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PREMIER LEAGUE POWER RANKINGS – Top 10 forwards so far during the 2021/22 season

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As things stand, Mohamed Salah is running away with it by a country mile, but which other forwards have found themselves a spot on this list and could challenge Mo Salah over the Christmas period?

 

As the Premier League reaches the Christmas period, it is time to look at some of the top-performing forwards so far this season. However, unlike defenders and midfielders, forwards in the Premier League this season have been rather underwhelming to say the least. Only a handful of those have been able to consistently find the back of the net.

As things stand, Mohamed Salah is running away with it by a country mile, but which other forwards have found themselves a spot on this list and could challenge Mo Salah over the Christmas period?

 

Please Note: Before we dive into the thick of the action, I would like to say that there are a myriad of reasons— many unquantifiable—that go into determining lists like these. Most of these entries might even reflect upon my subjectivity, meaning you might agree with some of my mentions, or none at all. Either way, we’d love to hear from you!

 

Moreover, here’s a list of some honourable mentions who, as per my understanding and knowledge, have missed out on the Top 10 list this time round, but they do have the ability to make an entry given how they perform from now on until February.

Honourable Mentions: Mason Greenwood (MUN), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ARS), Roberto Firmino (LIV), Joshua King (WAT), Ismaïla Sarr (WAT), Raúl Jiménez (WOL), Heung-Min Son (TOT), Bukayo Saka (ARS), Hwang Hee-Chan (WOL), Danny Ings (AVL) and Romelu Lukaku (CHE)

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the Top 10 forwards so far during the 2021/22 season.

 

 

#10 Callum Wilson | Newcastle United

Games – 11 | Goals – 6 | Assists – 0

Top 10 forwards so far during the 2021/22 season - #10 Callum Wilson
The 29-year-old Newcastle United forward deserves a place on this list simply because of his clinical finishing, especially given how little Newcastle United created under Steve Bruce. Wilson also spent a month out on the sidelines after he picked up an injury before the second international break.

6 goals in 11 games is a more than decent output, given Wilson has been spearheading a team languishing at the foot of the table. His heatmap shows he has had to drop much deeper than he would like, and under new manager Eddie Howe and the brand of football he brings, his numbers could catapult in the coming months.

As stated above, Wilson is taking 2.4 shots on average but is boasting just 0.9 shots on target, which equates to 10 shots on target, 6 of which have been converted into goals, while he has missed three Big Chances as well.

With the influx of cash and talent coming in during the January window, Wilson can score plenty of goals leading up to February.

RATING: 6.5/10

#9 Cristiano Ronaldo | Manchester United

Games – 12 | Goals – 6 | Assists – 2

Top 10 forwards so far during the 2021/22 season - #9 Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo‘s dream return to Manchester United hasn’t quite gone according to the script, has it? The arrival of the 36-year-old phenomenon was meant to push this Manchester United squad towards a title challenge, something they have failed to do despite finishing second behind their neighbours Manchester City last season.

Cristiano started his second stint with the club in fine style after scoring three goals in two games and securing the September Player of the Month award, but things nose-dived from there as results stopped coming, and Ronaldo became more of a passenger now that he can’t press given his age.

With little to no defensive contribution, Ronaldo averages 3.6 shots/90’, while his goals tally could have certainly been higher had he not missed 5 Big Chances. He is too good a player to be kept quiet, though, and with United now under new management, the Manchester United #7 will want to keep on adding to his goals tally in months to come.

RATING: 7/10

#8 Diogo Jota | Liverpool

Games – 14 | Goals – 8 | Assists – 1

Top 10 forwards so far during the 2021/22 season - #8 Diogo Jota
Diogo Jota, much to his credit, is slowly making that Liverpool #9 role his own. With Roberto Firmino injured or not able to keep himself fit for more than a couple of months, Jota has been grabbing his opportunities with both hands. Moreover, unlike Firmino, whose goal outputs shrink when playing the deep-lying forward role, Jota, more often than not, is present at the end of the balls, giving Jürgen Klopp a new dimension in his forward line.

The 24-year-old has 9 goal contributions from his 14 Premier League appearances, and his underlying numbers are that much more impressive. He is averaging 2.6 shots/90’ with 1.1 shots on target per game, while the Portugal international has also missed 6 Big Chances so far this season.

In terms of creativity, Jota has been delivering on that front too, with 5 Big Chances Created, one assist and 1.6 key passes/90’. Moreover, in that forward pressing line, he is more than effective, winning 5.5 duels per game while averaging 1.1 tackles/90’.

RATING: 7.25/10

#7 Sadio Mané | Liverpool

Games – 15 | Goals – 7 | Assists – 1

Top 10 forwards so far during the 2021/22 season -   #7 Sadio Mané
Liverpool’s Sadio Mané had a subdued start to his 2021/22 campaign. Make no mistakes, though, as 8 goal contributions in 15 games is a great haul in terms of output, but his overall game hasn’t been up to his usual standards. The 29-year-old is averaging 3.1 shots/90’ with 1.2 shots on target. More worryingly, however, the Senegal international has missed 8 Big Chances so far this season, which is quite a lot given he has played only 15 league games.

In terms of creativity, Mané has produced 5 Big Chances so far with 1.2 key passes/90’, while Liverpool’s press and his positioning mean he wins 4.5 duels and completing 1.5 successful dribbles with nearly 80 percent of his passes played in the opposition’s final third. However, despite racking up some decent numbers, Mané is struggling to find his natural rhythm, and it will be interesting to see how that impacts Liverpool’s play over the Christmas period.

