2014-15 Premier League season review: Top ten forwards

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All week at ProSoccerTalk we are reviewing the dramatic 2014-15 Premier League season. From dishing out awards to looking back at the highs and lows in the 380 games as 20 teams battled it out, we’ll have every angle covered.

[ ARCHIVE: Premier League season review ]

For the full archive of our review content, just hit the link above. Now, let’s see who excelled at putting the ball in the net as we break down the top forwards in the Premier League.

Goals, goals, goals. Everyone wants to see goals. So where did they come from? There are some unlikely sources on this list, including players from relegation candidates that were vital to their team’s minimal success this year. There are still others who were more prolific at the top of the table.

10. Leonardo Ulloa, Leicester City

The 28-year-old Argentinian played a massive role in Leciester City’s successful first campaign back in the Premier League, and thoroughly deserves a spot on this list. He exploded out of the gates to open the season, scoring five goals in Leicester’s first five matches of the year. Then things began to go quiet for the Argentinian, and for the Foxes as well. However, down the stretch, he came back to life and Leicester saved their Premier League status. Overall this season, Leicester bagged 17 points in games Ulloa scored a goal, and 24 when he didn’t; that’s 1.89 points per game when he scores a goal, and 0.82 points when he doesn’t. That, along with his 11 goals on the season, earns him a spot on our top 10 list.

[ MORE: Top 10 goalkeepers | Defenders | Midfielders ]

source: Getty Images
Leonardo Ulloa was an essential piece of Leicester City’s historic comeback off the bottom of the Premier League table.

9. Graziano Pelle, Southampton

Another striker buoyed by his furious start to the year, Pelle was still massively important to the successful Southampton year. He bagged 12 goals on the season, including half that tally in the first eight games of the year. He weathered a 14-match scoreless streak, but still managed to end the season on a somewhat strong note. In the nine matches that Pelle scored in, Southampton won seven, drew one, and lost one. That should tell you how important he was to the Saints finishing the year in seventh.

8. Wilfried Bony, Swansea City/Manchester City

Bony was absolutely tearing the Premier League apart, and earned a transfer to Manchester City. Unfortunately, that stuck him firmly behind the league’s eventual top scorer, and it planted him on the bench for much of the second half. Still, his scoring with Swansea can’t be forgotten. He snagged nine goals in 20 games before his move to Manchester, and he even looked to be the best player on the Ivory Coast national team as they charged to the African Cup of Nations title. That momentum was halted after moving to the Etihad, as he logged just 302 minutes with City, but Bony still earns his place here as one of the more deadly strikers this season.

7. Christian Benteke, Aston Villa

It’s hard to believe an Aston Villa striker makes it here. The same Aston Villa that managed a 660-minute scoreless streak this season. The same Aston Villa that beat relegation by three points thanks to the second-lowest goalscoring tally in the Premier League. Well, he’s here. Benteke all season long looked like the only threat Villa had, and when the team wasn’t scoring it was largely because they couldn’t feed the big Belgian the ball. He truly came to life under Tim Sherwood, scoring 11 goals in the 13 games his new manager would take charge of, helping Villa to cling to Premier League safety.

6.  Charlie Austin, QPR

It cannot be understated how absolutely horrific QPR’s season would have turned out had Charlie Austin not been a part of it. Despite finishing bottom of the table, Rangers’ goal output was higher than six of the seven teams in front of them, and Austin is a large reason why. Of the eight wins for QPR on the season, Austin scored in six of them. Rated the fifth-best striker by Squawka’s performance metrics, Austin was undoubtedly one of the best strikers in the Premier League this season and came just two wins shy of nearly singlehandedly keeping QPR in the English top flight.

[ MORE: Top 10 newcomers to the Premier League | The best (and worst) transfers ]

source: Getty Images
Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez was not only one of Arsenal’s most important players this year, but emerged almost instantly as one of the most dangerous attackers in the Premier League.

5. Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal

New to the Premier League, Alexis Sanchez fit in perfectly with Arsenal’s free-flowing system, and he adapted to his new environment almost seamlessly. Deployed in the striker role at times and on the wing at others, Sanchez outscored Arsenal’s main striker Olivier Giroud in league play and managed to almost immediately become one of the most creative players on a team oozing with creativity. If it weren’t for Santi Cazorla’s standout season, Sanchez would have been a shoo-in for Player of the Season at the Emirates. In fact, the team relied on him so heavily that it wore on him as the season continued, and he began to show signs of serious fatigue down the stretch as Arsenal’s slim chances at a title challenge faded into a third-place finish.

4. Wayne Rooney, Manchester United

Typically left for a midfield list, Wayne Rooney this season proved Louis van Gaal a genius when he played Rooney up front during a striker crisis. Rooney’s play up front sparked debate about his best position, but it’s hard to doubt his production. His deployment at the top of the Manchester United attack resulted in a crucial seven-match win streak towards the end of the season that helped secure a return to a Champions League table position. Rooney scored four times during that span, including two game-winning goals. In addition, of the 10 Premier League games Rooney scored in this year, Manchester United won nine of them.

