Football Features

Every Premier League club’s clutch player

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 7:57, 26 April 2024

There is perhaps no greater joy in football than a late winner.

This season’s Premier League has been no exception, with plenty coming in the dying stages of stoppage time.

For the victors, it is pure unbridled joy; for the fallen, there is a hope of the ground swallowing them up. Certain players have built a reputation as ‘clutch’, a term borrowed from US sports that, in essence, means the ability to do something when it is especially needed, such as pushing a team to victory.

We will define it even further and focus on the winning goal. Not every such effort is equal; from a technical standpoint, netting the opener in a game that ends 1-0 counts, but that strike could hypothetically come in the first couple of seconds or the 90th minute. The latter is equally dramatic as a team coming from one goal down and grabbing all three points in stoppage time.

Opta defines ‘winning goals’ as “the goal that makes the difference,” so if a team wins 5-0, it would be the goal that made it 1-0, or if the result were 4-2, it would be the third goal scored by the winning team.

So, who are the most clutch players for each Premier League team this season?


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Arsenal

  • Player: Martin Ødegaard
  • Match-winning goals: 5

There’s no question Martin Ødegaard is the leader of the current Arsenal team, and the mercurial Norwegian playmaker has often been at the centre of everything positive in the Gunners’ attack — just as Alan Smith told Squawka.

The likes of Leandro Trossard and Bukayo Saka are grabbing the headlines at the moment, but Ødegaard has often produced it when it counts. Ødegaard has scored eight Premier League goals this season with five being match-winners. The earliest winner came as Arsenal beat Burnley 5-0 (fourth minute), with a 53rd-minute penalty against Crystal Palace (1-0) on matchday two being the most dramatic.

Aston Villa

  • Player: Ollie Watkins
  • Match-winning goals: 5

This has been Ollie Watkins’ most-prolific Premier League campaign to date. He’s on the cusp of registering 20 goals, with five of his current 19 classed as winning efforts. All but one of those goals have come deep into the second half. Two particularly stand out: both saw him put Aston Villa ahead when the scores were 1-1, firstly on matchday 13 at Tottenham (61st minute) and then away to Brentford (85th minute).

Bournemouth

  • Player: Justin Kluivert
  • Match-winning goals: 4

Patrick Kluivert scored a dramatic 85th-minute winner to seal Ajax’s fourth European Cup four years before his son Justin was born. Having joined permanently from Roma last summer, the younger Kluivert’s winner against Sheffield United, a first goal for Bournemouth, saw him become only the second player, after Stevan Jovetić, to score in every Big Five league in the 21st century. He’s gone on to be a match-winner on three more occasions, most recently a 79th-minute effort at Crystal Palace that saw the Cherries run out 1-0 winners.

Brentford

  • Player: Yoane Wissa
  • Match-winning goals: 3

It’s been a tricky campaign for Brentford, who started without lethal marksman Ivan Toney, though Bryan Mbeumo picked up the slack before he sustained a severe ankle injury. Not to worry, as Yoane Wissa has established himself as a credible attacking threat, especially in recent weeks. Of his seven goals for the Bees this season, three have been game-winners, with two — against Fulham and Luton away from home — coming on the stroke of half time.

Brighton

  • Players: Pervis Estupiñán, João Pedro, Jack Hinshelwood
  • Match-winning goals: 2

So much was expected from Brighton heading into this campaign, but they’ve been unable to replicate last season’s exciting form. Many will point to unfortunate injuries as they are currently languishing in mid-table, which is fair. But neither Kaoru Mitoma nor Solly March are the Seagulls’ best when it comes to winning the day. That honour is shared between three players: Pervis Estupiñán, João Pedro and Jack Hinshelwood. All have done so on two occasions. Both of Estupiñán’s goals this season have been winners; Hinshelwood has scored three goals in total, but it is worth acknowledging that he’s been Brighton’s hero as a teenager.

Burnley

  • Players: Jay Rodríguez, Jacob Bruun Larsen, Lorenz Assignon, Wilson Odobert and David Datro Fofana.
  • Match-winning goals: 1

Following their empathic promotion to England’s top division, in which their football was proactive, many observers were looking forward to Burnley rubbing shoulders with the Premier League’s elite. However, to say they’ve often struggled would be an understatement. So far, Vincent Kompany’s side have managed just five wins, with a different player being responsible for each victory. Jay Rodríguez, Jacob Bruun Larsen, Lorenz Assignon, Wilson Odobert and David Datro Fofana have all scored winning goals for the Clarets this season.

