Aside from a pretty dismal Manchester derby – in which none of the four forwards used over the course of 90 minutes managed a single shot on target – it was a weekend for strikers in the Premier League.
In each of the other nine games in England’s top flight there was a goal from a forward. Andy Carroll, Jordan Ayew and Troy Deeney opened their league accounts for the season, while Harry Kane was also in a grateful mood, accepting gifts exactly two months before Christmas Day from Artur Boruc. Some feel the festive spirit earlier than others.
The England international had netted in just one of his nine league appearances previous to his hat-trick on Sunday, with the likes of Olivier Giroud, Christian Benteke and Steven Fletcher all also on the scoresheet having had frustrating starts to their domestic seasons.
One player, however, that has suffered no such frustrations in the current campaign is Jamie Vardy, who became only the eighth player to score in seven successive Premier League matches with a delightful winner against Palace. It was the finish of a man whose confidence continues to grow with every passing game.
With 10 goals to his name in total, only Robert Lewandowski and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (both 13) have scored more in Europe’s top five leagues so far, setting the Vardy to Real Madrid bandwagon in motion. Of all players to feature more than five times in the league this season, the England international is second only in the WhoScored.com ratings to teammate Riyad Mahrez in the Premier League, with a score of 7.87 enough to rank among the top 10 players in Europe’s top five leagues, five places ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Here at WhoScored, we have taken a look at the conversion rates of Premier League strikers this season to see just how far Vardy has set himself apart thus far.
With his 10 goals coming from 41 shots, the Leicester forward currently boasts a strong conversion rate of 24.4%. That is more than twice his figure from last season (10.4%) having already doubled a modest goal tally from the 2014/15 campaign. Such stats are not only indicative of the fact that Vardy took time to settle in England’s top tier, but also that this is a run that will surely be impossible for the 28-year old to sustain.
For the time being, of all strikers to have scored more than three goals this season, only the injured Callum Wilson has a better conversion rate of 41.7% – the best of all players in Europe to have scored five or more goals this season. You have to look back to Sergio Aguero to find Vardy’s closest rival elsewhere from the same pool of players, whose figure of 18.2% is not only some way back on the Foxes front man, but lagged behind at just 4% prior to the five goals he struck in his last appearance for City against Newcastle.
It’s a similar case for Harry Kane, though his conversion rate is further back still from the Argentine. A figure of just 10.8% was at a lowly 3.1% ahead of his gift-wrapped hat-trick at Bournemouth, with both he and Aguero netting in just two league appearances apiece this season.
While Odion Ighalo, Romelu Lukaku and Olivier Giroud all have a respectable and identical conversion rate (17.2%) having scored five goals from 29 shots this season, it’s clear that Vardy is in a league of his own at present. That he remains the third favourite with most bookmakers to end the campaign as the Premier League’s top scorer highlights the opinion of many that the Leicester striker’s current form will soon come to an end.
At the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of conversion rates of strikers, Deeney props up the pile of those to have scored this season having netted the first Premier League goal of his career against Stoke from his 25th shot at goal. Cameron Jerome is another player that has proven his worth in the Championship but is still struggling to convince everyone about his top-flight credentials, scoring just once from 17 shots.
Theo Walcott’s appearance just ahead of the two promoted strikers may come as a shock, with a conversion rate of just 7.7% in the league this season almost 10% worse than that of his rival to the forward throne at the Emirates, Giroud. Only five players – including the Frenchman – have had a shot more often (every 19.3 minutes) than Walcott, so a return of just two league goals is disappointing despite what most would consider a positive contribution so far.
The only other strikers to have scored this season and managed a conversion rate below 10% are summer arrivals Shinji Okazaki and Salomon Rondon. While the former seems happy to be to foil to his in-form strike partner right now, the latter was also on the scoresheet this weekend, with many players hoping that gameweek 10 proves to be a turning point in their respective campaigns.
Jamie Vardy is certainly not one of those, as he simply aims to keep up a remarkable scoring streak against West Brom to become only the third player ever to score in eight back-to-back Premier League games.
All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings. You can follow all the scores, statistics, live player and team ratings with the new free-to-download WhoScored iOS app.