12 more goalscoring purple patches to rival Jamie Vardy's
1. Dixie Dean, 1927/28 (17 goals in nine games)
The entire 1927/28 campaign was one long purple patch for Everton’s Dixie Dean, who netted an astonishing 60 goals in 39 league appearances for the Toffees. His best spell came when he plundered 17 goals in Everton’s opening nine fixtures, a tally that made him responsible for 65% of his team’s strikes up to that point.
Everton ended the year as First Division champions and, almost 90 years on, no one in the English game has matched Dean’s extraordinary record in a single league season. Nor are they likely to come close.
2. Ruud van Nistelrooy, 2002/03 and 2003/04 (12 straight games)
Vardy is aiming to go one better than the Dutchman's 10-game Premier League scoring streak – but there was actually more to it than that. Sir Alex Ferguson’s claim in his latest autobiography that he only ever managed four world-class players – Eric Cantona, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Cristiano Ronaldo – prompted much discussion about the many notable omissions. Ruud van Nistelrooy was among those who could feel somewhat hard done by.
His record of 150 goals in 219 appearances in all competitions for United was certainly world class; Van Nistelrooy looked unstoppable at times, with his run of scoring in 12 successive matches over two seasons and as many competitions testament to his clinical touch inside the 18-yard box.
Who says he only ever scored tap-ins? This, as part of a hat-trick vs Fulham
3. Luis Suarez, 2013/14 (16 goals in nine games)
Liverpool’s Suarez was clearly champing at the bit to get his season started after missing the first few games of 2013/14 as punishment for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic the previous April.
The Uruguay international marked his return with two goals against Sunderland at the end of September; shortly after, the floodgates opened and he bagged against West Brom (three), Fulham (two), Everton (one), Norwich (four), West Ham (two), Tottenham (two) and Cardiff (two) within the space of nine games.
4. Cristiano Ronaldo, 2013/14 (15 in eight games)
Real Madrid’s joint-all-time record goalscorer seems to find the back of the net every time he takes to a football pitch but, even for a man of CR7’s talent, his 15 goals in eight games in 2013/14 was impressive.
The run started with a hat-trick against Sevilla in October 2013, before a brace against Rayo Vallecano, a goal against Juventus in the Champions League and hat-trick in a 5-1 thrashing of Real Sociedad.
The international break offered no respite for the world’s defenders, with the Portuguese scoring four goals in two games against Sweden to virtually single-handedly book his country’s place at the 2014 World Cup. Buoyed by his efforts, the former Manchester United man returned to Spain and scored less than two minutes into Madrid’s clash with Almeria. Sometimes, life’s just too easy for Cristiano.
5. Mario Jardel, 1999/00 (18 goals in nine games)
Jardel’s career went progressively downhill after he joined Bolton Wanderers aged 30 in 2003, but the Brazilian’s incredible goalscoring record at former clubs Porto (166 in 169), Galatasaray (34 in 43) and Sporting Lisbon (67 in 62) should not be forgotten.
The high point came in 1999/00, when the Brazilian put the ball past various goalkeepers 18 times in just nine matches for Porto. Unfortunately for Bolton fans, he couldn’t quite replicate that form in Lancashire and left without a league goal to his name after six months.
6. Gerd Muller, 1969/70 (16 straight games)
Anyone familiar with Muller’s international record – an extraordinary 68 goals in 62 caps for West Germany – will not be surprised by his inclusion on this list. Playing for his club side Bayern Munich in 1969/70, Muller scored in 16 consecutive matches between September and March, a run which included a four-goal haul against Werder Bremen.
Muller’s net-busting form still wasn’t enough to propel the Bavarians to the Bundesliga title, though, with Borussia Monchengladbach finishing four points above runners-up Bayern at the season’s end.
7. Lionel Messi, 2012/13 (21 straight games)
Messi has made a habit of making even the most powerful superlatives appear meaningless. But even for his exceptionally lofty standards, netting in 21 straight La Liga games in 2012/13 was pretty special.
It all started with a brace in Barcelona’s 4-2 win over Mallorca in November and didn’t end until the Argentine dribble king drew a blank against Atletico Madrid on the final day of the season in May. He finished the La Liga campaign with an incredible 46 league goals, having plundered 33 in a magnificent six-month spell.
8. Bas Dost, 2014/15 (12 goals in seven games)
Dost’s five goals in eight Bundesliga games so far in 2015/16 is a very good return, but it remains considerably inferior to the 12 in seven he managed at one point last term.
The Dutchman was simply unstoppable after the winter break: having scored in Wolfsburg’s final game before the five-week holiday, the former Heerenveen striker proved he hadn’t overindulged in turkey by marking the Bundesliga’s return with a brace against Bayern Munich.
Dost failed to score against Frankfurt in Wolfsburg’s next fixture, but then helped himself to one against Hoffenheim, four against Bayer Leverkusen and two against each of Hertha Berlin and Werder Bremen in subsequent weeks.
9. Owen Coyle, 1990/91 (12 goals in four games)
Long before Coyle was patrolling the Burnley, Bolton and Wigan Athletic touchlines in a pair of shorts and football boots, he was wreaking havoc in Scotland’s second tier.
The current Houston Dynamo boss hit 12 goals in four games for Airdrieonians in September 1990, with Forfar, Livingston, Ayr and Clyde on the receiving end of the striker’s sharpshooting.
10. Gabriel Batistuta, 1994/95 (11 straight games)
Batistuta’s nickname, Batigol, was well earned: Argentina’s all-time record scorer was also lethal in front of goal at club level, particularly in a nine-year spell at Fiorentina between 1991 and 2000.
An 80th-minute winner against Cagliari on the opening day of 1994/95 was the start of a tremendous 11-match goalscoring run for Batistuta, who was playing in a rather ordinary Fiorentina side that would go on to finish the Serie A season in 10th place. Batistuta's manager that season? One Claudio Ranieri.
11. Masashi Nakayama, 1997/98 (16 goals in four games)
Nakayama is probably the least-known member of this selection, but is arguably responsible for the most impressive scoring rate of all.
The former Japan international managed an extraordinary 16 goals in four games for Jubilo Iwata in the spring of 1998, a return that makes Lewandowski’s 19 in 10 look distinctly average (well, sort of).
12. Robert Lewandowski, 2015/16 (14 goals in five games)
The prolific Pole started the season warmly with three goals in his first three matches in all competitions, before a barren run of... er, one game, proved the quiet before the storm. Goals for Poland against Gibraltar and Germany were followed by another against Augsburg back in the Bundesliga, but it would be his next glut that truly wowed the masses. A stunning five-goal haul against Wolfsburg (as a half-time substitute) paved the way for a ridiculous spree of 14 in his next five, including two against Mainz (BL), three against Dinamo Zagreb (CL), a brace at home to Borussia Dortmund (BL) and another pair in Scotland (EQ). Then of course, he headed in another against Ireland in his next fixture. Most recently, he's netted four in his last four. Relentless.