Which attacking players have had the most prolific campaigns in Premier League history? We look back at those with the most goal involvements in a single season.
Alan Shearer in 1994-95 (47)
34 Goals, 13 Assists
Alan Shearer is the Premier League leader for both goals scored (260) and goal involvements (324), with nearly 15% of his total goals and assists coming in 1994-95 as he helped Blackburn Rovers to the title.
Before Haaland’s record-breaking 2022-23 campaign, Shearer was the last player to score as many as 34 goals in a single English top-flight season, with his feat replicating that of Andrew Cole from the season before – albeit in a 42-game campaign.
With his 34 goals in 1994-95, Shearer won the Premier League Golden Boot – the first of three in succession. With Blackburn winning the league, he also became the first of nine players to win the Golden Boot and win the title in the same season.
His 13 assists were the third most in the Premier League during 1994-95, behind only Matt Le Tissier (15) and Darren Anderton (14), while it was his best season for creating goals – he never recorded more than seven in any other campaign.
A frightening aspect of Shearer’s 1994-95 season is that his output reduced in the final two months of the campaign, scoring ‘just’ three and assisting one in his final seven appearances on the way to winning the title with Blackburn.
Andrew Cole in 1993-94 (47)
34 Goals, 13 Assists
Andrew Cole put in an outstanding shift during his debut Premier League season in 1993-94, registering 34 goals and 13 assists, two tallies he was never able to reach again in a single top-flight campaign.
Cole managed to either score or assist in 11 successive league games for Newcastle United between January and April 1994, and ended the 1993-94 season as both the outright top scorer and top assister in the Premier League – that has only been achieved once since, by Harry Kane in 2020-21 (23 goals, 14 assists). Mohamed Salah came close in 2021-22, with the most assists (13) but shared the Golden Boot with Spurs’ Son Heung-min (23 goals).
Cole scored in 26 different Premier League appearances for Newcastle in 1993-94, which is a season record in the competition for a player.
Thierry Henry in 2002-03 (44)
24 Goals, 20 Assists
Only one player in the history of the Premier League has both scored 20+ and assisted 20+ goals in a single season. Step forward Thierry Henry.
The Arsenal forward had an astonishing season in 2002-03, with 24 goals and 20 assists, but this wasn’t enough to help the Gunners to the Premier League trophy as they lost out to Man Utd by five points, despite being the highest scoring team in the division (85 goals).
Henry didn’t win the Golden Boot in this campaign, either. United’s Ruud van Nistelrooy ousted him by a single goal (25), but the Frenchman did collect the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award ahead of the lethal Dutch striker.
Overall, Henry played in 37 of Arsenal’s 38 Premier League matches in 2002-03 and was involved in a goal every 75 minutes on average.
Erling Haaland in 2022-23 (44)
36 Goals, 8 Assists
Erling Haaland’s debut season in the Premier League couldn’t have gone much better. Not only did he break the record for most goals in an EPL campaign (36), but he also smashed the record for the most goals in a single season by a Premier League player across all competitions (52).
Some foolishly had doubts about Haaland’s ability to score goals in the Premier League following his move from Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund last summer, but they obviously forgot that he was joining a Man City side coached by Pep Guardiola.
Haaland scored four league hat-tricks in his debut season, two of those in back-to-back matches against Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest in his first month.
Should he stay for a while at Man City, surely Alan Shearer’s all-time goal record in the competition will be under threat?
Luis Suárez in 2013-14 (43)
31 Goals, 12 Assists
Luis Suárez missed the opening five matches of 2013-14 through suspension but made up for lost time when he returned to the Liverpool side. He played in all 33 of the Premier League matches he wasn’t suspended for, being involved in 43 goals overall – more than any other player in 2013-14. Even more impressive, none of his 31 goals came from the penalty spot.
The Uruguayan striker was on 39 goal involvements by 22 March, but he could only muster four more in final eight appearances (three goals, one assist) of the season, as Liverpool slipped up at the last hurdle in their Premier League title challenge. Manchester City won the league by two points despite Brendan Rodgers’ side leading the competition by five points ahead of their 36th game of the season at home to a weakened Chelsea side. We all know what happened then…
Suárez could have had even more goal involvements with a bit more luck; he hit the woodwork nine times (four more than any other player), while only Chelsea’s Eden Hazard (93) and Man City’s Samir Nasri (92) created more chances than he did (88).
