Premier League: The 28 members of the 100 club ranked by goal-per-game ratio

  • Kobe Tong

The Premier League 100 club is one of the most revered accolades in English football.

For as long as the division is considered the toughest in the world, reaching a century of goals amidst its unpredictability and physical challenges will always be an applaud-worthy achievement. 

Overall, 28 players have confirmed their place in the history books by reaching the magical 100 and Alan Shearer continues to lead the way with his record of 260 strikes.

And while most football fans are familiar with the rough order of the 100 club in terms of raw goal totals, their respective goal-per-game ratios are far less publicised.

Besides, while it’s certainly fitting that players like Ryan Giggs and Steven Gerrard are in the club, nobody is pretending as though they were goal-scorers of Sergio Aguero or Thierry Henry’s calibre.

Ranking the 100 club

With that in mind, we’ve decided to separate the deadliest from the deadly and the greatest from the great by calculating which 100-club members averaged a goal the most often.

You can check out how the 28 centurions are ordered down below as well as how many goals they scored in how many games and for which clubs across their illustrious careers.

28. Ryan Giggs – 0.17

Games: 632

Goals: 109

Club(s): Manchester United

In a week where Giggs has been branded the ‘Premier League’s most overrated player of all time’, coming rock bottom isn’t exactly a good look, but goal-scoring was low down on the Welshman’s priority list at Old Trafford.

The United legend’s longevity certainly hurts him here and with each season he extended his career with brilliant fitness work, the more his goal-scoring record suffered from deeper-lying positions. 

27. Emile Heskey – 0.21

Games: 516

Goals: 110

Club(s): Leicester City, Liverpool, Birmingham City, Wigan Athletic and Aston Villa

So often the unfair butt of jokes in English football, Heskey was never the most prolific striker in the world, but it was never his sharp finishing that made him so integral to both England and Liverpool.

Instead, it was his brilliant hold-up play that made him such a valuable asset, although it goes without saying that his goal-scoring rate dramatically tailed off near the back end of his career.

26. Paul Scholes – 0.21

Games: 499

Goals: 107

Club(s): Manchester United

Similarly to Giggs, you’re bound to reach the 100 club when you play so many games for United teams that hoovered up 13 Premier League titles, even if you aren’t exactly deadly in front of goal.

So, yes, Scholes certainly had a screamer and the odd bullet header up his sleeve, but a highest-scoring league season of 14 strikes means this sort of position in the rankings feels about right.

25. Peter Crouch – 0.23

Games: 468

Goals: 108

Club(s): Aston Villa, Southampton, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City

Like Heskey, Crouch was often deployed for his hold-up play and struggled during his early days at Villa, but lest we forget that nobody has scored more headed goals in Premier League history.

Plus, Crouch’s statistics have been slightly harmed by the fact he holds the record for substitute appearances and thus, many of his final games in the league were mere cameos.

24. Steven Gerrard – 0.24

Games: 504

Goals: 120

Club(s): Liverpool

Longevity, set-pieces and playing for a top club are the key factors for Gerrard who, despite popping up with screamers when his club needed them most, was always more focused on creating goals than scoring them.

23. Frank Lampard – 0.29

Games: 609

Goals: 177

Club(s): West Ham United, Chelsea and Manchester City

This goes to show just how much of a disadvantage midfielders have in this list and even the most prolific non-striker in Premier League history can barely smuggle himself a place in the top 20.

Nevertheless, he showed the sort of form during the 2009/10 campaign, where he racked up a stunning 22 goals, that produced the goal-to-game ratio you’d expect from a top-class number nine.

22. Jermain Defoe – 0.33

Games: 496

Goals: 162

Club(s): West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur, Portsmouth, Sunderland and Bournemouth

Nobody has scored more Premier League goals off the bench than Defoe and perhaps having fewer minutes to his name per appearance has hurt his ranking amongst his fellow centurions.

21. Dwight Yorke – 0.33

Games: 375

Goals: 123

Club(s): Aston Villa, Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City and Sunderland

An unselfish striker most famous for his link-up play with another centurion, Yorke was more about consistency than scoring an outright glut of goals, only reaching 20 Premier League strikes in a season once.

And sadly for his chances on the list, those late-career outings with Blackburn and Birmingham take the statistical sting out of more prolific days with United, where he won the 1998/99 Golden Boot.

20. Nicolas Anelka – 0.34

Games: 364

Goals: 125

Club(s): Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Bolton Wanderers, Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion

In truth, Anelka never really replicated the form he showed when he first burst on the scene with Arsenal, although winning the Golden Boot in his first season with Chelsea is so often overlooked.

