Greatest of all time arguments are common among sports, music and movie fans. The nature of the title the GOAT is subjective, since greatness is hard to define, as opposed to best, top scorer, etc. however, man is to argue, and the debate on who is the greatest EPL striker of all time is one I particularly enjoy.
How would you define the greatest striker of all time in the EPL? To answer this question, and to find who ticks the most boxes, I used Ronaldo (Luis Nazário de Lima) of Brazil as a template. The man I think has been the third best footballer in the last 30 years had pace, power, skill, ability, titles, goal scoring stats, elite mentality, the whole works.
For me, the goat of the EPL should be as close to all the boxes that Ronaldo ticked to win this award. He has to fulfil the following criteria:
- an incredible goalscoring record
- EPL titles
- incredible skill and ability in terms of pace, power, technical ability, tactical awareness
- elite mentality in terms of being the go-to guy when push comes to shove
Let us look at each of each of these criteria individually and see who should be crowned the greatest EPL striker of all time.
Goal scoring record
This is theoretically the simplest criteria to decide who the goat is. After all, numbers do not lie, right? When it comes to goals scored, the charts show that Alan Shearer has no peer.
|robin van Persie||280||144|
|Ruud van Nistelrooy||150||95|
260 goals are achievements that only harry Kane can ever hope to beat. However, goals only do not tell the whole story. How lethal was the striker? By dividing goals per appearance, I came up with this table:
Unsurprisingly, Sergio Aguero, Thierry Henry and Ruud van Nistelrooy are the most lethal goal scorers the EPL has ever seen. Alan Shearer had an incredibly long run, but when it comes to goals per appearance, he is a long way off those three.
Longevity: Alan Shearer
Goal scoring ability: Sergio Aguero, Thierry Henry, Ruud van Nistelrooy
EPL titles won
Goats must win titles. Individual accolades only count for something, to be in the goat conversation, club honours are a must. This is also a simple one to decipher.
The greatest EPL strikers in titles won, are Wayne Rooney and, um, Andy Cole, who appears way more than I thought he would in this blog. Five EPL titles is an incredible achievement, props also go to Didier Drogba and Sergio Aguero. Alan Shearer and Ruud van Nistelrooy do rather poorly in this metric.
EPL titles: Wayne Rooney, Andy Cole
Elite mentality is a tricky metric. I defined it as being the go-to guy when something needs winning. The player most respected by other competitors, fans and football pundits as the best, as well as the one who scored the most crucial goals.
And of course, props to Sergio Aguero scored that goal to win Manchester City the title. The greatest goal in EPL history.
|player of the season||PFA Team of the season|
|ruud van Nistelrooy||1||2|
Here, Thierry Henry is a clear winner. Honoured by pundits by inclusion into PFA Team of the Season six times, and voted the best player of the division twice, it is clear that Henry has been recognized as the best time and again.
He has also come closest to winning the Ballon D’Or, something no one else in this list has dreamt of.
Contrast this with Sergio Aguero, who has only made the PFA team of the year once. Blame it on playing with the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva, Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany. However, he did score THAT goal, so…..
Elite mentality: Thierry Henry, Wayne Rooney, Didier Drogba
Incredible skill and ability in terms of pace, power, technical ability, aerial ability, tactical awareness
Are strikers supposed to have skill? Of course, they are. That is why Ronaldo is regarded as the greatest of his era and not Filippo Inzaghi. According to me, the perfect striker should be quick, powerful, technically skilled, great in the air, a fox in the box and tactically aware. So who is the GOAT in this segment?
I made a table and ranked all the greatest strikers in it according to these metrics. By now, I have seven names, and I must apologize for ranking Andy Cole unfavourably, I simply watched him the least times. This is what I came up with:
|technical ability||Thierry Henry|
|aerial ability||Didier Drogba|
|tactical awareness||Wayne Rooney|
|a fox in the box||Ruud van Nistelrooy|
It is quite interesting to work out this list. At their best, Didier Drogba and Thierry Henry were a physical specimen, and their game is easy to decipher. Sergio Aguero and Alan Shearer don’t really strike me as being excellent in one ability, yet add their physical and technical attributes, and they are GOATS.
In this category, maybe the sum of all attributes is more important than being excellent in one area physically or technically. I will leave the readers to decide for themselves.
For me, Thierry Henry and Didier Drogba stand out in terms of strength, skill, technical ability and pace.
The GOAT argument when it comes to strikers in the EPL is an interesting one. By writing this blog, I have been educated that, Andy Cole was a rather great striker. Sergio Aguero’s goal per appearance ratio is astonishing. At his best, Thierry Henry was regarded as not only the best striker but the best footballer in the EPL. Alan Shearer defied age time and again, and was it not for a lack of titles; he would be a clear favourite.
So who is the greatest EPL striker of all time? After my research and analysis, I will rank them arbitrarily as follows:
- Thierry Henry
- Alan Shearer
- Wayne Rooney
- Sergio Aguero
- Andy Cole
- Didier Drogba
- Ruud van Nistelrooy
What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.