Every Premier League Team’s Best Striker In History
Being a striker in the Premier League means being judged to an extremely high standard.
When the goals dry up, the striker is usually the first to be blamed and often the first casualty of a lineup or formation changes. And when it comes time to rearrange the club’s finances, the often-expensive striker is frequently the first to be sold off.
But while the bar is high, so too are the rewards: a successful EPL striker stands the chance to be remembered forever in club lore. Songs, entire sections of the stadium, and statues all get devoted to the striker that’s able to score consistently and help his club win titles or promotion up the ranks.
And as it should be: many clubs go years or even decades without finding a striker that can score consistently across multiple seasons (and that doesn’t quickly jet off for greener pastures).
Taking into account both individual and team achievements as well as their legacy at the club, we’ve named the best striker for each current EPL club since the beginning of the Premier League era (1992) that will always be welcomed back to their clubs with song and open arms (well, most of them anyway).
20. CHELSEA – DIDIER DROGBA
For Chelsea or at any club, there may never be a player that shined in the big moment brighter than Didier Drogba. The Ivorian scored in four FA Cup Finals (the only player to ever do so) and in the 2012 Champions League Final he scored an 88th minute equaliser, eventually sending the game to penalties where he made the title-deciding kick. The 2004-05 Premier League title he helped win was Chelsea’s first in 50 years and also the first of 14 trophies he’d win at the club.
The first (and still only) African to score 100 Premier League goals, Drogba’s 157 goals in 341 appearances make him the most prolific non-English scorer in Chelsea history. The 20 and 29 goals he scored in 2006-07 and 2009-10 seasons respectively were enough to win him the Premier League’s Golden Boot twice.
19. HULL CITY – ABEL HERNANDEZ
Hernandez and Hull have since rebounded and his 20 goals in 39 appearances earned him club Player of the Year Honors for 2015-16. Now back in the Prem, Hernandez once again has an opportunity to cement a legacy as one of Hull’s greatest if he can manage to stay healthy.
18. MIDDLESBROUGH – MASSIMO MACCARONE
It’s hard to believe that the man that helped Middlesbrough to a European final was once nothing more than a bankroll burden who couldn’t get any first-team playing time upon his arrival at the club. Even once his first-class work rate and attitude did win over the Boro front office and fans, the record £8 million transfer only netted 23 goals with the club in 93 appearances (all competitions).
So why is he on this list? Because two of those goals helped lift Boro to unforeseen heights in as dramatic fashion as you could possibly imagine. In the 2005-06 UEFA Cup quarterfinals and semi-finals, Maccarone came on both times as a sub and twice scored the game winner in the 90th minute, helping Boro reach their first and only European final.
17. ARSENAL – THIERRY HENRY
It’s laughable now to think that Thierry Henry’s ability to adapt to the English game was questioned. Not only did he adapt, for eight years he basically owned it. For four of those years, he led the EPL in scoring and for five consecutive seasons he scored more than 20 goals, the first player ever to do so.
A winger until Arsene Wenger moved him to striker, Henry was as precise a shooter as there ever was while also possessing an unselfish knack for putting others in position to score, tallying over 50 assists between 2002-03 and 2004-05. Despite being Arsenal’s all-time leading scorer (228 goals in 377 matches), to supporters his legend transcends the stat sheet: he was instrumental in helping Arsenal win two FA Cups and two Premier League titles, including during the famed undefeated 2003-04 season.
16. BOURNEMOUTH – BRETT PITMAN
Callum Wilson has been a boon for Bournemouth since joining the club in 2014. But his few seasons thus far pale in comparison to what Brett Pitman contributed to the Cherries in 261 league appearances across two stints spanning nine seasons and three leagues.
No player has ever scored at a faster rate for the south coast club than Pitman, whose 100 goals (across all competitions) came at an average of every 35 minutes he was on the pitch. After a spell with Bristol City, Jersey-born Pitman rejoined Bournemouth full time in 2012 and helped the club gain Premier League promotion for the first time. Playing as a sub most of that season, Pitman still managed to score 13 league goals, including a hat trick against Blackpool.
15. BURNLEY – JAY RODRIGUEZ
Hometown kids will always be given a bit more patience from supporters, however, that patience was never even remotely tested in the case of Jay Rodriguez at Burnley. After rising through the clubs’ youth ranks, an 18-year old Rodriguez made his first of 105 league appearances for the club in December 2007. Less than a year later, he was regularly getting subbed on and scoring for the Clarets in cup fixtures.
Just like he rose through the academy, Jay’s playing time and goal tally also steadily rose, and in 2010-11 he led his club with 15 all-contest goals. That number was surpassed the following season with 21, good enough to earn him a spot in the PFA’s Championship Team of the Year and a £7 million transfer to Southampton in 2012.
14. LIVERPOOL – MICHAEL OWEN
Luis Suarez’s Liverpool run was indeed special, but we can’t help but applaud Michael Owen’s consistency in his eight seasons at Anfield. The 2001 Ballon d’Or recipient’s Liverpool lineage dates much further back than his Premier League debut with the club, as Owen proved himself to be a winner as a 16-year old when he won the 1995-96 FA Youth Cup.
That was far from the last trophy Owen would lift in a Liverpool shirt and in 2000-01 he was the most valuable player on the side that won a UEFA Cup-FA Cup-League Cup treble. By the time he transferred to Spain in 2004, he had added two EPL Golden Boots, one EPL Player of the Season, a European Player of the Year and numerous other awards to his trophy cabinet. To his stat sheet, he had tallied 158 all-competition goals in 297 appearances.