Ranked! The 10 best strikers in the Premier League right now
10. Alvaro Morata (Chelsea)
The much-maligned Spaniard is praying for a new lease of life under Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea – and if Saturday's fine goal against Arsenal is anything to go by, the signs are promising. Morata is at least being given a second chance ahead of Olivier Giroud as the Blues' focal point up front, which is the only way to ensure his fragile confidence isn't completely obliterated in 2018/19.
The 25-year-old missed out on Spain's World Cup squad and then relinquished Chelsea's cursed No.9 shirt in the summer (previous wearers: Fernando Torres! Falcao! Steve Sidwell! And, er... Khalid Boulahrouz!), so a bright start to the new campaign could be vital for a player who is so reliant on healthy headspace.
At Juventus, Morata once went through a rough patch so bad that he "couldn’t even control the ball" in training, and would openly cry around his team-mates. "Gigi Buffon took me aside, alone, and said that if I wanted to cry, do it at home," Morata told The Guardian in April 2017. "He said the people who wished me ill would be happy to see that and the people who wished me well would be saddened by it."
9. Marko Arnautovic (West Ham)
There aren't many people who've been thankful to David Moyes in the last five years, but Arnautovic should be one of them. After a sluggish start to his West Ham career (11 games, zero goals, no assists, one red card), the club record signing was shunted up front for a December home game against Chelsea and duly scored the winner in a surprise 1-0 win. He stayed there for the remainder of the season, racking up 10 more goals and six assists as the Hammers limped home in 13th – matching his best-ever season with Stoke in 2015/16.
'Arnie' has rarely lived up to his immense promise in a patchy career, but aged 29, it looks like the tide is finally turning. It won't help not having the injured Manuel Lanzini around in 2018/19 – the pair looked to have struck up a dangerous double act last season – but Arnautovic is expected to enjoy another positive campaign despite West Ham's continued woes.
8. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)
No more is Zaha the dribble-happy wideman with questionable end product. It's testament to the Crystal Palace talisman's current ability and maturity that he was capable of successfully answering Roy Hodgson's call to move centrally last season, responding with nine goals, three assists and four more (effectively) as an expert winner of penalties.
While Christian Benteke toiled, Zaha stepped up and steered Palace away from peril with big performances against Bournemouth, Brighton and Leicester during the final six games. He is 25 now; not the boyish 20-year-old who rocked up to Old Trafford at the worst time possible in post-Fergie summer 2013.
7. Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United)
Long-term criticism of the Belgian suggests that he succeeds only against lower-quality teams, but that seems incredibly harsh with his superb overall Premier League record in mind: 102 goals in 222 matches, having only turned 25 in May. Lukaku netted 26 times in 50 games for Manchester United last season; 16 in the Premier League, and another five in eight Champions League matches.
The player he succeeded at Old Trafford, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, was once criticised for the same flaw of being a flat-track bully – and things turned out quite well for him in the end. It's not Lukaku's fault that Manchester United under Jose Mourinho are a dull, lethargic team that created the sixth-most chances per Premier League game on average last season (and scored 38 fewer goals than champions Manchester City).
The Belgian is by no means the cold-blooded striker he is expected to be just yet, but should be appreciated for what he is rather than isn't at this stage of his career.
6. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)
Aubameyang was quietly prolific in the final third of 2018/19 for Arsenal, plundering 10 goals in 13 games following his January move from Borussia Dortmund, where he'd established himself as one of world football's most lethal frontmen. In mitigation, they came mostly against Premier League cannon fodder who, like Arsenal, were winding down their seasons and had little to play for.
It will be interesting to see this year whether the Gabonese can separate Arsenal in the big games, as he failed to do at Stamford Bridge on Saturday when two big opportunities went begging. His track record would suggest he can, though: 141 goals in 213 games for Dortmund, with a one-in-two Champions League record included. In the Europa League – Arsenal's level now – the 29-year-old boasts eight in 10 games.