Joining the Premier League 100 club is one of the biggest achievements in English football.
Since the rebranding of the country’s top division in 1992, some of the world’s best strikers have taken to its shores and cut their teeth in some of the most competitive fixtures in all of sport.
Globally revered strikers who have succeeded elsewhere and failed in England have come in their droves, but a select few have been able to handle the pressure to maintain their goal-scoring.
As a result, only a select few players – 28, to be exact – have ever surpassed a century of goals in the competition and they can enjoy retirement safe in the knowledge they’ve achieved something special.
But even in one of football’s most exclusive groups, you’re not safe from comparisons and football fans will always be acutely aware of which 100-club members they’d prefer in their teams.
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Premier League 100 club
So, here at GIVEMESPORT, we’ve decided to sift through the legendary members by ranking them into categories ranging from ‘making up the numbers’ to ‘God tier’ on the popular website TierMaker.
It goes without saying that all 28 members are incredible in their own right, so finishing low down is by no means a major criticism, and we’re judging the players on their league goal-scoring alone.
You can check out our final decisions down below, as well as the full graphic, so get scrolling and see which decisions you strongly agree with or vehemently protest.
Making up the numbers
If you’re looking at this decision at first glance, you’d think we’re some sort of Manchester United haters who staggeringly don’t think Giggs or Scholes were top players. That’s not the case.
The pair of Old Trafford stars are two of the Premier League‘s greatest ever players, but let’s face it, we’re judging them on goal-scoring against a bunch of prolific strikers, they’re never going to compare favourably.
Their role never involved scoring 20 goals a season, though they were decent finishers, meaning they find themselves 28th and 26th respectively in the 100-club’s goal-per-game ratios.
So, yes, as far as that judging criteria is concerned, we have to doubt whether Scholes and Giggs would have reached a century if they hadn’t have played under Sir Alex Ferguson’s 13-time champions for the entirety of their careers.
Middle of the road
It’s hard to come up with a title for this category that doesn’t sound harsh, because scoring 100 Premier League goals should never be sniffed at, but these three were never renowned as the sharpest finishers in the land.
Credit to Heskey for his early days with Leicester and Liverpool, as well as racking up 62 England caps, but his paltry goal-per-game ratio of 0.21 makes him the second least prolific member of the club ahead of Giggs.
In terms of Crouch, we’d be ranking the big man much higher if his Premier League scoring ratio was at a par with his England rate, we just can’t reward him anymore when he finishes 25th compared to his fellow members.
Fair play to Bent because he actually finds himself a lot higher up the statistical rankings (15th), but only passing the 20-goal mark in a Premier League season once – as well as never hacking it at the highest level – means this tier seems about right.
Best of the rest
Matt Le Tissier
The busiest category in the rankings. We’re reserving this middle-ground for those who were unquestionably prolific in their pomp without ever venturing into the very pinnacle of forward play.
So… are we saying Gerrard was never world-class!? Errr, of course not, but lest we forget that we’re talking about goal-scoring here and we can’t reward the Liverpool legend much higher without being downright biased.
That being said, almost averaging a goal every four games is pretty insane for a midfielder and he’d be ranked much higher if his heroic Champions League and FA Cup performances were up for consideration.
Le Tissier is similarly worthy of credit for scoring so many goals from deep, especially when half of them seemed to be Goal of the Season contenders, although scraping into the club on exactly 100 slightly holds him back.
Yorke, Keane, Defoe and Dublin all deserve credit for just how darn consistent they were in the Premier League and it’s credit to the competition’s dizzying standards that they’re ‘only’ in the midsection of this list.
Finally, Anelka is arguably the most frustrating entry for the fact he could have mixed it with very best had he maintained the form from his Arsenal days and his Golden Boot-winning debut season at Chelsea. Spoiler: He didn’t.
Look, we’re not pretending as though every Chelsea fan acts as though their history began in 2003, but why the heck isn’t Hasselbaink discussed more amongst the Premier League’s greatest?