That being said, dropping down to then mid-table City and Bolton sides didn’t exactly help his goal-scoring chances and nor did playing many of his peak years out in Spain and France.

19. Teddy Sheringham – 0.35

Games: 418

Goals: 146

Club(s): Nottingham Forest, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Portsmouth and West Ham United

The scorer of the first ever televised Premier League goal was one of the competition’s most prolific strikers during the 1990s and went on to extend his scoring pomp by moving to United in 1997.

Like many of the forwards lower down on the list, though, longevity has served as a disadvantage and the fact Sheringham is the competition’s oldest every goalscorer should tell you everything.

18. Robbie Keane – 0.36

Games: 349

Goals: 126

Club(s): Coventry City, Leeds United, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, West Ham United and Aston Villa

When you look at the roster of teams that Keane turned out for – bearing in mind his Liverpool spell lasted all of six months – you get an idea of just how deadly the Irishman was in front of goal.

Those seven seasons at White Hart Lane in the middle of his career will forever make him a Premier League legend and he remained prolific up until the day he made loan cameos from the MLS.

17. Dion Dublin – 0.36

Games: 312

Goals: 111

Club(s): Manchester United, Coventry City and Aston Villa

Another striker who wasn’t necessarily the most glamorous, but always got the job done, Dublin deserves extra credit for reaching the 100 club without ever really playing for a title-challenging team.

16. Matt Le Tissier – 0.37

Games: 270

Goals: 100

Club(s): Southampton

Le Tissier might have crawled into the 100 club by the skin of his teeth, scoring a last-minute winner during the final game at The Dell, but his ratio in front of goal puts him amongst esteemed company.

It’s pretty remarkable when you consider Le Tissier’s self-confessed fitness issues and sometimes deep-lying role, yet his eye for a Goal of the Season contender said everything about his eye for goal.

15. Darren Bent – 0.38

Games: 276

Goals: 106

Club(s): Ipswich Town, Charlton Athletic, Tottenham Hotspur, Sunderland, Aston Villa and Fulham

When people are asked to name every striker in the 100 club, you can be certain that Bent is one of the forwards people will forget with the Englishman seemingly going about his work under the radar.

It wasn’t until later in his career that Bent was given a deserved run in the England team and like many in this area of the list, he achieved it all without playing for a Champions League side.

14. Didier Drogba – 0.41

Games: 254

Goals: 104

Club(s): Chelsea

Drogba revisionists will be rubbing their hands together at the sight of the Chelsea legend this ‘low’ in the pecking order and, yes, it goes without saying that his zenith was largely reserved for two seasons.

But there was so much more to Drogba’s game than his out-and-out goal-scoring and why should we slam those ‘anomalous’ 2006-07 and 2009/10 campaigns when they reaped Golden Boots?

13. Wayne Rooney – 0.42

Games: 494

Goals: 208

Club(s): Everton and Manchester United

The second highest scorer in Premier League history as well as the record holder for both United and England, 13th seems a little underwhelming for a player of Rooney’s stature.

However, it should be tempered by the fact Rooney was willing to play anywhere on the pitch for the team and the high intensity of his early years certainly took away an edge from his twilight seasons.

12. Les Ferdinand – 0.42

Games: 351

Goals: 149

Club(s): Queens Park Rangers, Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United, Leicester City and Bolton Wanderers

During his two seasons at Newcastle, there was simply no stopping Ferdinand and who knows, he could have elevated himself much higher in the standings if that deadly Shearer partnership lasted a little longer.

11. Robbie Fowler – 0.43

Games: 379

Goals: 162

Club(s): Liverpool, Leeds United and Manchester City

Seldom has a striker ever made such an instant impact on the Premier League than ‘God’ and perhaps it’s only because of the rise of another Liverpool centurion that his flame burnt out so soon.

It’s always been a shame that Fowler never maintained the insane goal-scoring rate of his first few seasons at Liverpool and he never enjoyed the same sort of success away from Anfield.

10. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink – 0.44

Games: 288

Goals: 127

Club(s): Leeds United, Chelsea, Middlesbrough and Charlton Athletic

We’ve finally entered the top 10 and we start with a striker who doesn’t get anywhere near the amount of credit he deserves from Chelsea fans. Yes, there was a time before Roman Abramovich.

The Dutchman won two Golden Boots in three seasons during his prime and even smashed home 17 goals during his final season with the Blues, by which point a certain ‘Special One’ arrived.

