Newcastle vs Watford, Newcastle United, Watford Football Club, Premier League

Player Ratings: Watford 2 – 1 Newcastle United (11/07/2020)

Premier League

Disappointing result for Newcastle United at Vicarage Road, as Watford come from behind to beat United 2-1. After what was a promising start for the Magpies with a Dwight Gayle goal in the 23rd minute, Watford slowly but surely took a hold of the game and ended up with the victory.

Both goals for Watford came from the penalty spot, the first one less blatant than the second. Nonetheless, after going down in the 23rd minute, Nigel Pearson’s side looked far more composed and dangerous until the final whistle. Contrastingly, Newcastle looked progressively worse and complacent as the game went on – some questionable substitutions and tactics will no doubt be on the mind of plenty of the Toon Army.

So without further ado, here are your match ratings.

Martin Dubravka: 7/10

Conceded two penalty goals which he can hardly be blamed for. Guessed the right way the second time but didn’t manage to get a hand to it.

Javier Manquillo: 4.5/10

The weakest performance he has had since the return of football. He has looked decent until Watford, but gave away a very silly penalty that ended up costing United the game. He’ll be looking to bounce back against Tottenham on Wednesday!

Jamaal Lascelles: 7.5/10

Defence looks far more structured and solidified when he is on the pitch. Put in an incredible goal line clearance and tried to motivated his players throughout the game. Most notably were his words with Danny Rose whose complacency almost cost Newcastle United a goal.

Federico Fernandez: 5/10 (Assist)

Despite getting an assist, it was one of his poorer performances in the Black & White. Made a few errors and looked a bit hesitant at times which isn’t common for Federico.

Danny Rose: 5/10

Still not managing to find his feet at Newcastle. Working hard but it hasn’t clicked just yet, another average display from Rose.

Fabian Schar: 5.5/10

In all honesty, it’s hard to understand why he was being played in the midfield. Looked well off the pace and out of position a number of times. Hardly to blame as CDM/Sweeper is clearly not ideal for him.

Jonjo Shelvey: 5.5/10

Another sub-par performance from Shelvey. His consistency has always been the main point of criticism rallied against him and his last two performances have given weight to that claim. No doubt, he missed his partner Isaac Hayden who brings stability to the mid and the opportunity for Shelvey to move further forward. I believe this is the last Shelvey/Schar partnership we’ll see this season.

Matt Ritchie: 4.5/10

Doesn’t look his usual self and although he is working hard, he has been rather sloppy of late. Gave away the first penalty and didn’t look very threatening at all. As one of the leaders in the team, he’ll need to pick up his game.

Allan Saint-Maximin: 6/10

Doesn’t look fully rested. Had one or two nice runs and completed 4 dribbles in the match but wasn’t able to completely run riot as he normally does. He was tightly marked by Watford, and the fact that he found himself isolated so often didn’t help.

Miguel Almiron: 5.5/10

Worked hard as always but lacked the final product. He has been moved around a bit and a question being asked is ‘what is his correct position’?

Dwight Gayle: 7.5/10 (Goal)

Gayle slotted him from close in the 23rd minute as his hard work and finishing has earned him a well-deserved starting spot. He has now scored 3 goals in 5 games and will be hoping to add onto it as he continues to receive more game time.

Substitutes (Must play over 20 minutes to receive a rating)

Bentaleb: N/A
Joelinton: N/A
Krafth: N/A

Player Ratings: Manchester City 5 – 0 Newcastle United (08/07/2020)

Premier League

Woeful from Newcastle United. As a result, the match commentary will be short as there isn’t much to say. United are safe from the drop but somehow keep reverting back to old tactics that just don’t seem to work.  

It was like watching the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan – an absolute butchery.

So without further ado, here are your match ratings…

Martin Dubravka: 5.5/10

Horrible night to be a Newcastle United Goalkeeper. Made 5 saves and one of those was a fantastic effort to deny David Silva.

DeAndre Yedlin: 3.5/10

A night to forget for DeAndre! Stand out statistic was a 45% pass competition rate – not his finest.

Emil Krafth: 4.5/10

Played out of position at Centre-Back, which is bizarre after his fantastic performances at wing back the last 2 games. Looked a bit out of sorts for a large part of the game, hardly his fault.

