By Charles Brody – The 2015/16 European club campaign has had some striking moments. From a unexpected Jamie Vardy of Leicester City setting records and sitting on top of the Premier League’s Golden Boot table to Luis Suarez and Neymar settling in to the spotlight at Barcelona to Robert Lewandowski’s incredible 5 goals in 9 minutes against Wolfsburg the campaign is off to a hot start.
Which made us ask who are the top strikers thus far in the season? And to add some intrigue and keep the 2 most dominant players of this generation off the list we excluded Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Although after looking over the list…maybe they don’t belong on the list just yet.
Top 10 Strikers of 2015/16
10. Sergio Aguero – Manchester City – Premier League
The Argentine keeps his place in the top ten by virtue of his undoubted quality and deadly instincts. An injury-plagued past few months have contributed to a loss of consistency in Aguero’s performances, and both Manchester City and Argentina have suffered as a consequence. Looked back to form with a stunning five-goal haul against Newcastle, but a serious hamstring injury soon after stopped his renaissance short.
9. Alexis Sanchez – Arsenal – Premier League
Without boasting the numbers of the bigger guns on the list, the Chilean remains a player who can change the game at any moment and exert his influence through pure kinetic energy. Winning the Copa America took a toll on Arsenal’s prized forward, who continues to suffer from fatigue throughout the league season, but demonstrated play at the very highest level with a hat-trick versus Leicester and a stunning double against Manchester United.
8. Karim Benzema – Real Madrid – La Liga
While off-the-field incidents threaten to derail his promising season, the Frenchman’s top class performances have booked his place on this list. Having not featured in over a month through injury, it’s easy to forget his crucial goals that earned Real Madrid six points during the early stage of the season. Clinical, unselfish, a critical component to Real’s attacking trident, it will be a major boost if he is fit for el Clasico.
7. Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Paris Saint Germain – Ligue 1
He may not have put France “on the map” as he claimed, but he may well have put Swedish football there. The country’s record scorer has carried his national team to European qualification with 11 goals in ten matches. Domestically, his league-leading nine goals are a big reason why Paris Saint-Germain already look odds-on favorites to defend their title. Getting better with age like a fine wine? We’ll see.
6. Jamie Vardy – Leicester City – Premier League
The idea of a Leicester City player making this list would have seemed ludicrous a few short months ago, but the explosive Englishman’s inclusion is unavoidable after 12 goals in 13 Premier League matches. During Vardy’s record-setting 9-match scoring streak, his goals have single-handedly earned Leicester 13 points and sent the club to within a solitary point of the league leaders. The surprise of the season, hands down.
5. Thomas Muller – Bayern Munich – Bundesliga
A goal machine, whether domestically, in Europe, or for his country. His 22 goals and five assists in 26 matches have earned an astounding 16 combined points for Bayern Munich and Germany so far this season, underlining his consistency and importance. One of the few players who haven’t skipped a beat between a superb World Cup and the new club campaign, he remains undervalued compared to his red-hot teammate (see below).
4. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Borussia Dortmund – Bundesliga
The best goals per game ratio in world football. With 20 goals in 17 matches, having only failed to score in two of those games, Aubameyang is the most underrated striker this season. Tied as Bundesliga scoring leader with 14, and with Borussia Dortmund sitting comfortably in second place, Thomas Tuchel will be crossing his fingers that the Gabonese firecracker realizes his ambitions of the 50-goal season.
3. Luis Suarez – Barcelona – La Liga
Barcelona’s leading scorer in all competitions has turned on the class since Lionel Messi’s injury on September 26. Conjuring up game-changing moments such as the stunning winner over Bayer Leverkusen, the Uruguayan has earned eight points in La Liga alone for his club, while an improving relationship with Neymar has helped to maintain the incredible standard of attacking prowess set by last year’s treble-winners. Always a good watch, able to pull a rabbit out of his hat at any moment.
2. Neymar – Barcelona – La Liga
The Brazilian boasts the most assists in all competitions of anyone on this list, and his evolution into a creative playmaker has been vital in filling the massive gap left by the injured Messi. A central figure for both his club and country, Neymar may have the brightest future of any player on the planet given his statistics and accomplishments at the age of 23. Rightly praised around the world for his wonder goal versus Villarreal and his deadly combinations with Suarez. His La Liga-leading 11 goals aren’t too bad either.
1. Robert Lewandowski – Bayern Munich – Bundesliga
The hottest striker in the world, bar none. His five goals in nine minutes against Wolfsburg remains one of the most incredible feats in recent memory, and well worthy of the Guinness World Record. A goal per game has helped Bayern to the top of the table in the Bundesliga, while he has been an absolute giant for Poland in Euro qualifying with 13 goals and four assists in ten matches. At one point he had scored 15 goals in six for club and country, and while Ronaldo and Messi were intentionally omitted from this list, Lewandowski’s exploits mean that he probably would sit in pole position even if faced off against the best duo on the planet.
HAVE YOUR SAY…Who are we missing from our list? Send 365.WSS an email with your opinions.