2014-15 Premier League season review: Top ten forwards


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 ]

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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 ]

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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.

LIVE, Bundesliga: Freiburg hosts top four hopefuls Gladbach

Freiburg v. Borussia Monchengladbach live
Photo by Christian Verheyen/Borussia Moenchengladbach via Getty Images
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Alassane Plea and Marcus Thuram bring red-hot form and top four hopes to Freiburg when Borussia Monchengladbach visits the Schwarzwald-Stadion on Friday for a 2:30 p.m. ET kickoff.

Gladbach is ahead of fifth-place Bayer Leverkusen on goal differential and four points back of second-place Borussia Dortmund.

[ LIVE: Bundesliga scores, stats ]

Freiburg is winless in four and staring down a tough run of fixtures while their Europa League hopes have taken a massive hit.

There were six goals between the sides in late November when Gladbach took all the points in a 4-2 win.

[ BUNDESLIGA: Week 30 preview and predictions ]

Below is the schedule for the Bundesliga game early on Friday and how you can watch live on TV in the USA and online and follow along via the link above.

Bundesliga how to watch

  • TV Channels: FS2
  • Stream LiveVia Fox Soccer
  • USMNT players to watch: Fabian Johnson, Gladbach (not on bench)
  • Kick off time: 2:30 p.m. ET — Freiburg v. Gladbach

Southampton season restart preview

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With the 2019-20 Premier League season soon to restart, let’s focus on all 20 clubs and see where they are at ahead of the final nine weeks of the season as Southampton are up next.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

Focusing on Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Saints, they have rebounded superbly after that humbling 9-0 defeat to Leicester City in late October. Hasenhuttl’s young side have gone back to basics and have a pretty favorable run of games to finish the season. They still aren’t totally out of the relegation battle but three more wins should keep them up and there is a renewed sense of belief about their future as the boss recently signed a new contract.

[ MORE: Every PL season restart preview ] 

Let’s take a closer look at all things Southampton when it comes to the season restart.

Outlook: The season started very badly and hit rock bottom with that hammering by Leicester. Hasenhuttl then went back to his tried and tested 4-2-2-2 formation and kept things simple, as previously he messed around with several formations and his players seemed confused. A run of seven wins from 11 games around the turn of the year pushed them up the Premier League table and they are seven points above the relegation zone with nine games to go. Danny Ings is their main man with 18 goals in all competitions and their high-pressing style often catches out opponents. Defensively they still need to improve but Hasenhuttl has recently signed a new four-year contract extension and there’s a clear plan in place for the future. Saints have some talented young players coming through again and even though they haven’t got a lot of cash to spend, Hasenhuttl has made his team horrible to play against and they should be a solid PL club for the next few seasons.

Tactical analysis: The 4-2-2-2 formation that Hasenhuttl perfected at RB Leipzig has worked well since November with Southampton possessing plenty of speedy attacking players who use this system perfectly. Nathan Redmond, Shane Long and Ings lead the charge, while Sofiane Boufal and Moussa Djenepo are wild cards off the bench. Having extra defensive stability has been key with Hojbjerg and Ward-Prowse playing in deeper midfield roles, plus Stuart Armstrong a perfect blend of a central midfielder and a winger. This formation is very narrow but Saints have pressing from the front mastered and when it works, it works very well.

Possible XI (4-2-2-2) 

—– McCarthy —–

— Walker-Peters — Stephens — Bednarek — Bertrand —

—- Ward-Prowse —- Hojbjerg —-

—- Redmond —- Armstrong —-

—- Long —- Ings —-

Remaining schedule:
Home: Arsenal, Man City, Brighton, Sheffield United
Away: Norwich, Watford, Everton, Man United, Bournemouth

Predicted finish: This really could go one of two ways for Saints. Hasenhuttl has just signed a new contract and there is finally some stability at the club after several managers have come and gone, the Chinese ownership group has said the club has to be self-sustaining and previous star players haven’t been replaced. In theory Saints aren’t really in this relegation battle but if they fail to pick up any points from their first three games, they will be looking nervously over their shoulders. On the other hand, if the pressure is off they could easily push for a top 10 finish as they have a favorable run-in, but is playing a bunch of teams in the relegation spots really a good thing at this time of the season?

