This is a piece from the Vital Norwich forum, written by Nathan_NCFC and it’s quite thought-provoking.
”I was listening to a football podcast last night and it got me thinking about the current role of a striker in this era. Every club up and down the country wants the typical 30-goal-a-season striker and the benchmark of a good striker is always set at being proven to score 20+ in the division they play.
I thought about it and the last striker I can remember us having that got anywhere near that was Grant Holt.
We all know our striker situation has been left to get worse for far too long, possibly by the fact that we scored so many goals in Alex Neil’s last year kind of smoke screened the weak strike force we actually had.
However, the podcast was talking about the old idea of a striker who consistently scores you 20-30 goals every year is mostly a thing of the past now, and how the modern game has progressed.
I investigated further and found there were only two players in the Championship last season that managed to get over 20 goals.
Lewis Grabban (for the first time in his career) and Matej Vydra (the second time, he reached 20 goals in 2012 season but then went 3 years scoring just 22 goals in total)
Interestingly, of the top 5 top scorers in the championship, almost half are midfield players. The same is found in League 1, with Jack Marriot (Peterborough United) being the only real exception, after plundering 27 goals this term (but again, the first time in his career, before this year he has managed just 25 goals over a 3 year period).
The same was also found in the Premier League, with two of the top five highest scorers being midfielders, and Kane and Salah aside (exceptions) only two players managed 20 goals (Vardy and Aguero).
All of this research into the top three leagues, certainly over the last half a decade, is pointing me to the fact that strikers are not really the main source of goals anymore for any club. (Which does seem bizarre).
If you work out that at best, a striker you have may score you 20 or so goals, over a course of a season this will likely only make up 30% or so of your goals, meaning every club has to rely on other outfield players to score the vast majority of their goals.
Considering that only one or two clubs in each division actually possess one of those strikers that do get 20 goals, 90% of each division has to probably rely on something closer to 80% of their goals coming from outside of the striking positions.
It’s just made me realise more than anything that actually if we can manage to find a striker that can get around 10-15 goals a year, that is about as good as anyone has it. Jerome was achieving around those figures every year with us. Nelson just about achieved it last year with 11 goals and hasn’t this season with 8 goals.
I found this information surprising so thought I’d share it here. What it shows for me is we are not alone in terms of lack of a proven striker and it seems 90% of every league is in the same boat.
If you look at the above, it isn’t a case of the odd couple of clubs who do have them have just done well and done their homework to get them in and we haven’t, as none of the current strikers who have done it last season have ever done it before.
So is it purely down to luck when deciding who you buy?
Who’d have thought Jack Marriot would net more this season than he’s managed in three whole years? Same goes for the others. By these stats, he likely won’t do it again! (although I’d like us to take a punt on him).
So…. the question is, are strikers really the be all and end all in these times, for getting the majority of your goals?
Based on the above I don’t think they are, crazily, and that makes the task for us perhaps a little bit easier. Surely it’s cheaper to find a 10-15 goal a year striker. Isn’t it?”
As you may (or may not) know, Vital Norwich also has a forum and Nathan_NCFC wrote this piece in the forum. It raises some very good points and you can read the rest of the thread and various responses here.
Check it out, it is well worth a read.
Thanks again to Nathan for putting this out there.