This year’s Premier League Golden Boot race is a belter. After Mohamed Salah sauntered to the top last season – sure, Harry Kane’s superb 30-goal haul meant he finished only two behind, but he was never truly in the running after March – the 2018/19 campaign has half a dozen players with a real shot (pun intended).
But we know that you, discerning reader, want a little more than that. You care about goals and assists. And not only that – you care who provides them most regularly.
Who are the Premier League’s most productive player this season? We’re glad you asked...
15. Paul Pogba (Manchester United – 119.1 minutes per goal contribution)
Pogba is our top 15’s only midfielder, which says a lot about what he can do when he’s either motivated or managed well, depending on your viewpoint. True, five of his 11 goals have been penalties, and his xG performance is actually sub-par, but the potency of his assists is off the scale.
14. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United – 118.6 minutes per goal contribution)
Averaging a goal or assist for every two hours of match action is hugely impressive at Rashford’s age. No wonder the 21-year-old has already made 105 Premier League appearances for Manchester United – one more than Teddy Sheringham and above Dwight Yorke. Maybe he’ll win the Treble one day, too...
13. Callum Wilson (Bournemouth – 118 minutes per goal contribution)
Only one penalty, since you ask. Eleven goals in total. Half a dozen assists. That England cap was fully deserved – and, naturally, he scored.
12. Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Arsenal – 116.5 minutes per goal contribution)
We promise this list isn’t entirely made up of players Jose Mourinho didn’t rate. Even if Mkhitaryan doesn’t play every week, 10 goal contributions at 116.5 MpGC (yes, we’ve made up this term) suggest it’s not hard to identify the winners of Arsenal and Manchester United’s little swap. Alexis Sanchez is on 198 MpGC, by the way, just below Luciano Vietto and Alvaro Morata.
11. Anthony Martial (Manchester United – 118 minutes per goal contribution)
All right, one more from the Mourinho pile. Martial has as many league goals as Rashford (10) this season, but while his team-mate has laid on way more assists (six to Martial’s two), the Frenchman has played far fewer minutes. He’s been nothing short of clinical, peaking with October’s trio of superb low strikes to the corner against Newcastle, Chelsea and Everton.
10. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool – 114 minutes per goal contribution)
Salah is the division’s joint-leading contributor, with 24 combined goals and assists; however, he has also played nearly every minute of Liverpool’s league campaign, explaining his low-ish placing. Still, 17 goals before April isn’t bad for a ‘disappointing second season’, is it? He was hardly going to score 28 by this stage two years running.
9. Harry Kane (Tottenham – 111.3 minutes per goal contribution)
Kane’s inability to experience goal droughts makes him our No.9, just as his ability to consistently find the corner of the net makes him an elite No.9… even if he does wear 10. He’s scored in 12 of his last 15 matches at all levels, which is remarkable.
8. Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City – 110.8 minutes per goal contribution)
Jesus is the outlier here: for the third consecutive season he’s actually underperforming in terms of xG (and by some margin) and he’s the only player in this countdown with a single-figure tally: eight goals and assists. But then he has played only 30% of Premier League minutes available to him in 2018/19. While he’s excellent at finding goalscoring positions, his presence here arguably speaks more to City’s relentlessness in creating chance after chance.
ON THE NEXT PAGE… Arsenal, Spurs, Chelsea – and the leading MpGCer in the Premier League!
7. Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal – 103.4 minutes per goal contribution)
Arsenal are well represented on this list (Aaron Ramsey’s also in the top 20). Lacazette has refuted suggestions that Aubameyang’s 2018 arrival would sideline him, producing 13 goals and seven assists at a cracking rate.
6. Son Heung-min (Tottenham – 103 minutes per goal contribution)
The Spurs forward’s top-five placing shouldn’t be a surprise – in terms of outscoring his xG data, he is top of the Premier League (edging out Sadio Mané by a hair's width). What it is to have a winger who’s so accomplished a finisher, both from distance and in tight spaces. Does he deserve to be more highly regarded?
5. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal – 101.7 minutes per goal contribution)
The eye test confirms what xG data implies: although Aubameyang is second in the Golden Boot race, he should be leading it. Great opportunities have been spurned against Chelsea, Fulham, Spurs (it must be a London thing) and more. Yet he gets so many of them, thanks to excellent movement and penalty-box instinct, and he could yet finish top scorer.
4. Eden Hazard (Chelsea – 99 minutes per goal contribution)
Although Hazard’s talent has never been in question, his direct impact on scorelines sometimes has been. From 2012 to 2018, he averaged a goal or assist once every 153 minutes – hardly elite numbers. However, his game is about those pre-assists; those runs off the ball; those dribbles that force defenders to leave gaps for Hazard’s team-mates. Anyway, it’s a non-issue this season: 24 goal contributions already mean this is Hazard’s most productive campaign to date, with 13 goals (only two of them penalties) and 11 assists making him the first player in 2018/19 to reach double figures in both.
3. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City – 93 minutes per goal contribution)
It almost feels as if Sterling has been averaging more than a goal per game, such is his incredible season, and with 15 goals and nine assists he is the league’s joint-leading overall contributor. But no, it’s ‘only’ 90 minutes per goal or assist for the 24-year-old attacker. Rubbish, really.
2. Leroy Sané (Manchester City – 90 minutes per goal contribution)
Sané has been quietly devastating after a difficult introduction to 2018/19, missing Germany’s World Cup – admittedly a bullet dodged – and starting none of Manchester City’s first four league games. He’s contributing at an even better rate than last season, when he was named PFA Young Player of the Year.
1. Sergio Aguero (Manchester City – 77 minutes per goal contribution)
Freakish. The Argentine is this season’s top scorer despite playing only 69% of the time. Nice. Every year, he averages better than a goal or assist per game, the exception being his PITIFUL 105 MpGC in 2016/17. He consistently posts ridiculous numbers and, more importantly, he’s a joy to watch. For all the flair of Cantona, the guile of Henry, the goals of Rooney and the elbows of Shearer, the Premier League hasn’t seen a striker as deadly as Aguero.
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