Federico Fernandez: 3.5/10

Worst performance in a Newcastle jersey for some time. Ended up scoring an own goal, which he can’t be blamed for – but positional play was all over the place.

Danny Rose: 5/10

Made the most tackles last evening with 4 in total. Tried to create space out wide and worked hard. Still yet to win over Newcastle fans as he tries to secure his future at the club.

Fabian Schar: 3.5/10

Arguably one of United’s most talented players – but he looks well off the player he was before the virus hit. Playing like he wants out and could be seen casually trotting back whilst Man City scored their second of the night. Won’t be surprised if he leaves in the transfer window.

Jonjo Shelvey: 4/10

Forgettable night for Jonjo (as well as the whole team). Played further up the pitch but gave the ball away far too easily – once actually leading to a goal being conceded. A pity, as he has played superbly the last few matches.

Nabil Bentaleb: 4/10

Couldn’t seem to find any rhythm and looked awfully disjointed at times. Made a few good tackles but costed United for their 5th conceded goal of the evening.  

Valentino Lazaro: 4.5/10

Does work hard and had one or two good dribbles but dispossessed for United’s second concession of the evening. He has the ability but has yet to find his feet.

Matt Ritchie: 4/10

Didn’t look himself and maybe because he has just come back from injury.

Joelinton: 4.5/10

Another lonely afternoon for big Jo. Completely isolated up top and can hardly be blamed for not producing anything magical.

Substitutes (Must play over 20 minutes to receive a rating)

Manquillo: 5/10 (66′ minute sub)
Arrived on the pitch to an onslaught.

Dwight Gayle: 4.5/10 (66′ minute sub)
Not sure if he even touched the ball.

Matty Longstaff: 8/10 (66′ minute sub)
Nothing to report on.

Christian Atsu: N/A
Yoshinori Muto: N/A

Newcastle United, West Ham, Premier League, Round 33, Newcastle vs West Ham

Player Ratings: Newcastle United 2 – 2 West Hame (05/07/2020)


Newcastle United were hoping to build upon a fantastic performance against Bournemouth in the week as they took on West Ham United in round 33 of this Premier League season.

This was a slightly scrappy affair with Newcastle United containing the lion’s share of possession (57%). What is clear to see is Steve Bruce’s tactical changes paying dividends, as Newcastle are starting to hold onto the ball far better than in the previous half of the season. It seems to be two touch football as United are far more fluid in moving the ball around.

The tactical change in having 4 at the back as opposed to 5 is something that is also working out nicely for United as they seem far more geared to take the game to the opposition as opposed to waiting for chances to appear. Having said that, West Ham did well to contain ASM (as much as possible) – Moyes rightly predicted United’s approach in attacking down the right hand side and was able (for the most part) to deal with it.

So without further ado, here are your match ratings.

Martin Dubravka: 7/10

Decent game from Dubravka as he pulled off 5 saves, most notably was an excellent stop against Yarmolenko late on. He will be slightly irked with the first goal, that was a result of a defensive mishap from skipper Lascelles. Not much he could do for the second goal as a rebound fell kindly to Soucek.

Javier Manquillo: 6.5/10

Made the joint most tackles with 4 and had a pass completion rate of 78%. Overall a decent afternoon for the Spaniard who has solidified his spot in the team through sheer determination.

Jamaal Lascelles: 5.5/10

Unfortunately a forgettable afternoon for the skipper who committed a blunder for West Ham’s first goal. His attempt to almost, backheel the ball away ended disastrously as the ball fell kindly to Antonio, who duly slotted home. Managed to pick himself up after that, which is testament to his leadership ability and had a decent game there on in.

Federico Fernandez: 6.5/10

Found wanting for the Soucek goal but overall another solid performance from Fernandez. Won 6 aerial duels, the most in the team as he keeps showing his determination for the badge.

Emil Krafth: 7/10 (Assist)

Another good game from Emil Krafth as he continues to improve and find his feet in English top flight football. Put in a wonderful ball for Almiron who scored United’s first goal. He’ll be pleased with his afternoon and so will Steve Bruce.