Of all players to have played at least 2,000 minutes in a Premier League season, Suárez’s 70 minutes per goal involvement average in 2013-14 is the best seen in the competition.
Mohamed Salah in 2017-18 (42)
32 Goals, 10 Assists
Liverpool fans were excited by the signing of Mohamed Salah in the summer of 2017 from Serie A side Roma, but they probably didn’t expect a debut season from the Egyptian forward that was this good.
Salah was involved in 42 goals in 36 appearances, 10 more than any other player, while he also picked up the 2017-18 Golden Boot in the Premier League thanks to his 32 scored.
Across all competitions, Salah scored 44 times for Liverpool in 2017-18, equalling Van Nistelrooy’s record for Man Utd from 2002-03 by a Premier League player across all club competitions in a single season. Salah added 11 goals in the Champions League and another in the FA Cup to take him to 44 overall. Only Ian Rush (47 in 1983-84) has ever scored more competitive goals in a season for Liverpool, but Salah’s 44 goals came from 13 games fewer (52 v 65).
Robin van Persie in 2011-12 (39)
30 Goals, 9 Assists
Robin van Persie’s final season as an Arsenal player was his greatest; 30 goals and an additional nine assists in the Premier League saw him finish not only as the Golden Boot winner, but the Dutchman also led the way for total goal involvements (39).
The Gunners’ striker could only help his side to third place, still 19 points behind Manchester City and Manchester United, who could only be separated by goal difference.
This was the first season that Van Persie had managed to score more than 20 Premier League goals in, but it was also the first time he played over 28 games, such was his bad luck with injuries before 2011-12.
His goals in 2011-12 were worth 24 points to Arsenal, more than any Gunners player in a single Premier League season and one more than Thierry Henry’s 23 in 2003-04. He also scored against 17 different clubs for Arsenal this season, which is a joint record in a single campaign alongside Cole in 1993-94, Shearer in 1994-95, Ian Wright in 1996-97 and Salah in 2017-18.
Van Persie moved to Manchester United for 2012-13 and won the Premier League Golden Boot yet again, with 26 goals. In doing so, he became only the second player to win back-to-back Golden Boot awards in the competition with different clubs after Alan Shearer.
Didier Drogba in 2009-10 (39)
29 Goals, 10 Assists
Didier Drogba helped Chelsea to the Premier League title under Carlo Ancelotti in 2009-10 with an astonishing 39 goal involvements in his 32 appearances. The Ivorian striker began the season well, scoring in eight of his first 11 appearances (nine goals), with an additional five assists.
The Chelsea forward scored more goals on the road (15) than he did at Stamford Bridge (14) in 2009-10, with Kevin Phillips (16 in 1999-00) the only player to net more goals away from home in a single Premier League season.
Drogba is one of three Chelsea players to have won the Premier League Golden Boot, alongside Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in 2001-02 and Nicolas Anelka in 2008-09, but the only one to have a Premier League winners’ medal in the same season. Drogba’s success in 2009-10 followed a previous Golden Boot in 2006-07, but from nine goals fewer (20).
Following this 29-goal season in the Premier League, Drogba would go on to score just 20 more times in the competition across 88 games in three seasons. However, the following campaign of 2010-11 would see him post 13 assists, which was his career high in a single PL season.
Thierry Henry in 2004-05 (39)
25 Goals, 14 Assists
Only one name appears on this list twice, and that’s Henry. Unfortunately, just like in 2002-03, Henry’s personal feats didn’t help Arsenal to win the Premier League title.
Henry’s 39 goal involvements in 2004-05 only helped the Gunners to second place, 12 points off winners Chelsea, who picked up their first Premier League title under the management of José Mourinho in his debut season in charge.
Unlike 2002-03, however, Henry did win the Golden Boot in this campaign with his 25 goals. He’d won it twice before (2001-02, 2003-04) and this was his third time winning the award, eventually going on to win a fourth the following season in 2005-06. No player has won the Golden Boot on more occasions than Henry (4).
Twenty of his 39 goal involvements came in his opening 13 games of the season, making his strike rate of 19 in the final 19 matches look ordinary in comparison. However, with hat-tricks in consecutive appearances against Portsmouth and Norwich City in March and April 2005, Henry is one of only seven players to achieve this feat in Premier League history, along with Les Ferdinand (1992-93), Wright (1993-94), Drogba (2009-10), Wayne Rooney (2010-11), Kane twice (2016-17 and 2017-18) and Haaland (2022-23).