[ MORE: Premier League grades: How did each team fare this year? ]

3. Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur

The Hurri-Kane took the Premier League by storm this season, and at just 21 years of age has the entire country of England buzzing about what might become. He didn’t even start from the beginning of the year. Kane came just five goals short of topping the Premier League goals table despite not earning serious league playing time until he forced manager Mauricio Pochettino’s hand by eating the Europa League alive through October. He scored a 90th-minute winner against Aston Villa as a substitute on November 2, and didn’t look back. Kane started every single Premier League game after, and ended the season with 21 on the board. The youngster is still occasionally prone to disappearing from matches he doesn’t receive the service he deserves, but in a league that’s all about production, Kane’s performances have provided hope for a league otherwise starving for true young talent that lives up to the hype.

2. Diego Costa, Chelsea

Costa may not have scored as many goals as Kane, but in a title-winning season where Costa battled hamstring injuries all year, the Spanish international gets the nod. Costa missed seven matches this year through injury and four others via suspension, but still managed to prove dominant up front. Fresh over from Atletico Madrid, the 26-year-old scored in six of Chelsea’s first seven matches of the season, and he scored in 13 of his first 19 league appearances. He found himself on the sidelines more often than not after that point, but Chelsea had already found itself well on its way to the league title by then. Costa still struggles on the international stage, but his performances in league play this year are unquestionably some of the best the Premier League saw all season.

[ MORE: Premier League Playback: Looking back at a memorable 2014-15 season ]

1. Sergio Aguero, Manchester City

Sergio Aguero continues to produce, and produce, and produce. There’s little needed here other than he scored 26 goals on the Premier League season, plus six more in seven Champions League matches. No matter who the opponent, Aguero always looks likely to score. Through his four full seasons in the Premier League, Aguero has an absolutely stunning 110 minutes per goal total, meaning he’s one of the most prolific strikers in Premier League history. To put that into perspective, the highest goalscorer in Premier League history, Alan Shearer, scored a goal every 147 minutes on average. Harry Kane’s mind-blowing season produced a league goal every 123 minutes – even counting all competitions to account for Kane’s incredible Europa League campaign, he still bagged just a goal every 119 minutes. Sergio Aguero is undoubtedly the best striker in the Premier League right now, and one of the best it’s ever seen.

USMNT reportedly opens contract talks with Gregg Berhalter; Good or bad idea?

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Gregg Berhalter may be sticking around the United States men’s national team program, giving the USMNT coaching continuity as it moves from 2022 World Cup Round of 16 member to 2026 World Cup co-host.

ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle says that Berhalter is beginning contract discussions with the United States Soccer Federation but also interested in taking a job in Europe with his profile having risen alongside the USMNT at the World Cup.

Berhalter’s current contract ends at the end of the calendar year, and the Yanks have scheduled a domestic camp in January and friendlies against Serbia and Colombia.

[ MORE: USMNT transfer rumors for Musah, Dest ]

Berhalter has done some good things for the program, most notably winning the CONCACAF Nations League and Gold Cup with two different groups. He also straightened out the defending, for the most part, and got out of the World Cup group.

Berhalter successfully recruited Sergino Dest and Yunus Musah, two of the program’s stars at the World Cup. He also convinced Malik Tillman, Gaga Slonina, and Jesus Ferreira that the U.S. was the right place for their national team futures.

He also, subjectively, was slow if not downright stubborn in acquiesing to certain points-of-view that made the team better. From Tyler Adams as a right back at the outset of his tenure to saying Tim Ream didn’t fit how he wanted to play about a month before the World Cup… then playing him every minute of the tournament.

But for the most part when lessons were learned, they stayed learned.

Should Gregg Berhalter continue as USMNT boss?

Let’s start here, because it’s necessary: It’s clear that Berhalter cared about his players and the project, whether you like the way he operated or not. This wasn’t a half-assed operation, but one with passion.

So does he still have that passion? Only he can answer that, and if he’d like to get more matchdays in his life then maybe he does want to go back to the club game.

And frankly, that’s fine either way, because his four years with the program were neither amazing nor pitiful. They can be described as anything from a slight disappointment to a minor success, depending on your perspective and expectations.

If you believe that picking up the pieces from the absolute travesty that was failing to qualify for the World Cup from the richest nation and one of the two most talented nations amongst CONCACAF men’s programs was really hard, then you think Berhalter getting the men to the 2022 World Cup and surviving the group with a young group was a solid step in the right direction and a minor success.

If you believe that the American soccer climate is such that you should always make the World Cup out of one of the world’s lesser confederations and that the Yanks progressed as the second team of a group in which they were the second-ranked team according to FIFA and Elo Ratings, well, you can have a different standard.