Isaac Hayden: 7/10

Got injured and was subbed in the 43rd minute but was having a decent game up until then. He made 4 tackles, some of which were crunching encounters. His positional play is fantastic and it just keeps improving. His high football IQ is helping United to better control the midfield and is constantly increasing his value to this side. No doubt, a player Newcastle have to hang on to

Jonjo Shelvey: 8/10 (Goal) – Man of the Match

Newcastle’s best player on the pitch against West Ham. Was spraying the ball about wonderfully and took the situation in his hands to score United’s second, moments after conceding to West Ham. The talent is there, he’ll be hoping to consistently display it.

Miguel Almiron: 7.5/10 (Goal)

Another goal for Miggy who is improving under Steve Bruce. He continues to work hard and run very intelligent lines into open spaces. Always has a smile on his face and put smiles on the faces of plenty Newcastle fans around the globe.

Allan Saint-Maximin: 7/10

Was tightly marked on Sunday afternoon and took some big knocks. Nonetheless, a good performance from Newcastle’s wonder man who is attracting attention from other big clubs abroad. This isn’t surprising as ASM has plenty to offer and is only going to improve as time goes on.   

Joelinton: 6.5/10

Was played out wide again, as he looks much better in a supporting role. Played a creative part in both goals but I am sure he will be itching to get more goals himself. Worked hard as he won 3 aerial duels and made 3 tackles.

Dwight Gayle: 7/10 (Assist)

Decent afternoon for Gayle, most notably as he tee’d up Shelvey for the second goal. Worked hard and had a pass competition rate of 87%.

Substitutes (Must play over 20 minutes to receive a rating)

Nabil Bentaleb: 7/10 (43′ minute sub)
Technically sound on the ball and had a good afternoon on the pitch. Passed the ball soundly with an 88% competition rate.

Valentino Lazaro: 6/10 (69′ minute sub)
Quite afternoon for Lazaro – not much to report on.

Matt Ritchie: 6/10 (70′ minute sub)
Nothing worth reporting back home for.

Andy Carroll: N/A

Newcastle Takeover Dictionary – Understanding The Terminology

Premier League

Okay wow. You actually clicked on this link…

The NUFC Takeover has entered week 139, you’re desperate and it’s safe to assume that you have Newcastle Takeover Syndrome (NTS).

Unfortunately, an NTS diagnosis doesn’t come with a handbook of explanations. Consequently, the terminology associated with this awful condition is unknown. It’s fairly new to the scientific world so studies are still relatively juvenile in essence.

Observing this desperate need, I thought I’d attempt to abate much of the harm being inflicted upon these poor souls and do a little deep-dive research. I pulled out the key phrases being thrown around and tried to explain what they actually mean in colloquial language.

Below is a list of phrases you’ve seen catching the headlines, here are their ACTUAL meanings.

1) ‘In the coming weeks’ – Early stages of the syndrome, this phrase is extremely common and earns about a million article clicks a day. Here’s a formula you didn’t know of, great deception = great ad revenue. ‘In the coming weeks’ could mean next week, but it could also mean in 2046, because there are also weeks in that year too. I even checked on my calendar, it’s real.

2) ‘In the coming days’ – Ha. So this is a classic. It raises the heartbeat a bit. Reading it on Tuesday makes you expect a Friday announcement. But what few people know is that ‘Days’ spelt backwards is ‘Syad’, which is an acronym for “Sit Your Ass Down” – meaning, get comfortable lads and lasses, it’s going to be while. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but come on…

3) ‘Imminent‘ – Big word this. Makes them seem like they know what they’re talking about. You’ve probably heard it used in your life before like ‘your promotion is imminent’ or ‘imminent salary increase’. But ask yourself, was it imminent – if your answer is ‘yes’, you’re lying and should change your profession to producing click-bait articles 😀

4) ‘Expect an announcement in…’ – I have purposefully left this sentence incomplete as the number of periods is completely irrelevant. It could be ‘weeks’ or ‘days’, all you have to do is refer to the points 1 & 2. This phrase is open ended, as it allows the author of the article to just paint on a blank canvas. In all honesty, the author can just pass the blame on to you having ‘unreasonable expectations’ – something Newcastle United fans get told ALL. THE. TIME. 😦

5) ‘Soon’ – Short and sweet. Just like the time any of Newcastle’s decent players spend at the club.

