Arsenal are looking to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for goals
The Premier League restarts this weekend with fans of last season’s top six dreaming of lifting the trophy in May, but how important is a 20-goal-a-season striker for a title-chasing team?
The pick of the opening round of fixtures sees Arsenal host champions Manchester City on Super Sunday, with the Gunners hoping to challenge for their first Premier League title since 2003/04 – when Thierry Henry top scored with 30 goals.
Since then, they have only had five players who have scored 20 or more goals in a single Premier League season, with Alexis Sanchez and Robin van Persie the only players to have achieved the feat in the last 10 campaigns.
Arsenal’s Premier League top scorers
2011/12Robin van Persie30
2010/11Robin van Persie18
2008/09Robin van Persie11
Unai Emery will be hoping club-record signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can join Arsenal’s exclusive 20-goal-a-season club in 2018/19.
Arsenal players to score 20+ Premier League goals in a season
Thierry HenryIan WrightEmmanuel AdebayorAlexis SanchezRobin Van Persie
Emery can test Guardiola
Unai Emery’s meetings with Pep Guardiola in Spain suggest he knows how to cause him problems.
The Gabon international scored 10 goals in 13 Premier League appearances last season following his January move from Borussia Dortmund, finishing the campaign with nine goals in his last nine Premier League starts.
Over the course of the whole campaign, Aubameyang scored 23 goals in 29 Premier League and Bundesliga appearances, making it the third consecutive season in which he has scored more than 20 league goals.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s league scoring record
Arsenal will certainly need him at his best against City. They failed to score in four of their last 10 meetings against the other top six-teams last season, with only Chelsea (nine) scoring fewer than their 10 goals.
They only won one of those games, picking up just six points from a possible 30, but history suggests a full season with a free-scoring striker like Aubameyang will give them a far better chance of rivalling the rest of the top six and climbing back into the top four – or even higher.
In each of the last nine seasons, the top scorer for the Premier League’s title-winning team has scored a minimum of 20 goals. Those top scorers have been forwards in eight seasons out of nine, with the only exception being Yaya Toure, who scored 20 goals from midfield for City in 2013/14.
Premier League title-winning top scorers
SeasonTitle winnerTop scorerGoals
2017/18Man CitySergio Aguero21
2013/14Man CityYaya Toure20
2012/13Man UtdRobin van Persie26
2011/12Man CitySergio Aguero23
2010/11Man UtdDimitar Berbatov20
It has not always been so common, however. In the first 12 seasons of the 20-team Premier League, the top scorer of the title-winning team only scored 20 or more goals on four occasions.
It proves there is more than one way to win the title – in Chelsea’s triumphant 2004/05 season, Frank Lampard top-scored with just 13 goals – but the trend of recent years suggests a 20-goal-a-season striker is more important than ever.