Premier League Top Scorer 2022-23: The Contenders
Who is the top scorer in Premier League 2022-23 going to be? We don’t know the answer to that question (yet), but we can provide some data-led choices for you to consider. Here are the players we think are in with a shout of the Golden Boot.
Click here to skip to our Premier League top scorers quiz.
The Leading Contenders
As if Manchester City weren’t scary enough last season, scoring a league-high 99 goals on their way to the title, they’ve added one of the most sought-after players in world football to their squad for 2022-23.
Erling Haaland has only just turned 22 years old but has 93 top-flight goals to his name across his career. Sixty-two of those have come in just 67 German Bundesliga appearances at former club Borussia Dortmund.
Among all players in the Bundesliga across his three seasons (2019-20 to 2021-22), only Robert Lewandowski bettered Haaland’s per-90 ratios for goals (1.04), non-penalty goals (0.9), expected goals (0.85), non-penalty expected goals (0.72) and minutes per goal (87).
He scored six penalties from six attempts in the Bundesliga last season, so there’s a good chance City will give him the job in 2022-23. Last season, they had three penalty takers in the Premier League, and two of those have left – Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling – while Riyad Mahrez missed the last of his five penalties, against West Ham United in May.
Despite all his goals, Haaland’s never won a league golden boot award in his career. Both of his full seasons with Dortmund saw him finish third in the charts and look up to Lewandowski at the top of the leaderboard.
Don’t let that put you off picking him as your Premier League top scorer in 2022-23, though – he’s got three of the most creative players from the English top flight last season behind him: Kevin De Bruyne (0.31 expected assists per 90), Phil Foden (0.22 xA/90) and Jack Grealish (0.21 xA/90), plus the exciting young talent of Julian Alvarez.
Mohamed Salah has won the Premier League Golden Boot on three previous occasions, but he’s had to share the honours on the last two of those (2018-19 and 2021-22). Only in his first season at Liverpool in 2017-18 has he won the award outright.
Since joining Liverpool in 2017-18, Salah has scored the most Premier League goals (118) and attempted the most shots of any Premier League player (678). Averaged out, Salah’s contributed just under 24 goals a Premier League season as a Liverpool player. That would have been enough to have won the Golden Boot in each of the last four campaigns.
In the Premier League last season, Salah had the highest expected goals per 90 average (0.77), with only team-mate Diogo Jota (0.64) having a higher average than him (0.62) from non-penalty shots. Salah also led the league rankings for touches in the opposition box per 90 (11) and shots per 90 (4.5). Each of these metrics are vital for a player looking to win the Golden Boot.
Salah’s 23 goals in the Premier League last season came despite playing 2,963 of Liverpool’s 3,672 minutes (including injury time across all games) – that’s 80% of possible minutes on pitch. He missed two matches at the AFCON last season, and that may have been the difference between sharing the honour and taking it outright.
Whilst it’s true that Salah has lost team-mate Sadio Mané to Bayern Munich – no player has created more chances (87) or assisted more goals (18) for Salah in the Premier League than he has – the forward now has new potential providers in the shape of Fabio Carvalho and Darwin Núñez.
A solid bet for Premier League top scorer 2022-23.
Núñez won’t be arriving at Liverpool with the hope of being a creator for Salah – he’ll be looking to beat his team-mate to the Golden Boot award in 2022-23.
Winning the Golden Boot in your first season as a Premier League player is no mean feat, something Erling Haaland will also be trying to do. The only player to win the award in their first Premier League season was Kevin Phillips for Sunderland in 1999-00 (30 goals), arguably made even more impressive with it being his first top-flight season in any country. This even extends to Teddy Sheringham, Andy Cole and Alan Shearer, who played in the top flight before the Premier League existed.
Núñez will want to take a leaf out of former Liverpool striker Fernando Torres’ book. Torres scored 24 goals in his first Premier League season in 2007-08 – that’s the highest tally by a non-British player in their first Premier League season.
So, what of the Uruguayan’s credentials as a Golden Boot winner?
He scored 26 goals in 28 games for Benfica in the Portuguese Primeira Liga in 2021-22, at an average of a goal every 76 minutes. Núñez’s non-penalty shot conversation rate last season stood at 27.2% – none of the 162 players to attempt more than 55 shots from non-penalty situations across the top six European leagues in 2021-22 could match that.
Not only were the quality of his non-penalty chances high – 0.19 xG per shot – but he accumulates these chances at a very high rate. He averaged more non-penalty goals per 90 than any other player in the top six ranked European leagues in 2021-22 (1.00), while his 0.69 non-penalty xG per 90 was only bettered by four players.