RATING: 7.25/10

#6 Ivan Toney | Brentford

Games – 14 | Goals – 4 | Assists – 2

Top 10 forwards so far during the 2021/22 season - #6 Ivan Toney
Ivan Toney has been nothing short of sensational so far during the 2021/22 Premier League season. If his goal contribution was any more than he has actually managed thus far (6), Brentford‘s #17 would have been ranked way higher on this list. Both his expected goals and expected assists metrics suggest that his actual tally should have been much higher.

Moreover, Thomas Frank uses his #9 as more of a lynchpin, with the wingbacks and Bryan Mbuemo feeding off him. Despite his deeper positioning, Toney is averaging 2.4 shots/90’, while his tireless pressing all over the pitch only makes it all the more impressive.

However, his creative numbers are among the very best in the league, and it is just the output at the end of it that has dampened his statistics a bit. The 25-year-old has already created four Big Chances this season while producing 1.1 key passes/90’. More impressively, though, Toney is winning 9.9 duels/90’, which is quite staggering for any player, let alone a centre-forward.

RATING: 7.5/10

#5 Gabriel Jesus | Manchester City

Games – 13 | Goals – 2 | Assists – 6

Top 10 forwards so far during the 2021/22 season - #5 Gabriel Jesus
The Brazil international has seen much of his playing time down the right-hand flank of Man City’s attack this season, and to his credit, the 24-year-old has excelled in that role for the Cityzens as he has racked up 8 goal involvements in 13 league appearances.

Much is said about City’s lack of a proper centre-forward, so when Pep Guardiola pushed a centre-forward down the flanks, it naturally raised a few eyebrows. Moreover, Manchester City have failed to score on six different occasions this season, and with the depth and technical ability they possess, that’s quite alarming.

As far as Gabriel Jesus is concerned, though, he is doing all he can down the right flank, averaging 2.2 shots/90’, creating four Big Chances and producing 1.6 key passes/90’, in a way justifying Guardiola’s judgement. How it will play out throughout the rest of the season, however, remains to be seen.

RATING: 7.75

#4 Jarrod Bowen | West Ham United

Games – 15 | Goals – 3 | Assists – 4

#4 Jarrod Bowen
West Ham United‘s Jarrod Bowen has slowly but surely staked his claim as one of the most in-form forwards in the league. After the first five league fixtures where he looked decent but didn’t seem to have that end product, he managed to produce seven goal contributions in his next 10 league fixtures.

Having been playing down the right flank, Bowen has been involved creatively as well, creating 3 Big Chances while managing 1.3 key passes/90’.

In David Moyes’ compact 4-4-2 off-the-ball structure, Bowen is a part of that second line of defence that hassles and hurries the opposition engine room in the middle third. As a result, the 24-year-old is averaging 1.3 tackles/90’ while winning 5.2 duels on average. Bowen is also a great dribbler of the ball and is completing 1.9 successful dribbles/90  and winning 1.5 fouls per game as a result.

As his heatmap suggests, Bowen tracks back a lot and helps out his team defensively and is, therefore, one of the vital cogs in David Moyes’ system.

RATING: 8/10

#3 Jamie Vardy | Leicester City

Games – 15 | Goals – 9 | Assists – 1

Top 10 forwards so far during the 2021/22 season - #3 Jamie Vardy
The Leicester City captain is just like one of those fine wines; he only gets better with time.

When Brendan Rodgers and Leicester City brought in Patson Daka from RB Salzburg, many were certain that it would lead to Jamie Vardy, at 34, handing over the baton to the Zambian.

Oh, how wrong were we!

It is true that Vardy is having less involvement in games these days, but those little moments of involvement are just as devastating, if not more. Jamie Vardy is having 2.3 shots/90’ and 1.1 shots on target, though he has already missed 5 Big Chances. The most impressive fact is that he is averaging 20 touches per game and just 11 passes per game.

At 34, Vardy is not expected to do the defensive duties anymore, which is duly reflected in his underlying numbers.

RATING: 8.25/10

#2 Michail Antonio | West Ham United

Games – 14 | Goals – 6 | Assists – 4

Top 10 forwards so far during the 2021/22 season - #2 Michail Antonio
Michail Antonio was the player at the start of the season, scoring goals and putting in assists for fun. This season, the West Ham United #9 has certainly taken his game up a notch in terms of goal threat and creativity.

Although goals and assists have dried up a bit over the last few matches, Antonio’s underlying numbers and the eye test still justify his inclusion and his place on this list.

Antonio’s overall goal contributions tally (10 goal contributions in 14 matches) could have been way higher had he not squandered four big chances, with his teammates also missing six of the big chances he created for them.

Moreover, the Jamaica international has been producing 2.1 key passes every game while winning 5.8 duels and carrying out 1.6 successful dribbles/90’. Thus, Michail Antonio is on course to have a stellar season, and only sky’s the limit as far as he is concerned.

RATING: 8.5/10

#1 Mohamed Salah | Liverpool

Games – 15 | Goals – 13 | Assists – 9

Top 10 forwards so far during the 2021/22 season - #1 Mohamed Salah
Liverpool’s talismanic #11 has simply been the best player in the Premier League over the last 12 months, let alone this season’s first three months. The Egyptian has 22 goal contributions in 15 Premier League games, which is remarkable.

The 29-year-old is averaging 3.9 shots/90’ with 2.0 shots on target, while he has missed 7 big chances so far this season. In terms of creativity, Salah has created 11 big chances while producing 2.2 key passes per game.

Moreover, the added responsibility of creating seems to have brought out the best in him, given Salah’s improved work rate and willingness to help his team’s cause. His deeper positioning has seen him excel with the ball at his feet, as he has completed 1.7 successful dribbles/90’ and won 3.1 ground duels on average.

As things stand, therefore, there is no stopping Mohamed Salah, and given the standards he has set for himself, anything less than a goal contribution per game looks like a blip for him at the moment.

RATING: 9.5/10

 

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