As the age old saying goes, if you don't shoot, you don't score, and while modern statistics does tend to debunk many of football cliches, one element that has most definitely held up over time.
In general, the elite players in Europe regularly hit plenty of shots and the stellar names that you would expect to see at the top of the list are generally there.
Hitting plenty of shots, it is no surprise to see, leads to plenty of goals, as reflected by the names in the list below.
These statistics are based players who have acquired a minimum of 10 goal contributions and have played a minimum of 1,000 league minutes.
MOST SHOTS P90, TOP FIVE LEAGUES 19/20
|#||Player Name||Team||S P90|
|5||Robert LEWANDOWSKI||Bayern Munich||4.7|
|6||Gabriel JESUS||Man City||4.6|
|6=||Sergio AGUERO||Man City||4.6|
There's no surprise near the top - Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have regularly been among the highest shot-takers around for the past decade, but it's interesting to see Kylian Mbappe also post these elite numbers, hitting even more than team-mate Neymar.
Further down the list is the ever-present Robert Lewandowski, another who has a high propensity of shots on goal, while Man City's rotating attacking pair of Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero are not dissimilar in their output for a City team with a superb attacking structure.
Lautaro Martinez's position will be of no surprise to those who have followed his potential summer transfer to Barcelona with interest, while the best story of the season so far, Atalanta, means the astonishing Josip Ilicic and Duvan Zapata make the top 10.
SHOTS ON TARGET P90
But what about hitting the target? Well, there's been a few Ronaldo videos doing the round on social media showing the Portuguese firing shots for many conceivable angles and not many anywhere near the target, either. And he does lose his place at number one in this list. Mbappe has been criticised this season for not being as high-level as he has been in the past, but his attacking numbers would suggest he is still getting shots away with real regularity.
|#||Player Name||Team||OT P90|
|5=||Robert LEWANDOWSKI||Bayern Munich||2.4|
|5=||Gabriel JESUS||Man City||2.4|
|7=||Timo WERNER||RB Leipzig||2.1|
The list takes a familiar look until a little further down, where we see the arrival of Ciro Immobile and Timo Werner, two top strikers in their respective leagues. They aren't shooting on the scale of their peers but are finding the target with more regularity. Ilicic's appearance, once again, showcases he really is among the elite this season.
But let's look at a final metric - shot accuracy %. Which players are hitting shots, but getting them on target, too?
Again, we looked at players who had made a minimum of 10 goal contributions (goals + assists) and had played a minimum of 1,000 leagues minutes.
We also wanted to take a decent sample size, so we set a rule that players had to have hit a minimum of 50 shots this season in order to be included.
SHOT ACCURACY %
|#||Player Name||Team||SA %|
|1||Sebastian ANDERSSON||Union Berlin||60.9%|
|3||Wissam BEN YEDDER||Monaco||57.7%|
|6||Gabriel JESUS||Man City||52.2%|
|10||Robert LEWANDOWSKI||Bayern Munich||51.1|
Here we can see a few anomalies; the Union Berlin target man Sebastian Andersson tops the list ahead of some far more illustrious names, but his sample size is low compared to some of his rivals - he has hit 54 shots, for example, compared to Messi's 105. The same applies to Florian Niederlechner of Augsburg, who has the same record as Andersson with only a few more attempts.
But other than these two, we can see plenty more examples of the expected elite; Jamie Vardy is currently top scorer in the Premier League, while Wissam Ben Yedder's intelligent displays for Monaco have led to links with Barcelona.
The rest? Mbappe, Neymar, Neymaer, Lewandowki, Suarez, Jesus - all names who have appeared on the other lists and so it's no surprise to find them here too.
HEY! WHERE'S HAALAND?
And if you are wondering where Erling Haaland is on these lists - he's currently just under the required 1,000 Bundesliga minutes to make the list. When he does, he will almost certainly featured?
The numbers we have provided are only very clear entry-level statistics when examining a forward's attacking prowess.
We need to consider other elements such as:
- PENALTIES: Are spot-kicks padding their numbers?
- ASSISTS: Are they providing an all-round contribution to their team?
- EXPECTED GOALS/ASSISTS: Are they outperforming their expected numbers?
This will come in Part II.