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A goal-getter. An ultimate bagsman. A clinical striker. Who doesn’t adore a reliable frontman who is always good for a goal or two a match? Goals win games, after all.
When it comes to the Premier League, it has an abundance of top quality strikers, with the likes of Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and Boris Johnson’s nemesis Marcus Rashford scoring a few blinders in recent times. Still, it’s the strikers of old that we’re here to pay tribute to today. They’re the type of players who secure titles or European qualification, and players every side is always desperate to find.
To make a list of this magnitude (yes, we did just say that), you need to have something about you; a natural instinct in front of goal, for one. No matter how many times they spin on down to nature with Jungle Boogie slot or eat a Gregg’s pastie, these strikers had it all. Goals is what they did best, and no crazy amounts of lager or wild nights out got in the way of that.
So, with that in mind, here is a look at five of the best strikers to have ever graced the Premier League. We salute you, lads.
If Chelsea’s latest signing Timo Werner does half as well at Stamford Bridge as Gianfranco Zola did then he’ll be deemed a great success. The little Italian is a cult hero with Blues fans and, although his goal record isn’t as eye-catching as some of the other greats, Zola arguably had a better all-round game than them. The pint-sized Sardinian was full of tricks and flicks and entertained crowds throughout his career in England. He certainly made an impression, winning the Football Writers’ Player of the Year in 1997, two FA Cups, the League Cup and the Cup Winners’ Cup.
Arsenal and France legend Thierry Henry is arguably the best player on this list, and it’s easy to see why. The Invincible scored 175 goals in 258 games for the Gunners, with some of them still being shared around today. A Golden Boot winner four times, Henry scored goals all right. Classy goals. What a player.
Michael Owen tends to get a lot of stick for his punditry performances these days, but it’s easy to forget just how brilliant he was. At just 18, he burst onto the scene at Liverpool and – quite remarkably given his age – shared the Golden Boot in 1997/98. What came afterwards was one of the most iconic moments in English football history, as a ridiculously quick Owen tore through Argentina’s defence and scored that memorable World Cup goal. With 156 goals in 326 games and a Ballon d’Or winner in 2001, Owen had to make the list.
Ruud van Nistelrooy
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Ruud van Nistelrooy specialised in goals. He quite literally did nothing else. Scoring 95 goals in 150 games at Manchester United is no easy task, but Ruud did it with ease. He was named PFA Players’ Player of the Year and won the Premier League Golden Boot during his time at Old Trafford. Despite falling out with managerial legend Sir Alex Ferguson before leaving the club in 2006, the Dutchman will always be fondly remembered in Manchester.
Another Dutchman, Dennis Bergkamp’s classy displays will live long in the memories of Arsenal fans. With 87 goals in 315 games – alongside shedloads of assists – Bergkamp’s most memorable season came when he won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year after scoring 16 goals in 28 games in 1997/98. A majestic talent.