Make every second count
Scoring goals isn't easy in the Premier League, but making your mark consistently over time is even harder.
The following 15 players are all experts in making the most of their opportunities, delivering the best goal-per-minute ratios that the English top flight has ever seen.
One note, though: we set a threshold of a minimum of 6,500 minutes playing time while compiling this list, keeping out the likes of Mo Salah – at least for now...
15. Demba Ba – 160 minutes per goal
Surprised? Ba might not go down in history as one of the Premier League greats, but his inclusion on this list is testament to his effectiveness during spells at West Ham, Newcastle and Chelsea.
The Senegalese striker finished as the Hammers’ top scorer in 2010/11 despite only debuting in February 2011 after his January arrival, and he was soon snapped up by Newcastle, where he reached double figures in his first full campaign. He'd done it again before Christmas in his second season, earning a January 2013 move to Chelsea.
Opportunities were more limited once Ba arrived at Stamford Bridge, but he did nevertheless find the net seven times in the league. But if you’re reading, Demba, be warned: Olivier Giroud and Romelu Lukaku are gaining on you…
14. Ian Wright – 157 minutes per goal
In a career that spanned both the First Division and Premier League eras, Wright rarely found scoring goals a problem.
The third strike of his hat-trick against Southampton was the final goal to be scored in the old top flight before its rebrand, earning Wright a piece of lesser-known Football League trivia.
His Premier League record at Arsenal was nothing if not consistent: he reached double figures every season at the club before his 1998 departure, with 10 goals in that final campaign helping Wright win his one and only league winners’ medal.
13. Michael Owen – 153 minutes per goal
Owen got the majority of his goalscoring done early in his career at Liverpool. He never returned to those heights once he'd returned from his season as a Real Madrid Galactico, but the former striker remains one of the deadliest finishers the division has ever seen.
Owen scored 150 top-flight goals – a record which puts him ninth on the all-time Premier League top scorer list – and 118 of which came while at Anfield. Surprisingly, however, he never made it to 20 for a single league campaign.
Injuries plagued the latter years of his career, but Reds fans will always remember the exhilarating sight of the fearless youngster in full flow – not to mention England supporters’ fond recollections of a certain World Cup goal.
12. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – 151 minutes per goal
Given his reputation as a super-sub, it’s just as well that the Norwegian didn’t need much time to get his name on the scoresheet.
The ‘baby-faced assassin’ was a key part of Alex Ferguson’s all-conquering side of the late '90s/early noughties and scored 126 goals in 366 games for Manchester United over an 11-year spell.
Upon his retirement, he held the club record for the most goals scored as a substitute (28), as well as the most in the Premier League (17). The latter feat has since been surpassed by Jermain Defoe, but it remains testament to his game-changing abilities.
11. Alan Shearer – 147 minutes per goal
It’s strange to see the Geordie legend so far down a Premier League scoring list, with Shearer finishing just outside the top 10.
However, his all-time record of 260 English top-flight goals, including a record 11 hat-tricks, means the Match of the Day pundit is unlikely to be too bothered about the setback.
He hung up his boots with three Golden Boots in his trophy cabinet, not to mention the 1994/95 Premier League winners’ medal he earned at Blackburn.
9.= Diego Costa – 145 minutes per goal
The Spaniard's no-holds-barred approach ensured that Premier League defenders were breathing sighs of relief when he returned to his home country from Chelsea in the summer of 2017.
However, the Atletico Madrid man was more than just an abrasive presence up front, which he proved with an impressive haul of 52 goals in 89 league games while at Stamford Bridge.
Costa didn’t need much adjustment time either, and still holds the record for the most goals in his opening four Premier League matches with seven.
9.= Javier Hernandez – 145 minutes per goal
Mexico’s all-time leading goalscorer is still going strong in the Premier League, eight years after arriving at Manchester United from his home country.
After spells in Spain with Real Madrid and Germany at Bayer Leverkusen, ‘Chicharito’ returned last summer to join West Ham, where he scored eight league goals in his debut campaign.
The Mexican has mostly been resigned to the role of super-sub in east London this season, but at the age of 30 he still has a few years to add to his 46 top-flight strikes – and edge up this list in the process.
8. Daniel Sturridge – 143 minutes per goal
One of the more surprising entries, Sturridge finds himself above some celebrated rivals in the all-time list thanks to an impressive ratio that he still has plenty of room to improve with Liverpool in the season ahead.
The 29-year-old has been around the block, featuring for five different teams in the top flight during a career of ups and downs.