Liverpool have provided seven winners of the Premier League Golden Boot, more than any other club. If Núñez continues his form from last season, he could be the eighth.
Thierry Henry is the only player in Premier League history to win the Golden Boot award on as many as four occasions. The race is on between Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah to be the first player to match that tally, with both strikers now on three awards each.
Kane won back-to-back Golden Boot awards in 2015-16 and 2016-17, but his only win in the last five Premier League seasons has come in 2020-21 when he topped the charts with 23 goals – one ahead of Salah. The England captain is also the only active Premier League player to have won a FIFA World Cup Golden Boot, with his six goals at the 2018 tournament in Russia.
Kane can consider himself unlucky to have one won the Premier League Golden Boot once in the last five seasons, however – only Salah (118) has scored more goals than he has (105) in this period, with these two the only players with more than a century of goals. But with a conversion rate of 16.5%, Kane has the second-lowest proportion of shots turning into goals of the 11 players with more than 50 Premier League goals in this period, ahead of only Gabriel Jesus (16.0%).
Across his Premier League career, Kane has a tally of 183 goals in 282 appearances – that’s the fifth highest total in the competition and now just one behind Sergio Agüero (184) and four off Andy Cole (187). Twenty-five goals this season will see him match Wayne Rooney’s Premier League tally of 208 goals, so there’s every chance that Kane can move behind only Alan Shearer with a great performance in front of goal in 2022-23.
Shearer’s record is still 77 goals away from Kane, which you expect will take a minimum of three seasons to match. The Spurs’ striker is 28 years old now, so it should be expected that he’ll surpass the record tally barring a serious injury or move away from England (which feels unlikely). Being the Premier League top scorer in 2022-23 would massively aid that quest.
Son Heung-min took the limelight from team-mate Harry Kane in 2021-22, becoming the first Asian player to win the Golden Boot in English top-flight history.
The Spurs forward shared the award with Mohamed Salah on 23 goals. However, none of those were penalties (Salah scored six of those) and he attempted 53 shots fewer than the Egyptian, converting shots at a rate of 26.7% compared to Salah’s ratio of 16.5%.
Was Antonio Conte the secret behind the South Korean’s success in 2021-22? Well, Son’s scored 19 goals in 26 Premier League games under the Italian – only three goals fewer than his total under Jose Mourinho and in just over half the appearances (51 under the Portuguese). His minutes per goal average (117) and shot conversion rate (30.7%) are by far the best they’ve been under any coach in the competition at Spurs.
Does this mean that he can continue scoring goals for fun in 2022-23? Who knows, but with the addition of Internazionale winger Ivan Perišić, Son will have another creative force behind him. His 9.2 expected assists and a career-high 77 chances created from open play across all competitions in 2021-22 has the potential to translate to some serious goal contributions if those chances are finding the feet of Kane and Son.
Winning the Premier League Golden Boot in successive seasons is far from easy – it’s only been done by six players, with the last being Salah in 2017-18 and 2018-19.
Márcio Amoroso topped the Serie A scoring charts for Udinese in 1998-99, Ronaldo was the last to do it in La Liga back in 2003-04 for Real Madrid, PSG’s Nenê shared the Ligue 1 award with Olivier Giroud in 2011-12 and the Bundesliga top scorer in 2008-09 was VfL Wolfsburg’s Grafite.
No Brazilian has ever won a Golden Boot award in the English top flight, let alone the Premier League era – could Arsenal’s summer signing Gabriel Jesus be the first?
There’s little doubt that Jesus knows where the goal is. His average minutes per goal ratio of 107 is only bettered by six players to have played at least 2,000 minutes of Premier League football.
Say that the new Arsenal striker was to play 2,800 of their possible 3,420 Premier League minutes in 2022-23, then that minutes per goal average would bring him 26 goals – a tally that would have been enough to secure the Golden Boot in each of the last four seasons.
Last season in the Premier League, the now-departed pair of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette scored just eight goals from a combined xG total of 15.8 across 2,828 minutes, while their highest scoring forward was Gabriel Martinelli with six Premier League goals.
Jesus may have also under-performed his xG total in the top-flight season (eight goals from 10.8 xG), but he was able to find positions on the pitch to score. His non-penalty xG/90 was 0.48, higher than Aubameyang (0.44), Martinelli (0.37) or Lacazette (0.34). After all, we know where Jesus likes to be fed the ball. No player in Premier League history has scored as many goals exclusively inside the box as the Brazilian (58).