The Dutchman bagged the Golden Boot twice in three seasons, the latter during his spell at Stamford Bridge, to boast a similar record to Didier Drogba’s despite playing in a much weaker Blues side.
As for Owen, how can a Ballon d’Or winner possibly be underrated? Well, his questionable punditry and bizarre United move seemed to have changed the narrative on one of England’s finest ever strikers.
It feels as though the teasing and joking surrounding his post-2004 career has taken away from how remarkable he was for Liverpool and boasts the seventh best goal-per-game ratio in the 100 club.
And on a similar point, people have so easily forgotten how lethal Lukaku was in England because, well, his first touch was poor at times and random clips were completely overblown on social media.
We’re talking about one of the youngest players in history to enter the Premier League 100 club and only seven of its members have ever reached the promised land with a deadlier rate in front of goal.
Robin van Persie
Why is Lampard higher than Owen and Hasselbaink? We’re not saying he’s a better finisher, but come on, 177 goals from midfield is absolutely outrageous and only four strikers have ever managed to surpass it.
And to score a mind-blowing 22 league goals in the 2009/10 season alone is justification enough for him to rub shoulders with stars who benefited from playing much further up the pitch.
As for Drogba, you could argue that we should peg him further down if we’re excluding his record in finals, but few players have made such an indelible impact on the Premier League at the top of their game.
Scoring 51 goals across his two Golden-Boot winning seasons proves that, while some of his league campaigns might have been quiet, there has seldom been such a lethal big-game finisher.
Sheringham and Ferdinand are also well worth their place in this tier, finding themselves 10th and 11th in the competition’s all-time scoring rankings, as well as doing the business for some of its greatest ever teams.
Meanwhile, you can lodge similar accusations at Van Persie as you can Drogba, but those 2011/12 and 2012/13 campaigns alone are enough for us to christen him one of the league’s deadliest ever forwards.
When will people give Cole the credit? Every football fan seems to know that the former United striker is one of the Premier League’s most prolific ever forwards without ever actually giving him credit for it.
Cole smashed home a crazy 34 goals in the 1993/94 season, became the first man to score five times in a Premier League tie and criticisms of his goal-per-game ratio are just nonsense when you consider he ranks in ninth.
As far as Rooney is concerned, yes, we never saw him consistently smashing home 20 a season, but we’re talking about England and United’s record scorer as well as one of just two members of the 200 club.
Then there’s Fowler, who could have well passed a double century too if injuries hadn’t curtailed his peak years, but his early impact at Liverpool was so spectacular that the league may never witness anything like it again.
Wright is another striker who doesn’t get the credit he deserves and we couldn’t put him lower seeing as his record of more than a goal every two games makes him the 5th deadliest Premier League centurion.
Finally… Kane has to get a mention for the fact he stands the best chance of overhauling Alan Shearer’s record, bagging back-to-back Golden Boots and surpassing 15 league goals a season each year for half a decade.
We’ve made it to the highest echelon of Premier League strikers, ladies and gentlemen.
Henry absolutely strolls into this category as the competition’s greatest ever player, winning a record four Golden Boots and astonishingly exceeding both 20 goals and assists during the 2002/03 campaign. Oh, he also went a season unbeaten, too.
Then, of course, Shearer makes the cut for having more goals in the Premier League than any other player at an almost unassailable 260, finding the net more than 30 times during his final three seasons at Blackburn.
And last but not least, have we ever seen a more lethal finisher in England than Aguero? Owning just a solitary Golden Boot doesn’t do the City man justice, especially as his goal-to-game ratio of 0.69 is the best in the 100 club.
So much top-tier quality
I think most Premier League fans can safely agree on the fact Henry, Shearer and Aguero are the three strikers worthy of the highest tier, but anything below is just so difficult to organise.
They’ll never be a scientific way to work out whether Fowler was a better striker than Owen or whether Rooney would outdo Drogba, even in a world where you can drown in statistics.
But no matter what changes you’d make to the rankings, we can all nod our heads to the fact that all 28 players have made a lasting impact on Premier League football forever.