2018-19 season rewind: Top 4 strike pairings in the Premier League outside the top-six
The 2018-19 season of the Premier League lived up to the expectations and produced some enthralling encounters, incredible individual performances, moments of sheer brilliance and pure ecstasy, as Man City successfully defended their Premier League title by fending off a strong challenge from Liverpool.
However, the most interesting thing was that the 2018-19 season proved to be the most prolific season in the history of the Premier League, with a total of 1072 goals being recorded over the course of the campaign.
Christian Eriksen’s equaliser for Spurs against Everton on the final day registered the 1067th goal of the season, eclipsing the previous record of 1066 goals scored in the 2011-12 eason.
Unsurprisingly, City were the highest scorers in the Premier League this past season with 95 goals, 11 short of what Pep Guardiola’s side had managed over the course of their triumphant 2017-18 campaign.
Liverpool were the second-best in that aspect with 89 goals, as the likes of Sadio Mane and Mo Salah shared the Golden Boot with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Salah didn’t quite manage to replicate his feat of scoring 32 goals in the Premier League but his tally of 22 for the season wasn’t bad either, and more importantly, he finished as the top-scorer alongside Mane and Aubameyang, which shows he is right up there with the very best when it comes to finding the net.
The trio of Salah, Firmino and Mane for Liverpool, Aubameyang-Lacazette for Arsenal, Heung-min Son and Harry Kane for Spurs and the title-winning combination of Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero up front for Man City all produced amazing numbers in terms of goals and assists.
However, it is definitely worth taking a look at some of the less acclaimed strike forces from the 2018-19 season of the Premier League, featuring players from outside the top-six clubs.
Leaving the heavyweights aside, here are 3 combinations that became a force to reckon with in the division last season.
1. Callum Wilson, Josh King and Ryan Fraser
Bournemouth’s leaky backline and poor defensive record might have only secured them 14th-place finish in the Premier League last season but the front trio of Callum Wilson, Joshua King and Ryan Fraser earned plenty of plaudits for their consistent, impressive displays up front.
Wilson (14 goals, 9 assists) tops the list with the most goal contributions, while the likes of Ryan Fraser (7 goals, 14 assists) and Joshua King (12 goals, 3 assists) are not far behind.
As a matter of fact, only Chelsea’s Eden Hazard bettered Fraser’s tally with 15 assists to his name. The trio contributed with a total of 33 goals in the Premier League, which accounts for 58.93% of Bournemouth’s grand total of 56 goals last season.
Fraser’s influential presence in a wide role on the left allowed Eddie Howe the luxury of using the likes of King and Wilson up front to spearhead the attack, with all the three players flourishing under the manager’s quick passing and counter-attacking philosophy.
Wilson’s stellar run of form earned him his first England cap last year, which is certainly a barometer of the kind of impact he made for the south coast club.
The 27-year-old netted a brace in the 3-0 victory over Fulham in October and was heavily involved in the 5-0 demolition of Brighton, where he claimed two assists and a goal, although his most productive outing came in the 3-3 draw against Southampton, with Wilson scoring twice and assisting another.
Bournemouth’s prolific front trio couldn’t replicate the numbers of their counterparts from Liverpool and Man City but they won a lot of hearts, nevertheless.
2. Troy Deeney and Gerard Deulofeu
A 4-1 defeat at the hands of West Ham on the final day saw Watford miss out on a top-ten finish but Javi Gracia’s side put up a number of impressive displays in the Premier League and were one of the teams to beat outside the top-six over the entirety of the campaign.
The likes of Troy Deeney and Gerard Deulofeu were the key men up front for the Hornets, as the duo chipped in with valuable goals and assists, not only in the Premier League but in the Hornets’ run to the finals of the FA Cup as well.
Deulofeu contributed with 10 goals and 5 assists while Deeney wasn’t far behind with 9 goals and 5 assists, as the duo racked up a total of 19 goals in the Premier League last season. Watford finished the campaign with a grand total of 52 goals, with Deulofeu and Deeney involved in 36.5% of that tally.
Deolufeu’s pace, trickery and movement made him a constant threat in the final third, with Deeney playing more of a target-man role as the focal point of the attack.
The Spaniard struck braces against Huddersfield Town as well as in the FA Cup semi-final against Wolves, although his hat-trick and an assist in the 5-1 humiliation of Cardiff City was his most productive outing.
Despite the duo’s best efforts, the Hornets were unlucky to miss out on the Europa League qualification spot.
3. Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood
Burnley only managed a 15th-place finish in the Premier League after hovering around the relegation zone for large quarters of the campaign and the Clarets’ scoring record of 45 goals in 38 games was the second-worst outside the bottom three, with Dyche’s side only bettering Brighton’s tally of 35 in that regard.
Well, we all know that Sean Dyche’s old-school defensive approach and long-ball philosophy doesn’t make Burnley a particularly exciting team to watch but as a matter of fact, they too had some standout performers.
While teenage sensation Dwight McNeil made the headlines in his impressive breakthrough season at Turf Moor, the likes of Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes chipped in with some crucial goals up front.
Barnes bagged 12 goals in the Premier League and finished as Burnley’s top scorer, whilst Wood also managed to hit the 10-goal mark in successive seasons.
Now, it doesn’t require a rocket scientist to justify the inclusion of Wood and Barnes in this list. The fans might argue that they aren’t the best of players to watch on the field but their combined tally of 22 goals accounted for 49.88% of the total goals Burnley scored in the Premier League last season.
4. Gylfi Sigurdsson and Richarlison
Everton finished 8th in the Premier League last season and fell three points adrift of Wolves for the Europa League qualification spot, with the lack of a prolific centre-forward proving to be a massive stumbling block in Marco Silva’s pursuit of a top-six finish.
However, Sigurdsson, who played as an auxiliary striker in that No.10 role in the manager’s 4-2-3-1 formation, put in a number of standout performances to finish as the most productive attacking player for the Toffees, with 13 goals and 6 assists to his name.
Richarlison was often drafted in as a centre-forward and also played out wide on either flank, with the Brazilian also registering 13 goals for the season.
Both the aforementioned players formed a deadly goal threat up front for Everton, with each of them registering their personal-best goal tally (13) in the Premier League.
Sigurdsson, in particular, was always a key presence in the final third with his creativity and the Icelandic international scored some absolute screamers, whilst Richarlison often tormented defences with his pace, power and clinical finishing.
Richarlison and Sigurdsson scored 26 out of Everton’s grand total of 54 goals in the Premier League last season, which comes to direct involvement in 48.15% of the goals.