He’ll also have players behind him who can provide chances. Of players to play at least 2,000 Premier League minutes last season, Bukayo Saka (0.21) had the sixth highest expected assists average per 90, and team-mate Martin Ødegaard (0.17) had the joint 16th highest.
Could Jesus be Premier League top scorer in 2022-23 and follow in the footsteps of Thierry Henry, Robin van Persie and Aubameyang to win the Golden Boot award at Arsenal? It can’t be ruled out.
The Other Contenders
Of course, we shouldn’t restrict ourselves to just six players when considering who might be top goalscorer in the Premier League next season. There will be plenty of other players in the mix, with some surprises in store.
We’ve taken a detailed look at Liverpool team-mates Mohamed Salah and Darwin Núñez as Golden Boot possibilities, but Diogo Jota could be in with a shout too.
The Portuguese forward averaged the highest non-penalty xG per 90 minutes in the Premier League last season (0.64), while only four players with at least 2,000 minutes of action in the competition had a better minutes per goal ratio than he did (158).
Only two players to appear for at least 1,000 Premier League minutes in 2021-22 had a scoring rate as good as a goal every 120 minutes – Salah and Jamie Vardy. Admittedly, age isn’t on Vardy’s side – the Leicester City striker turns 36 in January – but this is a man who’s scored more goals after turning 30 years old than anyone else in Premier League history (99).
Vardy’s injury issues last season restricted him to just 1,805 minutes, his lowest in a Premier League season, but this didn’t stop him from replicating his 15 goals from 2020-21 in 1,039 minutes fewer on the pitch – none of which came from penalties. He’ll be looking to get off to a good start in 2022-23, with Leicester hosting Brentford on the opening matchday.
Erik ten Hag has taken the reigns at Manchester United for 2022-23, but it remains to be seen if he’ll have all-time UEFA Champions League top scorer and last season’s Man Utd Premier League top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo (18 goals) to call upon. United haven’t had a player score 20 or more goals for them in a Premier League season since Robin van Persie won the Golden Boot in 2012-13 (26), but the pre-season form of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho looks promising for Red Devils’ fans. Could one of that trio of forwards get back to their best this season?
Raheem Sterling is another player who averaged a goal fairly frequently last season (every 163 minutes) in the Premier League but found playing time harder to come by. He appeared in just 2,127 minutes of league action for Man City last season (62% of possible minutes). Diego Costa was the last Chelsea player to score 20 goals in a Premier League season, doing so in both 2014-15 and 2016-17, but Sterling might be the best bet to replicate that feat in 2022-23, starting with Chelsea’s trip to Everton on the opening weekend of the campaign.
West Ham United have signed 23-year-old striker Gianluca Scamacca from Sassuolo, after the Italian international scored 16 times in Serie A last season – a tally beaten by just five players.
As alluded to earlier in this article, it’s not easy to come to the Premier League and score goals straight away, but Scamacca has the attributes to do just that. At 6-foot-5 inches, he will thrive from West Ham’s dangerous set-piece threat, while his arrival takes the burden off Michail Antonio and Jarrod Bowen for goals. The last Italian to score at least 15 goals in a Premier League season was Paolo Di Canio in 1999-00 (16) and that was for the Hammers – what they’d do for another Italian hero 23 years later.
Mitro was on fire in 2021-22, but the Premier League is a very different beast to the Championship. Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic scored 43 times in Fulham’s dominant Championship season in 2021-22 but hasn’t found top-flight defences as forgiving as second-tier ones in the past.
The Serbian’s goal tally last season was the highest in an English second-tier by a player since Brian Clough’s 43 goals for Middlesbrough in 1958-59, but his previous 104 Premier League appearances have seen him score 24 times. In his last EPL campaign in 2020-21 at Fulham, he scored only three goals in 27 appearances at a rate of a goal every 463 minutes, as his side suffered relegation back to the Championship.
Should Mitrovic do the unexpected and be Premier League top scorer in 2022-23 after topping the second tier scoring charts the season before, he’d be the first to do so since Kerry Dixon in 1983-84 for Chelsea in the Second Division (28), before doing it in the First Division in 1984-85 for Blues, with 24 goals alongside Gary Lineker.
Premier League Top Scorers Quiz
Think you know all there is to know about Premier League Golden Boot winners of past seasons? Well, it’s time to take our quiz to discover how much knowledge you really have.
Enjoy this? Subscribe to our mailing list to receive exclusive weekly content.
Design by Matt Sisneros