This sounds weird, but goals are taken for granted a bit in football these days.
In an age where football is so constant and endless, the pressure for players to score goals is unrelenting. It’s actually the hardest thing to do on the pitch – besides mastering the sock to sock tape ratio, of course.
There are currently just 29 players who have managed to bag 100 goals or more in the Premier League, making for a rather elite group. 90min has ranked that group to find the order of excellence.
Bent had an early taste of Premier League football with Ipswich and continued bagging after their relegation, which inevitably earned him a move back to the top flight.
The Englishman developed into a proven Premier League goalscorer and impressed for Spurs and Sunderland. A £24m move to Aston Villa in 2011 started strong, but fizzled out as injuries caught up.
They don’t come like Crouch anymore. Quite literally. He is massive.
Crouch went around the houses in the Premier League, bagging for Liverpool and Tottenham, but also the likes of Portsmouth and Stoke. He was simply different; nobody knew how to deal with him, and he used his traits to his advantage. A unique asset.
There was a point in the mid-to-late 2000s when Defoe was possessed. The guy was unstoppable.
Defoe again played everywhere in the English top flight, but was never really given a chance to score at a top side despite has knack for a goal. Clinical and lethal from the bench, he’s a Premier League cult hero.
A Turkish Cup and 13 Premier League goals is the only real difference that splits Defoe from Ferdinand.
Both were fine poachers in their peak, although Ferdinand was playing at a higher level when balling out for title chasing Newcastle in the 1990s.
A man of a thousand occupations, football positions and quirks, it won’t be long before Dublin is rivalling Chris Jericho over his one thousand holds.
Before the times of showing people around terraced properties, Dublin was busy rising through the English football divisions and converting himself into a Premier League striker. Dublin was a fine goal getter.
Ireland’s record scorer, Keane was an assassin inside the penalty box.
Always positioned for a goal and physically relentless, his finest hour in the Premier League was his spell with Tottenham over two stints. Keane earned a move to Liverpool in 2008, but failed to settle at the increased level.
Don’t let low placement in this list fool you; Heskey is seriously underappreciated.
While his later years saw him fizzle out and become the brunt of online memes, Heskey was electric with Leicester and Liverpool. A shrewd scorer with an IQ to create, the England international knitted attacks together tremendously.
One half of arguably the Premier League’s most lethal strike force, Yorke found his groove at Manchester United.
While a purple patch of momentum with the Red Devils isn’t a summary of his career, it was certainly his best stuff. In 1998/99, Yorke ripped the Premier League apart and picked up the Golden Boot and Player of the Year Awards as United won the league.
The first ever Premier League top scorer, Sheringham was at veteran status when he signed for Manchester United in 1997.
The forward had already built up a prolific career with Tottenham and had been identified as an ideal replacement to Eric Cantona. He had to settle for a reduced role, but he did play a part in United’s success as he collected major honours to cement his legacy.
Another one where statistics don’t tell the story, Le Tissier was unapologetically brilliant and rather ahead of his time.
Le Tissier played his game with unrelenting flair, scoring incredible goals and making football fun for Southampton fans. Plenty of individual honours, but club silverware escaped him.
Not only is he one of football’s best pundits, Wright was also a true Premier League great.
He ripped up the early Premier League years in a fine Arsenal side, winning a Premier League and two FA Cups before winding down. A 0.53 goals per game ratio is a serious feat.
Injuries ravaged a fine career for Fowler and muted the effects of his power and speed, but that never truly slowed down his creativity and knack for a goal.
Fowler was electric for Liverpool in the 1990s and blossomed into one of the Premier League’s best after winning the Young Player of the Year award back-to-back in 1995 and 1996.
The fact Lukaku is already in a list like this, despite leaving the Premier League before even reaching his prime, is frightening.
One of plenty of talented Chelsea youth stars, Lukaku moved to England from Anderlecht and balled out in the Premier League on loan, before finding his feet with Everton and Manchester United. Plenty of criticism was thrown his way, but the way he reads the game and snatches goals cannot be ignored.
After impressing in his native Holland and then Portugal, George Graham brought Hasselbaink to Leeds in 1997, where he scored on his debut.
Quick off the line, comfortable on both feet and possessing a wicked strike, the Dutchman quickly settled in and would enjoy a fine four year spell with Chelsea. Himself and Eidur Gudjohnsen formed a partnership that would make today’s Premier League defences look a bit silly.
Manchester United were convinced enough by Cole’s scoring knack at Newcastle to part ways with £7m in 1995 – a then British record fee.
