Jermain Defoe has scored more goals than any other player after coming on as a substitute in Premier League history, but which other players have provided a boost from the bench?

Most Substitute Goals in Premier League History

Jermain Defoe: 24
Olivier Giroud: 21
Javier Hernández: 19
Kanu: 17
Ole Gunnar Solskjær: 17
Daniel Sturridge: 17
Peter Crouch: 16
Danny Welbeck: 14
Tore Andre Flo: 13
Robbie Keane: 13
Michael Owen: 13
Andrew Cole: 13
Darren Bent: 13
Victor Anichebe: 13
Edin Dzeko: 13
Marcus Rashford: 13
James Milner: 12
Sergio Agüero: 12
Romelu Lukaku: 12

Jermain Defoe: 24 Goals

Jermain Defoe scored 24 of his 162 Premier League goals (15%) after coming on as a substitute, which is a competition record. He never scored more than once as a sub, meaning his goals came across 24 different matches – another Premier League record.

Six of his first eight Premier League goals came following his introduction from the West Ham United bench in his first season back in 2001-02. That season was his most prolific as a substitute, but hardly surprising when considering it was also the campaign that he was used as a sub the most times (21).

Aptly, Defoe also scored his final Premier League goal as a sub, after coming on for Bournemouth against Watford in March 2018 to stretch his own competition record to 24.

Most Premier League Substitute Goals

Olivier Giroud: 21 Goals

French striker Olivier Giroud made 103 of his 255 Premier League appearances (40%) off the bench, scoring 21 goals as a substitute – a tally that only Jermain Defoe (24) can better.

The majority of his sub goals came across his six seasons at Arsenal (17), with 12 of those arriving in his final two seasons as there – in 2016-17 (six) and 2017-18 (six). Neither season could match that of Adam Le Fondre’s in 2012-13, however, who scored a competition-record eight goals as a sub for Reading that season. However, across those two Premier League campaigns combined, Giroud’s 12 goals from the bench were five more than any other player.

His final Premier League goal came in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge in February 2021.

Javier Hernández: 19 Goals

Javier Hernández scored 19 goals as a substitute in the Premier League – a tally behind only Defoe (24) and Giroud (21) in the all-time competition rankings. Of those goals, 14 came at Manchester United across his six seasons at the club.

The Mexican – also known as ‘Chicharito’ – only made two more starts (80) in the Premier League than he did substitute appearances (78), while his 19 goals from the bench contributed to 36% of his total Premier League goal tally (53).

The diminutive super-sub scored the winning goal as a substitute in five different Premier League matches overall, sharing the all-time competition record with six other players: Defoe, Joe Cole, Marcus Rashford, Peter Crouch, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Romelu Lukaku.

Javier Hernandez Premier Legue Substitutes

Kanu, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, Daniel Sturridge: 17 Goals

Nigerian striker Nwankwo Kanu scored 17 substitute goals in the Premier League, seven of those coming in his first two seasons at Arsenal. His final four league goals came off the bench during a spell at Portsmouth, where he finished his playing career in England.

With all 17 of Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s Premier League substitute goals coming in a Manchester United shirt, he shares the record with Giroud (at Arsenal) for the most goals off the bench for a single club in the competition.

Of course, he put in arguably the greatest substitute appearance of all time, scoring four goals against Nottingham Forest in February 1999 after coming off the bench in Man Utd’s 8-1 away win at the City Ground. He’s one of only seven players to score a Premier League hat-trick as a substitute, but the only player to score four times.

Daniel Sturridge joins Kanu and Solskjær in joint-fourth place in the Premier League sub goal rankings, with 17 of his 76 goals in the competition coming after being brought on as a replacement.

Current Premier League Substitute Top Scorers

Danny Welbeck may be ranked eighth in the all-time Premier League top substitute goalscorers, but he leads the way among current players in the competition.

The Brighton and Hove Albion forward has scored 14 times after coming off the subs bench in the Premier League, with half of those coming at his current club (7).

The former Man Utd star is followed by a current one in Marcus Rashford. The England international has scored 13 times as a substitute in the Premier League – all for United – but is the only current player in the competition to have scored as many as five match-winning goals after coming off the bench.

James Milner currently sits second in the all-time Premier League appearance rankings, so it’s hardly a surprise to see him appear high in this ranking too. The veteran – now at Brighton – has scored 12 goals as a sub in the Premier League across his 22 seasons as a player in the English top flight.

One of Milner’s 12 goals as a substitute saw him become the second-youngest goalscorer in Premier League history, when he netted for Leeds United at Sunderland on Boxing Day in 2002.

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