all very much of a muchness among the English Strikers Who Are Not Harry Kane. The good news for Calvert-Lewin is that he is improving; he scored more goals and finished this season much closer to his xG. The bad news is that no goals in his last four games was a contributing factor to a limp, ultimately unsatisfying finish.

 

4) Patrick Bamford (Leeds United)
Goals: 17
xG: 18.4

He has missed more Opta-defined Big Chances (21) than any other Premier League player this season, but only a fool would quibble with a haul of 17 goals in his first full top-flight season. Props also due to Stuart Dallas for claiming eight goals from an xG of just 4.46.

 

3) Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)
Goals: 15
xG: 19.94

A rotten goalscoring season by his incredibly high standards, with eight penalties masking a pretty poor return. Brendan Rodgers knows he now needs a new first-choice striker; Kelechi Iheanacho, Harvey Barnes, James Maddison and Youri Tielemans are unlikely to collectively thumb their noses at their own xG again.

 

2) Mo Salah (Liverpool)
Goals: 22
xG: 20.25

The quality of his chances have diminished slightly over the last four seasons but Salah still managed to come within a goal of the Golden Boot. He is simply an elite goalscorer, despite the attempts of some to denigrate his achievements.

 

1) Harry Kane (Tottenham)
Goals: 23
xG: 22.17

He’s not the Harry Kane of 2016/17 who scored 29 goals from an xG of 19.82 but it is a Harry Kane who will convert many more chances than he will miss. Now, will somebody pay £15om?

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