At this point of the season, the race for the Premier League Golden Boot will be hotting up. Mohamed Salah has taken one huge step to winning the award after his four goal haul against Watford before the international break but although he is leading the scoring charts in the English top flight, the question I’m going to answer today is just how many minutes does he require per league goal.

But it is not just a question that I am going to answer for Mohamed Salah, it is one I can answer for each top scorer of the 20 top flight clubs as I investigate just how often it takes each of the 20 talisman in the division to breach the oppositions net.

As always Whoscored.com have supplied the necessary data, so a big thanks to them – so without further ado here is the Premier League table at the time of writing (Tuesday 27th March) with each clubs respective top scorer also listed:

R Team GF Topscorer Mins Goals Min/G
1 Manchester City 85 S. Agüero 1955 21 93
2 Manchester United 58 R. Lukaku 2521 14 180
3 Liverpool 73 M. Salah 2394 28 86
4 Tottenham 59 H. Kane 2442 24 102
5 Chelsea 52 E. Hazard 1868 11 170
6 Arsenal 55 A. Lacazette 1822 9 202
7 Burnley 27 C. Wood 1103 7 158
8 Leicester 45 J. Vardy 2538 14 181
9 Everton 37 W. Rooney 1930 10 193
10 Bournemouth 37 C. Wilson 1553 7 222
11 Watford 39 A. Doucouré 2700 7 386
12 Brighton 28 G. Murray 1731 11 157
13 Newcastle United 30 D. Gayle 1447 5 289
14 Swansea 25 J. Ayew 2319 6 387
15 Huddersfield 25 S. Mounie 1461 6 244
16 Crystal Palace 30 L. Milivojevic 2452 8 307
17 West Ham 36 J. Hernandez 1455 7 208
M. Arnautovic 1624 7              232
18 Southampton 29 C. Austin 599 6 100
19 Stoke 29 X. Shaqiri 2419 7 346
20 West Bromwich Albion 24 J. Rodriguez 2259 5 452
S. Rondón 2182 5              436

Now we can get an idea of just how efficient each talisman is and just how many minutes they require before scoring in the Premier League this season. If we work are way from the top then Sergio Aguero may not be leading the scoring charts but he is no slouch when it comes to efficiency.

The Argentine international requires 93 minutes per goal before scoring this season, which is not a bad ratio by any stretch of the imagination. However, he is not the most efficient player in the division as that honour is bestowed to Mohamed Salah.

Thanks to his quartet of goals against Watford before the international break it has meant that he now is scoring a goal every 86 minutes that he is on the pitch – therefore averaging more than a goal a game if we take each game as 90 minutes.

Aguero and Salah are the only players to be currently able to score a goal every 100 minutes or less, that is if we exclude Charlie Austin from the list due to the fact that he is something of an anomaly. The Southampton forward has scored 6 goals in 599 on pitch minutes, which is not a bad return in all fairness but you do wonder had he played more games this season whether he would be able to keep that ratio going, especially with the plight that the Saints are in.

If we take the top six Premier League talisman in isolation (one for each of the top half dozen clubs in the league) and then re-order them in terms of efficiency the list looks as follows:

R Team GF Topscorer Mins Goals Min/G
3 Liverpool 73 M. Salah 2394 28 86
1 Manchester City 85 S. Agüero 1955 21 93
4 Tottenham 59 H. Kane 2442 24 102
5 Chelsea 52 E. Hazard 1868 11 170
2 Manchester United 58 R. Lukaku 2521 14 180
6 Arsenal 55 A. Lacazette 1822 9 202

After the aforementioned Salah and Aguero you will see that the list is next occupied by Tottenham’s Harry Kane who scores a goal ever 102 minutes, therefore slightly more than one game but then we see something of a step change.
It takes Chelsea’s Eden Hazard just short of a goal every two matches while Romelu Lukakuh hits that marker exactly, while it takes Alexander Lacazette even longer to find the net for Arsenal with a goal every 202 minutes.

It shows how important a target and an efficient one to boot is this season, it is perhaps a slight surprise that Aguero does not top the ratio chart but you could argue that Salah’s four goals against Watford have just skewed that metric ever so slightly, even though the title race is wrapped up it will be an interesting battle to see not just who wins the Golden Boot but who is also the most efficient forward in the division.

That may well cover the top echelons of the Premier League table but what if we now look at the bottom? If we once again list all the top scorers in order of minutes to goal ratio, here is what it throws up – however this time we can go from bottom to top

R Team GF Topscorer Mins Goals Min/G
20 West Bromwich Albion 24 J. Rodriguez 2259 5 452
S. Rondón 2182 5 436
14 Swansea 25 J. Ayew 2319 6 387
11 Watford 39 A. Doucouré 2700 7 386
19 Stoke 29 X. Shaqiri 2419 7 346
16 Crystal Palace 30 L. Milivojevic 2452 8 307
13 Newcastle United 30 D. Gayle 1447 5 289
15 Huddersfield 25 S. Mounie 1461 6 244
M. Arnautovic 1624 7 232
10 Bournemouth 37 C. Wilson 1553 7 222
17 West Ham 36 J. Hernandez 1455 7 208
6 Arsenal 55 A. Lacazette 1822 9 202
9 Everton 37 W. Rooney 1930 10 193
8 Leicester 45 J. Vardy 2538 14 181
2 Manchester United 58 R. Lukaku 2521 14 180
5 Chelsea 52 E. Hazard 1868 11 170
7 Burnley 27 C. Wood 1103 7 158
12 Brighton 28 G. Murray 1731 11 157
4 Tottenham 59 H. Kane 2442 24 102
18 Southampton 29 C. Austin 599 6 100
1 Manchester City 85 S. Agüero 1955 21 93
3 Liverpool 73 M. Salah 2394 28 86

Just like in the Premier League table it does not make very good reading for West Brom as their top scorers also need the longest amount of time to find the net. Both Salomon Rondon and Jay Rodriguez have scored five goals in this campaign, but they need an average of five full games in which to find the net.