6) ‘Newcastle Takeover’ – the daddy of all daddy’s. The cat’s pyjama’s. The fact that you even read past these words in ANY sentence at all just shows you have the same syndrome as I do – NTS. ‘Newcastle Takeover’ is a the key catchphrase in the North East and has generated MILLIONS in ad revenue. Could it be because of my ignorance that I keep reading these articles? Yes. But does it feel good being linked with Vince McMahon and having the possibility of seeing Matt Ritchie (and his magic hat) with Allan Saint-Maximin on a tag team at WrestleMania – yes. So take what you will from that.

If you feel that there are any phrases left out, please comment below and provide us with their actual meanings – we’d all be grateful.

Player Ratings: Newcastle United 4 – 1 Bournemouth (01/07/2020)

Premier League
Newcastle United, Bournemouth, Premier League, Dwight Gayle, Allan Saint-Maximin
Dwight Gayle scores his 100th Career Goal

WOW. What else can be said? That was by far Newcastle United’s best performance of the season. An absolute stellar display of football accompanied by some extraordinary goals. United were passing the ball around like it was Barcelona 2011 – one could observe the two touch football that was being played for the lion’s share of the game. Countless times the cry “PASS IT” was hurled from the side-line as Steve Bruce was encouraging his side to move the ball around.

A new paragraph must be initiated here to honour and bestow a massive amount of credit upon Steve Bruce and what he has done. A change in tactics just before the lockdown has seen his Magpie side go undefeated in 5 Premier League games, amassing 11 points from a possible 15. Now, this may not seem special if you’re not a Newcastle fan – but if you have been supporting this club for some time, you’ll accept that it’s not a common occurrence.

So without further ado, here are your match ratings.

Martin Dubravka: 8/10

Not a busy afternoon for the honourable Geordie goal-stopper. He’ll be frustrated with Newcastle conceding a goal in the 93rd minute but not his fault by any means. Nonetheless, rock solid from Dubravka – what an asset he is to this club.

Javier Manquillo: 8.5/10

A player who keeps improving as each week goes by! Solid performance from Manquillo who worked that flank up and down. Showing more diversity to his game as he completed 2 dribbles and had an 89% pass completion rate. He has earned his renewed contract at the club!

Jamaal Lascelles: 8/10

Our skipper is constantly improving, this is evidenced by another decent performance. He keeps that back line in shape and is a real cornerstone for this team. Lascelles is developing as a leader and most certainly has the respect of his team mates and fans alike. No doubt he’ll be pleased with the way his team performed last night!

Federico Fernandez: 8/10

Arguably Newcastle’s best CB at the moment. Started the season off with not even making the bench and has now clawed his way back into being one of the first names on the team sheet. What is noticeable, is passion for the shirt and his desire to win – something that is ALWAYS well received on Tyne side. Brilliant performance from the Argentinian.

Emil Krafth: 8/10

A surprise selection but didn’t disappoint. Made the most tackles out of the back four (3) and worked that right flank brilliantly, often linking up well with Allan Saint-Maximin. He has improved drastically since his first few performances and here’s to hoping he continues to improve!

Nabil Bentaleb: 8.5/10

An unsung hero last night, for what was an incredible performance! Worked hard the whole evening, making the most tackles in the team (5) and sharing the spoils for highest pass completion rate with 89%. He needed this performance and he should be well pleased with himself!

Jonjo Shelvey: 8.5/10 (Assist)

This man can. pass. a. ball. Really enjoyable to see Jonjo spraying the ball around and it looked like he was having fun out there. Aside from getting an assist one thing that stood out yesterday was his passion. It seems like Newcastle United has continued to grow on him and he could be at the club for some time!

Sean Longstaff: 8.5/10 (Goal)

Very unfortunate to get injured in the 33rd minutes as was having an incredible game. Won the ball back which initiated the play for Gayle’s goal and also produced a lovely finish after some mesmerising dribbling from Allan Saint-Maximin. Hopefully the local lad continues to get better and better!

