As the calendar pushes into the final parts of the Premier League season, and we look at the statistics in the league, there’s an undeniable trend in the modern game that’s surprising, but maybe shouldn’t be so: the big men upfront are the ones putting the ball into the net.
It seems antithetical to the modern poster children of the game, Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Two of the most identifiable players in the world and of course Messi doesn’t loom at 5’7″ and Cristiano Ronaldo’s 6’1″ doesn’t put him much higher the professional average (5’11.5″).
But the Premier League has seen a revival in putting a big body in front of the net. Tall players on multiple Premier League teams have realized that the time is now for them to throw their weight around.
Easily one of the most notable, it’s not only Ibra’s height, but his physicality and mind games that make him larger than life. Coming in from PSG as a big-name transfer for Manchester United Zlatan has 15 goals, three times more than next closest teammate Juan Mata. He’s short of ‘conquering’ the league, but has helped supply United with the much needed offense to remain unbeaten in their last 15 league matches.
Lukaku has proven to be one of Everton’s most productive strikers. The 6’2″ Belgian forward is averaging .7 goals per match and his goals are spread between his left foot, right foot, and head. Lukaku isn’t solely a physical force, but a dynamic scoring threat which makes him even harder to defend against. He’s producing at a rate 4x greater than that of his next closest teammate.
A pit-bull at the front for Chelsea, there isn’t a defender in the league that isn’t familiar with Costa’s physicality, and when he keeps it within the rules he’s one of the hardest bodies on the field. At 6’2″ Costa leads Eden Hazard by 10 goals and field goal specialist Willian in goals. He says he takes inspiration from Didier Drogba, Chelsea’s dominant forward from 2004-2012.
Andy Carroll (Honorable Mention)
Andy Carroll made the list because although he’s only made 12 appearances he’s netted six goals, and when the team’s hero decides he wants to go home, someone has to step up to avoid relegation. Andy Carroll has come through when the hammers needed most and delivered some truly impressive goals.
As far as we’re concerned the more variety there is in attack throughout the league the better the action is going to be as team’s plan around the specific talents and traits of their players.
The ‘big man’ upfront will always have a place in the premier league due to the nature of the English game and the physicality inherent.