Those kind of numbers only point to one thing, that being relegation and if that is the return of your supposed goal getters then the ratios will be even worse the further you look down the list of players that Alan Pardew is currently in charge of.

If we were to hypothesise the the three clubs in the relegation zone where the ones whose players need the longest amount of minutes to find the net, we would see that it is one that does not quite ring true. As we mentioned Charlie Austin’s inactivity skews the list a great deal, although the fact that he is top scorer after such a long absence speaks volumes.

The other club in the drop zone at the time of writing is Stoke and they have the fourth worst return of all the 20 clubs’ top goal scorers so far. That means they just miss out on correlating with the hypothesis set out above, so in that case which two clubs are in a worst position then their current league placing would currently attest.

The first of those is Swansea, Jordan Ayew has scored six goals this season and requires an average of over four full matches in which to find the net (387 minutes in total) and the Ghanaian is pipped by Watford’s Abdoulaye Doucoure but just a solitary minute.

Again Watford’s top scorer this season requires over four matches per goal but this can come with the caveat that he is not a forward and is about par with someone’s contribution from that part of the pitch, it does however raise the question as to whether Watford’s striker are doing their fair share this season, looking at this you would have to say no.

Maybe a fairer metric and the best way to dilute the Charlie Austin anomaly would be to list those top scorers by minutes played and then see just how effective they are in front of goal – this time we will go minutes played from top to bottom:

R Team GF Topscorer Mins Goals Min/G
11 Watford 39 A. Doucouré 2700 7 386
8 Leicester 45 J. Vardy 2538 14 181
2 Manchester United 58 R. Lukaku 2521 14 180
16 Crystal Palace 30 L. Milivojevic 2452 8 307
4 Tottenham 59 H. Kane 2442 24 102
19 Stoke 29 X. Shaqiri 2419 7 346
3 Liverpool 73 M. Salah 2394 28 86
14 Swansea 25 J. Ayew 2319 6 387
20 West Bromwich Albion 24 J. Rodriguez 2259 5 452
20  West Bromwich Albion 24 S. Rondón 2182 5 436
1 Manchester City 85 S. Agüero 1955 21 93
9 Everton 37 W. Rooney 1930 10 193
5 Chelsea 52 E. Hazard 1868 11 170
6 Arsenal 55 A. Lacazette 1822 9 202
12 Brighton 28 G. Murray 1731 11 157
17 West Ham 36 M. Arnautovic 1624 7 232
10 Bournemouth 37 C. Wilson 1553 7 222
15 Huddersfield 25 S. Mounie 1461 6 244
17 West Ham 36 J. Hernandez 1455 7 208
13 Newcastle United 30 D. Gayle 1447 5 289
7 Burnley 27 C. Wood 1103 7 158
18 Southampton 29 C. Austin 599 6 100

Again Abdoulaye Doucoure pops up at the top of the list but this time he has played the most of all of the respective top scorers in the Premier League this season. One rational now here is that the more minutes you play the more opportunity to score.

Let’s see if that rings true with the players that sit behind the Watford midfielder, the first two names in that list are Jamie Vardy and Romelu Lukaku. Both these two forwards have been given plenty of game time for Leicester and Manchester United respectively and it shows in the amount of goals they have scored in the Premier League this season.

With 14 a piece they currently find themselves joint fifth in the Premier League scoring charts and looking at their on pitch minutes they score a goal exactly every other game (bar an additional minute for Leicester’s Jamie Vardy), this is also a point that is further reinforced by the likes of Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah.

Tottenham’s talisman has played the sixth highest amount of minutes of all the top goal scorers in the Premier League this season (one per club) and is the second highest scorer with 24 goals to his name, while Liverpool’s Salah sits eighth in the above chart and as we know leads Kane by 4 clear goals in the race for the Golden Boot.

So more minutes will lean to the fact that more goals will follow, however you do have to take your opportunities as on the flip side someone like Xhedran Shaqiri has played a large amount of minutes but has only scored seven goals, again in his defence you could well argue that the job of talisman at the Bet365 Stadium should be with someone else.

At the bottom list this is arguably where Charlie Austin’s true position should be, as fewer minutes will in theory lead to much fewer opportunities. However, if you were to look at that ratio in a positive light you could say that is a very impressive return and had he been fit all season then not only would have scored more than Southampton would not be as much trouble as they are now and Mauricio Pellegrino may also still be in employment.

Of the bottom nine names in the immediate list above, only one of those has broken double figures. That being Glenn Murray of Brighton, he has scored 11 goals for the Seagulls so far and is also scoring a goal less then every two matches.

His keen eye for goal has given Chris Hughton’s side a massive boost in their bid to beat the drop while five of the seven names below him currently ply their trade for a team in the bottom half of the table. The only who bucks that trend is Burnley’s Chris Wood who has played the second least amount of minutes out of all the respective top scorers at the time of writing.

So in conclusion, getting goals is undoubtedly vital but they need to come at a consistent pace if your club are to be fired up the league. The more minutes you get the more opportunities you will receive, that is unless you are Charlie Austin. Thanks for reading.

 

I hope this was of interest to you and if you would like to discuss any potential work ideas with me then please feel free to email me at realfootballmanwordpress@gmail.com as I am always looking to undertake additional projects to the ones I already have. Thanks, Dan.