Allan Saint-Maximin: 10/10 (3x Assists) – Man of the Match

It’s hard to describe this man! What a remarkable performance from a very, very special player. Dribbling aside, ASM is an incredibly intelligent football player. Just observe the runs he makes in and between the lines, how he is able to pull players out of position creating space for others – it’s an often overlooked part of his game. Newcastle are going to struggle to keep hold of this talent. 3x Man of the Match awards and all thoroughly deserved!

Joelinton: 8/10

Was much better out wide in a supporting position. Looked far more comfortable and it definitely suits him to NOT be isolated up top. Worked as hard as ever and just an overall solid performance from the lad! He’ll take a lot of confidence from this performance and it may very well see Steve Bruce move him out wide permanently, or at least not have him up top alone.

Dwight Gayle: 8.5/10 (Goal)

After missing a sitter against Manchester City, Gayle most certainly redeemed himself with a wonderful & composed finish after receiving a pass from ASM. It was also his 100th career goal, so ultimately a very special evening for him. He has now scored 2 goals in 2 Premier League matches and is most certainly knocking on the door for consistent game time! Very happy for him and he’ll be hoping to finish the season with more goals to his name!

Substitutes (Must play over 20 minutes to receive a rating)

Almiron: 8.5/10 (33′ minute sub) Goal
Came on in the 33rd minute and had a fantastic performance scoring marvellous goal for Newcastle’s third. Was a fantastic performance from Miggy and well deserved as his hard work pays off!

Carroll: 7/10 (62′ minute sub)
Solid performance from the local lad. Came on and worked hard from the moment his boots hit that pitch. Won 5 aerial duels and was unlucky not to score after good link up play with Shelvey!

Valentino Lazaro: 8/10 (62′ minute sub) Goal
The young man’s best performance in a black & white shirt thus far! Used his pace very cleverly down the right flank and scored an absolute cracker. Moments after scoring he also hit the post with another thunderous strike! Exciting revelations from him!

Isaac Hayden: N/A
DeAndre Yedlin: N/A

Allan Saint-Maximin terrorises Bournemouth players

Match Preview & Prediction: Newcastle United vs Bournemouth (01/07/2020)

Premier League

After a dismal display against Manchester City in the FA Cup quarter final, Newcastle United will be looking to redeem themselves and gain these 3 points in a race to finish in the top half the league. Bournemouth on the other hand, find themselves lingering in the relegation zone fighting for survival. A loss for Bournemouth could be the coup de grace, as their remaining 6 fixtures post Newcastle United include: Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester and Manchester City.


The last 6 fixtures between the two sides has seen an equal share of the spoils. There have been 2 draws and respectively 2 wins for each side. Building off recent history, we should likely see a result on Wednesday evening. Additionally, none of the prior 6 games have been goalless. Given that both sides have struggled for goals this season, finding themselves tied 18th for goals scored (29) in the league – the ball finding the back of the net will be a welcomed surprise from spectators.

Newcastle United

Since project restart, Newcastle United have faired well in the Premier League – taking a total of 4 points from an available 6. Consequently, and unusually, United find themselves sitting comfortably above the relegation zone at 13th with 39 points. However, after a disappointing display on Sunday in the FA Cup quarter final, Steve Bruce will be hoping his team can rectify themselves on Wednesday evening. Despite safety almost guaranteed, one would not be wrong to suspect that Bruce will be urging his team to capture the 3 points at the Vitality stadium. Given the possibility of a takeover, Steve Bruce’s safety as the manager is all but certain and it would behoove oneself to expect him to want to finish the season strongly.

The setup will be interesting, as many are predicting to see 2 strikers up front in the likes of Andy Carroll and Joelinton. Newcastle will be hoping for the sound return of Matt Ritchie as he has proven to be of critical importance to United’s success. Shelvey should find himself back in the starting lineup – having your best passer of the ball on the field alongside Andy Carroll is entirely appropriate. All that said, Newcastle talisman Allan Saint-Maximin will be United’s greatest threat as he has proven remarkably difficult to contain.