Cole bagged 12 goals from 18 league games in his first half a season with the Red Devils. This was merely a warm-up, though, as he refined even further and secured Premier League great status, sweeping up titles and scoring for fun alongside Yorke.
Anelka has played at just about every top club you can think of. Was he always a superstar? Not quite. But he was always super reliable, good for a goal and ridiculously silky.
Ignore his rather strange spell with West Brom in the mid-2010s and Anelka’s Premier League CV is glistening. Starting with Arsenal in 1997, it took him a while to settle, but he found his groove with Manchester City, Bolton and notably Chelsea, where it all came good for the Frenchman.
Vardy didn’t kick a football at Premier League level until he was 27 years old.
118 goals later and counting, he’s become known as one of the league’s greatest ever strikers. Tenacious, well positioned and venomous with his shots, Vardy’s rise has been nothing short of remarkable. His firing rate is obscene.
Kane and his 166 goals and counting is incredibly difficult to place.
There is no room to deny his talent anymore. Not only is Kane a certified poacher, he possesses range and has now developed an IQ that allows him to play deeper and create. Time will tell if he can pick up the trophies to reach elite levels.
The fact the Premier League had continuous debate over the likes of Gerrard and Scholes was a blessing.
Yet another tenacious English midfielder, Scholes coupled unrelenting tenacity with a hidden flair and grace. Swept up silverware and also scored ridiculous volleys. Legend.
The fact Gerrard is in the Premier League 100 club is freakish in itself.
For a midfielder to score 100 goals in one of football’s strongest divisions, you’ve got to be pretty damn good. Gerrard was. A Premier League title sorely evaded his career, but you cannot let that dampen his remarkable abilities. Balled out for years.
Owen’s 150 goals from 326 Premier League games isn’t talked about enough.
The only Ballon d’Or winner in the list, it feels incredibly harsh for Owen to be ninth, but injuries cruelly ravaged the second half of his career after such a mammoth start to life with Liverpool.
If Van Persie had won just a little more with Arsenal, it’s frightening to think about what level he might be held at.
The leading scorer for his country, the Dutchman lit up the Premier League in the 2000s and early 2010s. Injuries always nagged him, but couldn’t halt his menacing two feet, obscene volleying and range from any angle. Carrying United to the 2012/13 Premier League truly cemented his legacy.
Drafted in by Jose Mourinho for £24m in 2004, Drogba wasn’t in the Premier League to be liked. He was perfect for Mourinho’s Chelsea.
The man for the big occasion, nobody thrived under pressure more than Drogba. He’d run defences ragged on his own and make centre backs look like amateurs with hold-up play and an ability to get in behind that was nothing short of mesmerising. Ten finals, ten goals, ten trophies. Class.
Another career blighted by social media, Giggs was truly one of a kind.
One of football’s most decorated players, you don’t carve out a 23-year professional career with Manchester United and win 13 league titles as a fluke. Running down the wing, Giggs was capable of creating goals and popping them in himself. A serious football brain.
Scholes, Gerrard and Lampard are all pretty difficult to rank. But when you consider that Lampard is that close to 200 Premier League goals as a midfielder, he has to come top.
A European and domestic champion, Lampard’s goal getting ability from the middle of the park was ridiculous. The Englishman picked passes, created play and finished off his own moves. Monster mentality and a handy penalty taker, too.
The electric Frenchman revolutionised the Premier League upon his 1999 arrival to Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal.
Henry played up top, drifting wide or going central and decimating the English game with an unrelenting flair and control levels over the ball that remain rather unthinkable. The way he moved with the ball for the Gunners was ridiculous. The best player to not win the Ballon d’Or.
Big boy numbers now.
After winning the Premier League with Blackburn in 1994/95, Shearer returned to boyhood club Newcastle in 1996 in an attempt to be the final piece of the puzzle. It wasn’t meant to be, but as Newcastle declined, Shearer just kept on scoring. The man was a wizard in front of goal. Disgusting numbers.
The man written in Manchester City folklore for the rest of time, Aguero is a living legend.
In terms of pure out-and-out strikers, he is the best the Premier League has scene. That low centre of gravity, a sickening turn and a range of shooting like no other was coupled with a brain made for the game. Truthfully, it’s hard to call this spot second place.
Similarly to the midfield conundrum, there isn’t a correct answer between the top two.
What Aguero possesses in longevity and a lethal record for chasing goals during his decade with City, Rooney equalled with an unapologetic, street style football that was so British yet equally so foreign. Bursting onto the scene as a teen, Rooney could play just about anywhere on the park, take a player on and create a goal or find one himself. United and England’s record scorer.