The goal glut: Why Premier League strikers have never had it so good...


The English league is the richest in the world and most of the money is spent on  forwards. Manchester City bought two central defenders this summer while Liverpool paid a lot of money for full back Glen Johnson. But when was the last time Manchester United spent heavily on a goalkeeper or a defender?

The same goes for Chelsea and, to a lesser extent, Arsenal. These days, when teams want to make progress they buy forwards. It is the quickest way to increase your effectiveness but you can only do it if you are rich. Torres, Anelka, Arshavin, Berbatov, Defoe, Adebayor, Tevez. This is where the money goes. If these guys were not scoring lots of goals we would be asking why.

Liverpool's Fernando Torres

Deadly: Torres notched a hat-trick against Hull, making him the Premier League's top scorer


This season the traditional top-four clubs have two genuine challengers whose move towards the next level has been founded on the purchase of great attacking players.

City have spent millions on Robinho, Emmanuel Adebayor, Craig Bellamy, Carlos Tevez and Roque Santa Cruz while Tottenham have Robbie Keane, Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe.

Adebayor, Bellamy, Tevez, Keane and Defoe have scored 19 league goals between
them and it is only September

Stoke manager Tony Pulis said: ‘You certainly have to put Tottenham up there with the dangerous teams now. They have such an array of goalscorers.’

Robbie Keane of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates

Four star: Keane and Spurs have an array of riches up front, with Defoe, Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko vying for starts


There is a misconception this season that the Barclays Premier League is getting stronger. It is more competitive among the top six or seven but outside that the levels are low. It was like this last season and the gap has got wider.

Clubs like Hull City and Burnley, to single out two, cannot compete. Losing ‘bigger’ clubs like Newcastle and Middlesbrough has given others a chance but if Burnley have a weekly wage ceiling of £15,000 a week it stands to reason that they will have to over-perform to survive.

When their standards drop or injuries kick in, they will take a hiding from time to time. Burnley have conceded 14 goals away from home this season and Hull have shipped 13. End of story.


As the coach of one of the most adventurous teams, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is worth listening to. He believes that English football has developed a more adventurous approach to the art of winning —fighting fire with fire.

Fans used to seeing their teams play with one centre forward may not agree but
Wenger said: ‘It’s unbelievable. I’m quite surprised as teams have become so much more offensive. There is a more positive attitude from the smaller teams, they try to
score goals. You had Wolves against Sunderland and there were seven goals. Even
when it went 2-1, the other team goes to attack.’

Arsenal are the second highest scorers in the league, behind Liverpool, so Wenger is
perhaps speaking from a position of strength. 


Football is designed to benefit attacking players these days. The offside law is weighted in their favour while tackling has to be a much more precise art.

Former referee and Sportsmail columnist Graham Poll said: ‘Without exception, every modern rule change is made with a view to encouraging goals and making the game more attacking. It is what FIFA want. If you grow up wanting to be a footballer these days then it makes sense to try to be a forward.’

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now