The Cherries find themselves in a spot of bother as they fight for survival. Their target man Callum Wilson is suspended as he sees out the 2nd of his two match ban, after picking up 10 yellow cards. This will be a big blow to Bournemouth has they have struggled for goals as is, scoring a miserable 4 in their last six games and as mentioned earlier, a total of 29 all season. Ryan Fraser will not be putting on the Cherries jersey again as his contract has expired and there has been no renewal – bookies have strong odds on him to join Celtic. Joshua King should be fit for Wednesday evening and the hopes of the survival of the Cherries rest solely on his and Harry Wilsons shoulders.

One would expect Eddie Howe to setup up aggressively as 3 points are desperately needed for survival. This may leave the Cherries susceptible to be punished for risks taken. Having said that, Newcastle aren’t entirely clinical in front of goal, so it may be a great reward for a small risk in the eyes of Howe.


Given the dire situation of Bournemouth and the pressure mounting on the team to stay afloat – the may find themselves exposed a bit too much. We suspect Steve Bruce may be urging his players to approach this game with patience and poise as opportunities will present themselves. Whether or not they’ll take them, is a different story all together. Having said all that, we predict the following:

Bournemouth 0 – 2 Newcastle United.

Allan Saint-Maximin
Andy Carroll

Let us know your predictions in the comments below!

What was the World like the last time Newcastle United won the League?

Premier League

The 30 year wait for Liverpool is over, and they have finally won the League. As you can see, I am super happy for them…………….

If, like me, you’ve had enough of their fans social media posts and tawdry celebrations – I thought it suitable to digress from the common dialogue for a minute.

Seeing the phrase ‘the 30 year wait is over’, got me thinking, ‘how long has it been since United last lifted the league trophy’. The answer, my friends, wasn’t very soothing to the mind of a Newcastle United fan. However, I was relieved to find out that the duration of years hasn’t reached triple figures… yet.

So the long and short of it is this, Newcastle last won the League in 1927 which was exactly 93 years ago. 93 years is a long time my friends – it’s basically as long as it took Newcastle United fans to get refunded for their season tickets. Let that sink in for a bit…

My next thought was, what was the world like in 1927? Was Harry Redknapp in management? Which club was Darren Bent at? Did Carl Froch have a crowd of 80 000 at Wembley? I was SHOCKED to find out the reality of what was actually happening back then.

Consequently, and after some research, I drew up a list of 3 pertinent events in the year 1927:

1. The era of Silent Films ended in 1927 with the introduction of the film “The Jazz Singer” – which was the first film to ever record synchronised dialogue. If you’re wondering what watching something in silence is like, please visit the Stadium of Light on any given match day 😉

2. The construction of Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, America began. If you are unfamiliar with this sculpture, it is of four significant historical leaders that have been carved into Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills region. I haven’t been myself, but I believe the sculptures are of Sir Bobby Robson, Shola Ameobi, Paul Gascoigne and Alan Shearer. Please don’t come with your fact checking.

3. After searching the archives, it can be confirmed that even back in 1927, there wasn’t a Mackem to be seen in Milan. Seems like this will never happen… strange.

Winning a League title seems well beyond Newcastle’s wildest dreams at the moment, but here’s to hoping we can win it before we raise our bat for the century. Howay the Lads!

Who is the Best Goal Scorer in Premier League History? Let’s settle this…

Premier League
Wayne Rooney, Alan Shearer, Andy Cole, Sergio Aguero, Thierry Henry, Premier League, Total goals, average goals
Wayne Rooney, Alan Shearer, Andy Cole, Sergio Aguero, Thierry Henry, goals scored, goals to game ratio, career goals
Career Premier League goals (as of 19/06/2020)

It irks me when folks point to statistics like the above to prove who the best PL goal scorer in history is. If one had to draw conclusions from it, you would say that Aguero is the best goal scorer because he has the best goal/game ratio (or goal/min ratio). Some would say Shearer for having the most goals – but this logic & these metrics are fallible when considered out of context. I will explain exactly why a bit further on.

Scope – The Case for the Greatest Forward/Striker

You will note how I specifically labelled this article the case for the best ‘Goal Scorer’ and not the best ‘Striker or Forward’.

To assess the latter, I would need to contemplate several statistics including assists, dribbling, passing etc. So, before I upset some of you (which I will inevitably do – but only in about 2 minutes time), this is not an analysis on the best striker or forward. Some would say Rooney was a great goal scorer and a great passer, some say that Henry was the most complete with his dribbling, passing and scoring ability etc. All of these are valid and could be very well crown them the greatest striker, but we will be nulling & voiding as many variables as possible to objectively analyse the best goal scorer.