The Yanks will never again fail to qualify for the World Cup given the expanded field, but hosts have historically had a drastically-improved chance to reach the semifinals. THe federation would have to be confident that picking the best squad regardless of how it reflects on his previous selections — let alone a Best XI — is going to happen under a given coach.

Berhalter’s 49 and is far from the worst or best boss in USMNT history. Whoever’s in the job four years from now will have a chance to go down as either one. Choose wisely, fed. And Gregg! Who knows how far his star could rise with a solid run in Europe, and history says there will be the chance to reconnect with the USMNT job.

Follow @NicholasMendola

Premier League table, 2022-23 season

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If it’s the 2022-23 Premier League table you’re after, you’ve come to the right place.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

We’re at the 2022 World Cup break, and the final few rounds of Premier League fixtures caused so many shocks.

Who’s looking like title contenders and/or favorites?

Almost at the halfway mark of the 2022-23 season, Arsenal and Manchester City are looking head and shoulders above the rest.

The Gunners will have their hands full for the duration of their title challenge, as Erling Haaland continues to take the Premier League by storm with an almost impossible goal-scoring record.

Newcastle, Tottenham and Manchester United are locked in a battle for the top four, while Liverpool have improved and will be back in the Champions League scrap and Chelsea are struggling.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Who are the early-season candidates for relegation?

Newly promoted Nottingham Forest moved off the bottom of the table with a win before the break, with Wolves and Southampton currently occupying the other two relegation places.

Leicester have picked up a few big wins, while West Ham, Everton and Leeds all find themselves within a few points of the bottom-three after a topsy-turvy start.

Below you will find the latest Premier League table.


Premier League table – Matchweek 16

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England vs France: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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Match 59 of the 2022 World Cup features a pair of European heavyweights duking it out for a place in the semifinals when England faces France on Saturday.

Didier Deschamps’ France is bidding to become a back-to-back World Cup winner, but Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions are tournament-hardened and have shown their explosive nature three times this tournament.

STREAM ENGLAND vs FRANCE LIVE

France beat Poland 3-1 in its Round of 16 match while England overcame a dodgy start to pound Senegal 3-0.

Neither team can say its faced a test like this in the tournament, and this could be a fantastic fight in Qatar.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Here is everything you need for England vs France.


How to watch England vs France live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Saturday, December 1
Stadium: Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

England will look to Harry Kane, though the question remains who will flank the Tottenham center forward. Marcus Rashford’s been very good but Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden got the starting spots against Senegal and it paid off for Southgate.

Kylian Mbappe has been borderline unstoppable and will test Harry Maguire, John Stones, and friends and Antoine Griezmann pulls the strings in behind and Aurelien Tchouameni continues to strengthen his reputation in the center of the pitch.


England quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 5
World Cup titles: 1 (1966)
World Cup appearances: 15
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA
Coach: Gareth Southgate
Key players: Harry Kane, Jude Bellingham, Jordan Pickford

France quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 4
World Cup titles: 2 (1998, 2018)
World Cup appearances: 15
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (Won Group D)
Coach: Didier Deschamps
Key players: Kylian Mbappe, Raphael Varane, Antoine Griezmann

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Croatia vs Brazil: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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World Cup-savvy Croatia stands in the way of stylish Brazil’s pursuit of a sixth World Cup crown, and the pair promise a complex match-up on Friday in Al Rayyan.

Match 58 of the 2022 World Cup kicks off the quarterfinals as Neymar leads Tite’s star-studded CONMEBOL powers into a match against the 2018 runners-up.

STREAM CROATIA vs BRAZIL LIVE

Croatia got past Japan in penalties and will now dream of the two wins that could set it back in the final where France could again be waiting for a juicy rematch.

Croatia needed penalties to get past Japan in the Round of 16, while Brazil pasted South Korea 4-1.  Croatia has never beaten Brazil in four meetings, losing at the 2006 and 2014 World Cups.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Here is everything you need for Croatia vs Brazil.


How to watch Croatia vs Brazil live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Friday, December 9
Stadium: Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Croatia’s Dominik Livakovic was fantastic in penalties versus Japan to get here, but Luka Modric continues to do the things that get Croatia out of trouble and puts the opponents into heaps of it. Josko Gvardiola has arguably been the defender of the tournament, and the 20-year-old looks to test his mettle again against the Selecao.

Pick a Brazil player who’s failed to impress and you’ve achieved a mighty feat. Neymar’s been fantastic when healthy while RIcharlison is in serious pursuit of the Golden Boot. Alisson Becker flexed his muscles once or twice versus South Korea and figures to be busier as the competition continues to heat up in Qatar.


Croatia quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 12
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 6
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Zlatko Dalic
Key players: Luka Modric, Andrej Kramaric, Mateo Kovacic, Josko Gvardiol

Brazil quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 1
World Cup titles: 5 (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)
World Cup appearances: 22
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONMEBOL (1st place)
Coach: Tite
Key players: Neymar, Thiago Silva, Casemiro, Alisson Becker

Follow @NicholasMendola