Preview: Bayer Leverkusen v Bayern Munich

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Bayern Munich can take another huge step towards winning an eight-straight Bundesliga title when they travel to Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday at the BayArena and below are details on how you can watch Bayer v Bayern in the USA.

[ LIVE: Bundesliga scores ]

This will be a beauty of a game as Hansi Flick’s side have been in sumptuous form, but so too have Bayer with Kai Havertz leading the line. Leverkusen have won three of their four games since the restart and remain firmly in the top four battle as they sit in fifth-place but are just four point behind second-placed Borussia Dortmund. Havertz has scored five goals in his last four games and Real Madrid have reportedly offered over $85 million for him this week, which was rejected.

As for Bayern Munich, they are seven points clear at the top of the table and are ripping teams apart with Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Alphonso Davies and Co. in fine form. Bayern have won all four games since the restart, scoring 13 goals in the process, and barring a catastrophic late collapse they will waltz to the title. Philippe Coutinho remains out injured but they aren’t missing him with Serge Gnabry and Kinglsey Coman in fine form.

Below is how to watch Bayer Leverkusen v Bayern Munich on TV in the USA this Saturday, while above you can follow the action live, as the three points are so valuable to both clubs.

Bayer Leverkusen v Bayern Munich, how to watch

  • TV Channels: FS1
  • Stream Live: Via Fox Soccer
  • When: Saturday, June 6 – 9:30 a.m. ET: Bayer Leverkusen v Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich
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Transfer news: Chilwell to Chelsea; Jimenez to Man United

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In transfer news Ben Chilwell has been linked with a move to Chelsea, while there’s been a new development in a potential move to Man United for Raul Jimenez.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

First up, Chelsea have had a pretty decent few months in the transfer window with Hakim Ziyech locked up, Timo Werner set to arrive in the next few weeks and now they are pushing hard to sign Ben Chilwell. Reports out of Italy say that Leicester want $85 million for Chilwell, who is under contract for another four years.

Multiple reports claim that Chelsea have reopened talks with Leicester over the England international, as a deal was discussed in January. The left back, 23, has been in fine form for the Foxes over the past few years, although talk of a potential move seemed to distract him from December onwards as his play took a nosedive.

As was previously reported, Chelsea have Nicolas Tagliafico lined up as a back-up option and the Ajax defender would certainly be a cheaper option. Is Chilwell worth this huge fee? He could be England’s left back for the next 10 years but there are a few concerning signs.

His crossing ability is undoubted and he’s a fine one-on-one defender, but his distribution and decision-making still needs some work. Chelsea badly need an upgrade in the left back, center back and goalkeeping department and Chilwell would start over Emerson and Marcos Alonso right away. Leicester are of course playing hardball over this price but given the financial impact of the coronavirus, this transfer fee does seem high for a player who only has a few seasons as a Premier League regular under his belt.

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In other transfer news, Man United have been handed a boost in their pursuit of Wolves and Mexico star Raul Jimenez.

Jimenez, 29, has repeatedly been linked with Real Madrid, Juventus, Barcelona and Man United, with the powerful striker having a second-straight stellar season in the Premier League with Wolves.

He has not hidden his love for a move to one of Spain’s big boys and after being a late bloomer after topsy-turvy spells at Benfica and Atletico Madrid, he seems like a man desperate to make up for lost time.

A report from TuttoJuve states that Wolves may lower their asking price for Jimenez in the coming months as they know that transfer fees will drop significantly, but the Molineux club are obviously not in a hurry to sell their top goalscorer. Juve will reportedly offer $25 million plus Gonzalo Higuain for Jimenez.

Speaking to Medio Tiempo, Jimenez’s father recently said his son is flattered by the interest from big clubs but is happy with Wolves for now.

Quite why Wolves would lower their price for Jimenez remains to be seen but he is getting closer to the age of 30 and if they want to cash in on him, they will probably wait until 12 months from now.