What metrics NOT to use when comparing

As mentioned earlier, there are issues with using the goal/game ratio as well as absolute values as metrics to compare players’ goal scoring abilities, here are some of the reasons why:

  1. Goal/Game ratio doesn’t account for age differences as well as team differences. For example, Sergio Aguero (who has the best goal/game ratio) arrived in the Premier League relatively close to his prime at age 23. Players like Rooney, Shearer and Cole started playing in the Premier League (First Division pre 1992) when they were teenagers. Furthermore, Cole and Shearer were playing in the league until they were 34. It doesn’t take a rocket-scientist to understand that this would undoubtably skew this ratio against them, as many games were played outside of their prime years. You essentially are then comparing a goal/game ratio of Aguero in his prime years against Shearer’s, Cole’s & Rooney’s entire career – hardly fair.

  2. Absolute number of goals aren’t an appropriate metric either. People often visit the list of all-time scorers and thus conclude that Shearer is the greatest goal scorer the Premier League has seen. But this isn’t a reasonable foundation to draw conclusions from either, as it fails to consider two pertinent points:

    1. Firstly, it doesn’t consider the team the individual played in. If you watch football, playing in a better team drastically increases the amount of chances you get as a striker, which then drastically increases the percentage of probable goals – the two are directly correlated (it isn’t complicated). It has been 19 years since the PL top scorer has played in a team outside the top 4 (Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink for Chelsea), and they still finished 6th that season. Furthermore, how common is it that league top scorers come from a bottom 6 side? It’s not a common occurrence, I’ll tell you that much.

      The point is, there are players who, I believe, were incredible goal scorers but just played in some relatively poor teams. Given the chances a striker would get at a better team, this could have significantly improved their goal scoring statistics.

    2. Secondly, and most obviously, players who played more games have a chance of scoring more goals. So, in this case, the likes of Shearer & Cole, who spent their entire career in sunny England should technically have more goals than players who only spent 5 years in the premier league.

We are then left with the question; how then, do we accurately and fairly compare these players? Let me give it my best shot…

Players selected & Methodology used

I have selected these 5 players for a few reasons. Most notably because they are normally the main subjects for debate in the ‘greatest goal scorers in Premier League history’. Coupled with this, they also are the top scoring strikers since the PL’s inception in 1992.

There are a few strikers (e.g. Luis Suarez) that were prominent, but unfortunately didn’t spend enough time in the Premier League to enter this debate. It therefore would become a ‘what if’ analysis.

I have also assessed them over 8 years (from the ages 21-28), as this was the least amount of time spent in the Premier League of the 5 of them. Thierry Henry joined Arsenal at 21 and left for FC Barcelona at 28. All other players have spent more than 8 years in the Prem. You will notice I have asterisks’ next to Aguero’s name on the graphs. This is because he only arrived in the Premier League at age 23, and thus we have compiled his statistics from ages 23-30.

The methodology I have used is the most critical part of this article. If you don’t understand this then the analysis won’t make any sense to you. It is exactly the same methodology I created for my Messi vs Ronaldo article. Enter the GAC (Goal Assist Contribution) Methodology. Please note, and as mentioned, we will only be considering goals and not assists.

Methodology (GAC):

I created this GAC methodology because it emphasises the importance of contribution of goals to a specific team as opposed to absolute values.

If I could explain it this way. Player A scores 40 goals out of his team’s 110 goals, and player B scores 27 goals out of his team’s 70 goals. Although player A scored 13 more goals in absolute terms, he was actually only a part of 36% of the team’s goals whereas player B was a part of 39% of his team’s goals. Player B is thus contributing more value and is statistically the better goal scorer.

Why this methodology is so effective in assessing performances, is it completely nullifies the impact the ‘team effect’ has on a player’s goal scoring figures. It all boils down to margins and it’s all about value of goals scored as opposed to absolute numbers.