His best season came in 2013/14 when he scored 22 league goals for Liverpool, but the England international has failed to reach double figures since as he's struggled with form and injuries. This season, however, has offered a glimpse of how Sturridge has made it so high up this ranking; in 132 minutes of league football, he has scored twice. There’s no doubt that he's a reliable source of goals in this league.
7. Edin Dzeko – 142 minutes per goal
The big Bosnian made his mark during five years in Manchester, playing a key part in helping City win their first ever Premier League title of 2011/12.
Sergio Aguero’s dramatic winner in that final-day comeback against QPR has gone down in history, but it was Dzeko’s 92nd-minute equaliser that even made the feat possible.
He provided regular and reliable returns during his time at the Etihad without ever threatening to take the Golden Boot, leaving England with 50 goals in 130 league games – a record he bettered in Serie A with Roma.
6. Robin van Persie – 140 minutes per goal
Van Persie’s figure becomes even more impressive when you consider the length of his stay in the Premier League – 11 years – and that his scoring form was shared between two different clubs, Arsenal and Manchester United.
To keep finding the net with such regularity for over a decade is no mean feat, but the Dutchman rarely had off days. His peak came with back-to-back Golden Boot seasons between the summers of 2011 and 2013 – one for the Gunners and one in his debut, title-winning campaign with United.
When he left England for Fenerbahce in 2015, he did so with 144 league goals to his name – a figure that places him at No.12 in the Premier League all-time list. Now 35 and set to retire at the end of the season, Van Persie is enjoying his final campaign with Feyenoord, where he has six goals in 10 Eredivisie games this season.
5. Luis Suarez – 139 minutes per goal
Love him or loathe him, there’s no denying that Suarez has a gift for goals. The Uruguayan tore up the Premier League during his time at Liverpool and duly earned his big move to Barcelona, where he's won Europe's highest honour. Here, he squeaks into the top five by a mere minute per goal.
During three-and-a-half years at Anfield, Suarez bettered his goal tally every year, culminating in his astonishing 31-goal haul the season before his switch to Catalonia. That feat earned him the PFA Player of the Year award, as well as the Golden Boot. His overall record of 139 minutes per strike is impressive, but during that 2013/14 campaign the striker was finding the net once every 96 minutes – an outstanding return.
4. Ruud van Nistelrooy – 128 minutes per goal
The Dutchman tormented defences in the Netherlands, England, Spain and Germany during his career, but his spell with Manchester United was undoubtedly at the peak of his powers.
Van Nistelrooy scored 150 goals for the Old Trafford giants, 95 of which came in the Premier League, and 25 of them in the 2002/03 season when he scooped the Golden Boot – the second of three straight seasons where he hit at least 20 league goals.
In fact, Van Nistelrooy achieved that in four of his five seasons at Old Trafford: the striker only failed to do so in 2004/05, when he missed a large chunk of the campaign through injury.
3. Thierry Henry – 121 minutes per goal
The best of the retired players, Henry’s record of a goal every couple of hours is sensational considering he played 258 Premier League games for Arsenal over eight seasons in north London – and even then, not as an out-and-out striker.
His form in front of goal fired the Gunners to two league titles under Arsene Wenger, as well as two FA Cups and the Champions League final.
The Frenchman is now looking to use that experience from the dugout after recently taking the Monaco job in Ligue 1, after assisting Roberto Martinez with Belgium at the World Cup this summer.
2. Harry Kane – 117 minutes per goal
A man with his sights set on the top of this list, Kane’s remarkable reliability in front of goal means he rarely goes a game without finding the net.
Aged just 25, the England captain still has plenty of time to topple No.1 on this list, and the evidence suggests he could do just that after improving his goal haul every year for the last five seasons in a row.
A World Cup Golden Boot was added to two Premier league top scorer gongs in his personal trophy cabinet, and he will be key to Tottenham’s hopes of adding some silverware at White Hart Lane.
1. Sergio Aguero – 108 minutes per goal
Is it any wonder? The pocket-sized Argentine’s numbers are simply phenomenal.
Aguero has earned his place in City’s – and indeed, the Premier League's – history since arriving in Manchester seven years ago, becoming the club’s all-time top goalscorer and helping fire them to three league titles, with 151 of his 210 strikes coming in the Premier League.
The 30-year-old’s consistency is his most remarkable trait, as demonstrated by a strike rate of a goal every 108 minutes. He once looked to be a potential casualty of Pep Guardiola's management, but instead adapted his game and is now reaping the rewards.
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