9. Andrew Cole – 0.45

Games: 414

Goals: 187

Club(s): Newcastle United, Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers, Fulham, Manchester City and Portsmouth

Your guess as to why Cole is so rarely lauded by Premier League fans is as good as ours, especially when his goal-per-game ratio supposedly being average is a downright myth.

Cole was simply unstoppable during his early days at Newcastle – collecting 34 goals and 13 assists in the 1993/94 season(!!!) – before cementing his legacy with an underrated 121 strikes at United.

8. Romelu Lukaku – 0.45

Games: 252

Goals: 113

Club(s): West Bromwich Albion, Everton and Manchester United

As time goes by, the fact United sold Lukaku so flippantly will continue to look weirder and weirder, especially when he joined the 100 club at just 24 years old, the fourth youngest age of any entrant.

Admittedly, though, his most prolific seasons did come in an Everton jersey, but let that serve as evidence that Lukaku didn’t need top-tier teammates around him to score so consistently.

7. Michael Owen – 0.46

Games: 326

Goals: 150

Club(s): Liverpool, Newcastle United, Manchester United and Stoke City

Injuries and an ill-judged move to Real Madrid arguably robbed Owen of a shot at Shearer’s record, but the Ballon d’Or winner will always live long in the memory for those explosive early days with Liverpool.

6. Robin van Persie – 0.51

Games: 280

Goals: 144

Club(s): Arsenal and Manchester United

Considering it seemed to take Van Persie a good half-decade to crank into gear at Arsenal, his sixth-place ranking goes to show just how unstoppable he was when he finally reached his peak.

A stellar end to the 2010/11 season, followed by a PFA Player of the Year award and then a second consecutive Golden Boot after moving to United makes for one dizzying zenith.

5. Ian Wright – 0.53

Games: 213

Goals: 113

Club(s): Arsenal and West Ham United

Few strikers entered the Premier League era on such a high as Wright, consistently scoring 30 goals a season despite Arsenal initially failing to compete for the title.

When the Gunners found themselves in the mix, Arsene Wenger had started to cut Wright’s playing time, but the Englishman had already been prolific enough to solidify his position in the top 10.

4. Alan Shearer – 0.59

Games: 441

Goals: 260

Club(s): Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United

Did Shearer slowly rack up his goals over a dragged out period of time? Did he heck.

The Premier League’s all-time top scorer is best remembered for his spell Newcastle, but it was his early days with Blackburn that produced goals that would be talked about for days on end if they were scored in the last 15 years.

3. Harry Kane – 0.68

Games: 201

Goals: 136

Club(s): Tottenham Hotspur

If anyone is going to dethrone Shearer’s record in the future, then Kane is probably the man having rushed to 100 goals before his 25th birthday and potentially staying loyal to boyhood club Spurs.

And although injuries have curtailed his run rate over the last two seasons, an initial rise of back-to-back Golden Boot wins shows he’s more than capable of reaching 200 regardless of Tottenham’s form.

2. Thierry Henry – 0.68

Games: 258

Goals: 175

Club(s): Arsenal

Recently voted the greatest player in Premier League history, Shearer might have been kissing his number one status goodbye if the Frenchman spent a couple more seasons in north London.

Henry holds the record for most Golden Boot trophies (4) and astonishingly accumulated more goal and assists combined than any other player in the league for four seasons out of five.

1. Sergio Aguero – 0.69

Games: 261

Goals: 180

Club(s): Manchester City

Numero uno. Despite only having one Golden Boot to his name, Aguero is unerringly consistent when he bears down on goal and has only failed to reach 20 goals in a season for City once.

The Argentine even proved Pep Guardiola wrong with this ruthless finishes and although 260 goals might be too far out of reach, don’t be surprised if he hangs on to his gold medal for scoring rate. 

28 brilliant goalscorers

We bet at least one member of the top ten surprised you, surely!

Lukaku is one of the underrated strikers in the competition’s history and has scored consistently with every club that has given him a chance, so his eight-place finish deserves far more credit than it receives.

Further down the rankings and while, yes, Wright has always been revered in English football, his Premier League goals are never given the attention you’d think a fifth-place ranking would warrant. 

And after 260-goal Shearer soundly settles into fourth, many supporters might be surprised to see a pair of contemporary strikers surrounding Henry, who boasted the best goal-to-game ratio for over a decade.

Only time will whether Kane and Aguero will continue to be prolific enough to remain on the podium, but let it underline the fact that the Premier League’s 100 club is an ever-changing environment.

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