Neymar, Haaland, Lewandowski: Europe's 20 most lethal finishers so far

  • Kobe Tong
Man City's Haaland celebrates.

Erling Haaland has caused utter mayhem for Manchester City in the Premier League.

Just as soon as there were murmurs about whether or not the Norwegian would succeed in English football after a poor performance in the Community Shield, they were emphatically ended with a goal rush which has taken the division by storm.

In fact, there’s good reason to think that every record in the book could be blown out of the water by the time that Haaland draws the curtains on his debut season at the Etihad Stadium.

Haaland’s epic start at Man City

Assuming that he can stay fit throughout the year, Haaland could well surpass Mohamed Salah’s goalscoring record for a 38-game Premier League season based on the evidence of opening up with 11 strikes in just seven outings.

The lethal 22-year-old has plundered hat-tricks against Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest, notching a brace at West Ham United and firing goals past Newcastle United, Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

As such, it will come as no surprise to learn that the goalscoring shockwaves that Haaland is creating on English soil are very much reverberating around the continent.

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Erling Haaland was born in which city?

Who is the best finisher so far?

In fact, such has been the astonishing nature of Haaland’s start to life in England that we couldn’t help wondering exactly how his lethal finishing compared to other goalscorers on the continent as we all take stock going into the international break.

To find out, we turned to the data gurus over at FBref and sorted every player to have appeared in Europe’s top five leagues this season by their goals per shot rate.

In other words, how many goals do they score for each shot they take? It’s a statistic which duly illustrates the most ruthless finishers of all by demonstrating who scores from their shots most often.

So if Lionel Messi has scored 10 goals in an imaginary season and he did so from just 12 shots, then that would make for an extremely, extremely impressive goal per shot rate of 0.83 – got it?

Europe’s top 20 most lethal finishers

Right then, well, the only other things you need to know are that penalty kicks aren’t included and that we’re only including players who have taken a minimum of 10 shots, thus ruling out anomalies.

And the results? Well, very interesting, because Haaland doesn’t actually find himself in first place and if that doesn’t intrigue you, then we don’t know what will, so check out the top 20 down below:

20. Federico Valverde (Real Madrid) – 0.25

Valverde scores for Real Madrid.
Soccer Football – Champions League – Group F – Real Madrid v RB Leipzig – Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain – September 14, 2022 Real Madrid’s Federico Valverde celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Violeta Santos Moura

19. Ivan Toney (Brentford) – 0.25

18. Lukas Nmecha (Wolfsburg) – 0.25

17. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) – 0.25

16. Raheem Sterling (Chelsea) – 0.27

15. Muhammed Cham (Clermont Foot) – 0.27

Cham in action vs PSG.
Soccer Football – Ligue 1 – Clermont v Paris St Germain – Stade Gabriel Montpied, Clermont-Ferrand, France – August 6, 2022 Paris St Germain’s Marco Verratti in action with Clermont’s Muhammed Cham Saracevic REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

14. Rodrygo Goes (Real Madrid) – 0.27

13. Marko Arnautovic (Bologna) – 0.27

12. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) – 0.29

11. Alexis Sanchez (Marseille) – 0.29

10. Moses Simon (Nantes) – 0.30

Simon's acrobatic goal celebration.
Soccer Football – Ligue 1 – Nantes v RC Lens – The Stade de la Beaujoire – Louis Fonteneau, Nantes, France – December 10, 2021 Nantes’ Moses Simon celebrates scoring their third goal REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

9. Arnaud Nordin (Montpellier) – 0.30

8. Brais Méndez (Real Sociedad) – 0.30

7. Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain) – 0.32

6. Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona) – 0.32

5. Terem Moffi (Lorient) – 0.33

Moffi scores for Lorient.
Soccer Football – Ligue 1 – Lorient v Olympique Lyonnais – Stade du Moustoir, Lorient, France – September 7, 2022 Lorient’s Terem Moffi celebrates scoring their second goal REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

4. Daichi Kamada (Eintracht Frankfurt) – 0.33

3. Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo) – 0.36

2. Erling Haaland (Manchester City) – 0.37

  1. Sheraldo Becker (Union Berlin) – 0.38
Union Berlin's Becker celebrates.
Soccer Football – Bundesliga – 1. FC Union Berlin v VfL Wolfsburg – Stadion An der Alten Forsterei, Berlin, Germany – September 18, 2022 1. FC Union Berlin’s Sheraldo Becker celebrates scoring their second goal REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch DFL REGULATIONS PROHIBIT ANY USE OF PHOTOGRAPHS AS IMAGE SEQUENCES AND/OR QUASI-VIDEO.

Haaland pipped to the post

Take a bow, Sheraldo! You’ve managed to achieve the impossible and score more goals per shot than even the beautiful game’s goalscorer in chief right now.

Whereas Haaland has notched his 10 non-penalty Premier League goals from 27 efforts on goal, Becker has helped himself to six Bundesliga strikes from just 16 shots for an ever-so-slightly superior rate.

Now, look, we’re ultimately splitting statistical hairs at this point and even Becker would happily admit that Haaland is the better striker, but it’s nevertheless interesting to note that City’s new star isn’t quite Europe’s most lethal finisher so far.

Elsewhere, Lewandowski continues to prove that he lives and breathes goals with a seamless transition to life at Barcelona and Neymar really does stake a claim for the world’s most in-form player right now.

Lewandowski has started strongly at Barcelona.
Soccer Football – FC Barcelona unveil Robert Lewandowski – Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain – August 5, 2022 FC Barcelona’s Robert Lewandowski during his presentation REUTERS/Albert Gea

Valverde is playing like a man possessed from midfield for Real Madrid, Moffi’s early season form will have Nigeria fans rubbing their hands together and Sanchez truly is experiencing a new lease of life at Marseille.

So, there you have it, the most efficient goalscorers on the continent right now: showing that while, yes, Haaland is indeed a goalscoring phenomena, he’s not entirely unstoppable after all.

Kind of… ish… with a few caveats… ok, maybe not, but you get the point!

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