In other words, even if a player is playing for a ‘weaker’ team, the players direct contribution to his team’s goals is what matters. A percentage evaluation of a player’s contribution allows them to be compared fairly with someone playing for a ‘better’ or ‘worse’ team.

Critically, I have also adjusted it for their minutes played in a season. So, for example, if Andy Cole only played 80% of the total minutes available that season, his contribution will only be measured up against 80% of the total team’s goals.

One could call this ‘total available team goals’, as it doesn’t measure up his goals against team goals scored when he was on the bench. We are therefore assessing his impact when actually playing on the pitch. This methodology accurately depicts the value of their goals in the context of the total available team goals.

Put differently, using minutes as opposed to appearances voids the effect of coming off the bench. For example, a player could come off the bench and play 3 minutes and most likely not score. This is then counted as a cap, and it adversely effects his goal/game ratio.

In conclusion, what this methodology does, is isolate the player by excluding the variables of the team played in and the games not started. When you isolate this statistic as far as possible, only then does it become comparable.

Wayne Rooney, Alan Shearer, Andy Cole, Sergio Aguero, Thierry Henry, Premier League finishes
Respective players average PL finish between the ages of 21-28. *23-30 for Aguero

To give you context, this table shows the respective players average league finish from the ages 21-28 (23-30 for Aguero). Cole won 5 titles in this period, Rooney & Aguero won 4, Henry won 2 and Shearer won 1. Furthermore, Shearer had 3 of the 8 comparative years, playing for a team that finished outside the top 10, which is why his average league finish is far lower in comparison. In conclusion, Shearer played for a weaker team and as a result, it is fair to assume he was given less opportunities to score which then directly impacts the amounts of goals he scored.

This is why contribution to total team goals whilst playing is the most accurate metric to compare by.

So, without further ado, let’s have a look at the data and compare who was on average the best goal scorer from the ages 21-28 (Aguero 23-30).

Contribution value of Goals Scored

Wayne Rooney, Alan Shearer, Andy Cole, Sergio Aguero, Thierry Henry, Premier League, Total goals, average goals
*Ages 23-30 for Aguero

Accordingly, from the ages 21-28, Alan Shearer has been contributing more goals to his team’s total goals in comparison to the other four. Shearer comes in at a whopping contribution rate of 42.1% of the goals, followed by Henry at 37.5%. What this is saying, in layman’s terms, is that from the ages of 21-28, whenever Shearer was on the pitch he was scoring 42.1% of his teams goals – this is remarkable. To break it down further, I have created a graph that shows their respective goal contribution at different ages (remember, Aguero’s comparison is between the ages 23-30).

Wayne Rooney, Alan Shearer, Andy Cole, Sergio Aguero, Thierry Henry, Premier League, Total goals, average goals
*Ages 23-30 for Aguero

Alan Shearer, clearly the dominant goal scorer here. He is contributing more to his team’s goals in 6 of the 8 compared years. The other two are split between Henry and Aguero.

The next item to be discussed is that of non-penalty goals. It is true that some of these players were the first point of call for their team when the ref pointed to the spot. As a result, a larger contribution of their goals came from penalties. For instance, in the comparative years, Alan Shearer scored a total of 33 penalties whereas Andy Cole only scored 1.

Let’s see what the goal contribution looks like once one removes the effect of penalty kicks.

Wayne Rooney, Alan Shearer, Andy Cole, Sergio Aguero, Thierry Henry, non-penalty goals average
*Ages 23-30 for Aguero

Even when isolating open-play goals, Shearer still comes out on top with a contribution rate of 34.4% which is followed up by Aguero at 31.5% – a slight reduction in Alan’s his lead. Once again, I have also broken this down year by year for comparison purposes.

Wayne Rooney, Alan Shearer, Andy Cole, Sergio Aguero, Thierry Henry, non-penalty goals
*Ages 23-30 for Aguero

This one is slightly more evenly distributed with Shearer, Henry and Cole being more prolific in non-penalty goals in 2 years whilst Rooney & Aguero having 1 each.

In conclusion, and according to the data and methodology, Alan Shearer is thus the best goal scorer in Premier League history.

Fans from other clubs may be disgruntled with this, and if you happen to be one of them, please let me know your objections in the comments below and I’ll be sure to reply to them.

Thanks for reading!