11 surprisingly good Premier League goalscorers: Murray, Le Fondre, Bent…
Brighton, Newcastle United and Tottenham have all been able to call upon the services of Premier League goalscorers who perhaps did not get the credit their records deserved.
We have a massive soft spot for strikers who, despite having limitations with other parts of their game, still have that knack of knowing how to hit the back of the net, sometimes more so than more illustrious names.
We’ve taken a look at 11 forwards who have a goalscoring record in the Premier League which may take you by surprise.
Part of the reason we love strikers whose only real specialty is scoring goals is that for a club in the bottom half of the division, being able to rely on a player to reach double figures can be priceless.
Murray has played at every level of the Football League, and even outside it, and while he has been most prolific in the Championship, his record in the Premier League is still admirable.
His first spell in the competition was blighted by a serious knee injury suffered in the play-off semi-finals with Crystal Palace, but he still managed to bag seven goals in 866 minutes for the Eagles in 2014-15.
Three goals in 669 minutes followed at Bournemouth in 2015-16, including a winner against Chelsea, but he has truly flourished at Brighton under Chris Hughton.
His 12 Premier League goals in 2017-18 came at a rate marginally higher than one ever other game, leading to suggestions the 34-year-old could be called up to the England squad.
Those goals earned Brighton seven points – exactly the number they finished above the relegation zone.
Yakubu is widely regarded as an excellent Premier League striker but, given the way his career somewhat petered out, it’s perhaps forgotten just how good he was, especially considering the teams he played for.
The former Nigeria international initially took the division by storm for newly-promoted Portsmouth, bagging 16 goals in his first season in the competition. In fact, he scored double figures in his first five seasons in England’s top flight.
After firing Everton to fifth and becoming the first Toffees player since Peter Beardsley to net 20 goals in a season, a couple of fallow years followed as a ruptured Achilles tendon ruled the striker out for almost 12 months.
As a result, he had to drop down to the Championship to rediscover his mojo on loan at Leicester and he returned to the Premier League to bag 17 goals for Blackburn Rovers in a side which was ultimately relegated.
Adam Le Fondre
The sixth most prolific striker in Premier League history in terms of goals per minute, Le Fondre’s solitary season in the Premier League with Reading saw him record a strike rate of one goal every 124.4 minutes.
FourFourTwo summed up his top-flight career best: “[It] featured more goals (12) than starts (11) – his final eight strikes all came from the bench (well, not literally) as he secured super-sub status.
“He scored seven equalisers and two winners for Reading, and was named January’s player of the month despite not playing 90 minutes… in total.”
A player of whom it is often said is too good for the Championship but not good enough for the Premier League.
Indeed, he has never come close to matching the 23 goals he scored in the second tier to earn Newcastle promotion, but a closer look at his top-flight figures are better than he is given credit for.
In three seasons at Crystal Palace he never made more starts than substitute appearances, but he still ended with an overall record of one goal every 182.9 minutes, finishing as the club’s top goalscorer in all competitions every year.
Admittedly, he admitted he should have done better with Newcastle in 2017-18, saying: “Perhaps I didn’t get as many goals as I should have done, but I was getting opportunities. If I continue to get those opportunities I will score goals.”
One of the Premier League’s greatest super subs, Bent’s top-flight career will always be unfairly remembered by Harry Redknapp’s reaction to one of the striker’s misses for Tottenham: “My missus could have scored that one.”
Despite Redknapp’s less than encouraging words, Bent, who often struggled for game time at Tottenham amid competition from the likes of Robbie Keane, Dimitar Berbatov and Roman Pavlyuchenko, finished 2008-09 as Spurs’ top scorer.
Of his 11 seasons in the Premier League, Bent only appeared for clubs who finished higher than 10th on two occasions, and was the top English scorer in the division twice, with his personal best coming in the form of 24 goals at Sunderland in 2009-10.
We can’t help but feel pleased for Niasse whenever he finds himself on the scoresheet for Everton.
Signed by Roberto Martinez, Niasse was completely frozen out by Ronald Koeman, so much so that he wasn’t even given a locker, never mind a squad number, by the Toffees.
After a productive loan spell at Hull City, Niasse returned to Goodison Park and worked his way back into the first team.
While he may have his limitations, eight goals lin 2017-18 at a rate of one every 127.9 minutes is a pretty good return.
Did you know that Lambert went from working in a beetroot factory to scoring a shedload of goals at every level of the Football League to scoring with his first touch on his England debut?
Oh, you did. That’s awkward.
Still, scoring 15 and 13 goals with Southampton after finally reaching the Premier League by the age of 30 was a wonderful achievement.
The move to Liverpool did not exactly work out, but it’s hard to begrudge him the chance to appear for his boyhood club.
Part of George Burley’s remarkable Ipswich team which earned promotion to the Premier League then finished fifth at the first time of asking to qualify for the UEFA Cup.
Much of that success was down to Stewart, who notched 19 goals, although they suffered relegation the following year.
A record of 30 goals in 102 appearances is decent for a forward who is playing for a bottom half team, but look a little closer and the stats show just how threatening King is when deployed as a central striker rather than on the wing.
Twenty-five of those goals were scored when the Norway international played through the middle, with his most notable streak coming in 2016-17, ending the campaign with 16 Premier League goals – 13 of which came in 26 matches as a central striker.
The arrival of Jermain Defoe for the following season saw King shunted from his favoured role, and he made his frustrations clear.
“I don’t like to make excuses but I have to say I was surprised when I returned in pre-season and was moved into a deeper position having done so well the year before,” King told Norwegian newspaper newspaper VG.
“I’m not happy and my manager knows that. I have talked to the boss and told him that I don’t like this role, but what is said between us stays in that room. It’s not secret that I don’t like it. I’m a striker and that’s where I’m at my best.
“People might say I’m selfish complaining when I play regularly but the numbers speak for themselves: I’m best as a striker. If you look at me as a player, I think nobody would say that I’m a No10.”
Look, we publish a lot of quizzes, and alongside Nicolas Anelka, Armstrong’s name is likely to earn you a few correct answers you would never normally get.
A 15-goal haul in the inaugural Premier League campaign was not enough to save Crystal Palace from relegation, but it eventually earned a move to Tottenham in 1995, where he enjoyed 15- and 14-goal seasons.
Wales, Nigeria and the Republic of Ireland all tried to earn Armstrong’s international allegiance, but he rejected their advances, making one appearance for England B and being a non-playing member of the senior squad in 1999.
Holdsworth made the step up from the Third Division to the Premier League appear easy when he first joined Wimbledon ahead of the 1992-93 season.
He scored 19 goals in his first campaign, finishing behind Les Ferdinand and Teddy Sheringham in the goalscoring charts, and followed that up with a further 17 in 1993-94.
Holdsworth would never be quite so prolific again, although he did reach double figures in 1995-96.