London, England, 4th March 2023. Martin Odegaard of Arsenal celebrates during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London.

Where does Martin Odegaard rank in the best goalscoring seasons by PL midfielders?

Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard is enjoying one of the best-ever individual campaigns of modern times – but where does he rank among the best goalscoring midfielders of the Premier League era?

The Norwegian playmaker has scored five goals in his last five appearances for Mikel Arteta’s title-challenging Gunners, taking his tally to 15 goals for the campaign, reaching heights that brilliant players like David Silva, Christian Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes never have.

We’ve taken a look at the top 10 goalscoring seasons – open-play only (with apologies to Yaya Toure) – from midfielders in the Premier League era.

=10. Cesc Fabregas – 12 – 2009-10

The former Spain international previously held the record for the most open-play goals scored by an Arsenal midfielder in the Premier League era.

Fabregas notched 12 non-penalty goals in 2009-10 – a season in which he captained the club and finished as their top scorer at the age of 23.

=10. Frank Lampard – 12 – 2005-06

Forty-three of Lampard’s 177 Premier League goals were penalties – only Alan Shearer has scored more – but you don’t become Chelsea’s all-time top goalscorer without having a knack of scoring from open-play.

There’s been nobody better at arriving at the edge of the box, an art he perfected with 12 non-penalty goals as Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea retained their Premier League crown in 2005-06.

=10. Juan Mata – 12 – 2012-13

The Spaniard’s last full season at Chelsea was arguably his peak.

It wasn’t the best season for the Blues, with Roberto Di Matteo sacked and replaced with Rafael Benitez – but Mata credits his compatriot with getting the best out of him.

“I had a great experience with him (Benitez),” Mata recalled years later. “It was my best year in England, in which I had the best statistics.

“He gave me enormous confidence to play and made me feel important in the team.”

READ: Celebrating Juan Mata at Chelsea: Part creator, part cold-blooded killer

=10. Steven Gerrard – 12 – 2008-09

Gerrard was obviously going to feature somewhere, wasn’t he?

Only Mohamed Salah and Robbie Fowler have scored more Premier League goals for the Reds than their legendary former skipper.

His best return came in the 2008-09 campaign, in which Liverpool finished second. He finished ahead of Fernando Torres as the club’s top scorer that season with 24 goals in all competitions and 16 in the Premier League (four of which were penalties).

=5. Matt Le Tissier – 14 – 1994-95

The only player on this list to feature twice (more again later), Le Tissier scored 20 Premier League goals in the 1994-95 campaign, 14 of which came via open play.

=5. Paul Scholes – 14 – 2002-03

Ruud van Nistelrooy stole the show with 44 goals (25 in the Premier League) in the 2002-03 season – the only league title he won across his five years at Old Trafford.

But there were some exceptional performers elsewhere in Ferguson’s side that year, not least from Scholes – the England international produced his best-ever goalscoring season, notching 14 times for Manchester United.

=3. Martin Odegaard – 15 – 2022-23*

*Season ongoing

“I like his style, his intelligence and the way he moves to find small spaces to make a difference,” says Cesc Fabregas.

“He was 15 years old and now he’s captain of Arsenal. He reminds me a bit of me when they gave me the armband at 21. No it’s something not easy.

“Arsenal is a big club and people demand results. Everyone expects a lot from him.”

Fabregas probably knows what he’s talking about. 15 open play goals and a further seven assists is a stupendous return.

=3. Kevin De Bruyne – 15 – 2021-22

The Belgian had already won three Premier League titles with Pep Guardiola’s Man City but the 2021-22 campaign emphatically sealed his place among the best midfielders of the modern era.

De Bruyne scored 15 goals – his best-ever goalscoring return, making him City’s top scorer in the Premier League – as City pipped Liverpool in a thrilling title race.

=1. Dele Alli – 17 – 2016-17

Undoubtedly the most exciting English talent to emerge since Wayne Rooney, Dele was just 21 years old when he notched 18 goals (17 from open play) and a further seven assists for Tottenham as they finished runners-up in the 2016-17 campaign.

What happened?

=1. Matt Le Tissier – 17 – 1993-94

It’s up for some debate – no doubt an op funded a shadowy cabal – whether Le Tissier was a forward or an attacker, particularly during his most prolific campaign. But we’re classing him as a midfielder. Disagree? Tough.

A quarter of Le Tiss’ century of Premier League goals came in the 1993-94 campaign, in which he scored 25 goals as Southampton narrowly avoided the drop. Six of those goals were penalties, while a couple were free kicks, so it was 17 from open play.

That year Saints lost eight of their opening nine matches and only had 14 points from 21 matches at Christmas. Le Tissier’s ability to drag them out of the mire has to be regarded as one of the all-time great individual Premier League campaigns.

You have to ask yourself, though – did he actually score all those goals or is that just what the mainstream media want you to think?

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