Chelsea

  • Player: Cole Palmer
  • Match-winning goals: 6

In another miserable season at Stamford Bridge, there’s at least a shining light with newcomer Cole Palmer, who has become their most-important player — still yet to turn 22. Chelsea’s leading marksman has bagged 20 goals, matching the indomitable Erling Haaland, with six of those efforts being match-winners. Arguably, the most iconic came against Manchester United at home, when he  secured all three points in the 101st minute, completing his hat-trick in the process.

Crystal Palace

  • Player: Odsonne Edouard, Eberechi Eze
  • Match-winning goals: 2

In a season of few managerial changes (three since the campaign kicked off), Roy Hodgson is the most-recent departure, being replaced at Crystal Palace by Oliver Glasner. The Eagles have experienced a mix-bag campaign, but there have been plenty of notable highlights, with Odsonne Edouard starting the season on a strong note and Eberechi Eze impressing throughout. Both have netted two match-winners so, and Jean-Philippe Mateta could soon join them.

Everton

  • Players: Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Idrissa Gueye, Dwight McNeil
  • Match-winning goals: 2

There shouldn’t be any final-day trepidation for Everton despite losing a bag of points due to financial irregularities. An emotional 2-0 win over Liverpool saw hardworking ‘number nine’ Dominic Calvert-Lewin bag the Toffees’ second. Although it wasn’t a match-winning goal, Calvert-Lewin does have two to his name, the same as Idrissa Gueye and Dwight McNeil.

Fulham

  • Players: Rodrigo Muniz, Bobby De Cordova-Reid, Alex Iwobi
  • Match-winning goals: 2

Among the many revelations in this season’s Premier League is Fulham marksman Rodrigo Muniz, who has scored eight goals across 20 appearances, with two game-winners. He’s matched by Bobby De Cordova-Reid and Alex Iwobi, the latter sealing all three points at Old Trafford in the 97th minute.


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Liverpool

  • Player: Darwin Núñez
  • Match-winning goals: 5

The indomitable Mohamed Salah has netted four match-winners. but that is not enough to be Liverpool’s most clutch player this season. That honour belongs to Darwin Núñez. The oft-maligned Uruguayan has come up trumps five times, most notably at Newcastle and Nottingham Forest when he scored in the 93rd and 99th minute, respectively.

Luton Town

  • Player: Carlton Morris
  • Match-winning goals: 2

No one expected Luton to pull up trees in their inaugural Premier League campaign, but the one-time nonleague side has given a good account of themselves. Elijah Adebayo has been inspirational, but Carlton Morris has stood out with his two match-winning efforts. The most recent coming at home against Bournemouth when he struck in the 90th minute.

Manchester City

  • Player: Erling Haaland
  • Match-winning goals: 6

There are no surprises about who Manchester City’s most clutch player is this season. Erling Haaland might not be as ruthless as in his debut campaign, but he’s comfortably the league’s best number nine. Like former teammate Palmer, he’s bagged 20 goals, with six deciding the contest in Pep Guardiola’s team’s favour. It’s been a big boost in their quest for the title.

Manchester United

  • Player: Bruno Fernandes
  • Match-winning goals: 5

One can forgive Manchester United supporters for wanting this season to end, given their side’s disappointing performances, but you cannot accuse Bruno Fernandes of lacking effort. Sometimes, he is his own worst enemy. Still, with five match-winning goals, most recently in an incredible 4-2 win over Sheffield United, he can finish this campaign as the Premier League’s most clutch player.

Newcastle

  • Player: Alexander Isak
  • Match-winning goals: 3

Newcastle’s centre-forward role is heavy, but Alexander Isak has unquestionably stepped up. He is enjoying his most prolific league season for the Magpies, which includes 17 goals and three match-winning strikes.

Nottingham Forest

  • Player: Chris Wood
  • Match-winning goals: 3

Someone familiar with leading Newcastle’s attack is Chris Wood, who could only manage five goals across 39 matches in all competitions. He’s been far more prolific in a Nottingham Forest jersey, and if they are to stay up, then he’ll play a significant role. So far, the Kiwi striker has netted 12 goals, with three being match-winners and they’ve come via a different body part: vs Sheffield United (header), Newcastle (left foot) and Fulham (right foot).

Sheffield United

  • Player: James McAtee
  • Match-winning goals: 2

Sheffield United are going straight back down to the Championship. Goals and wins have been a premium for the Premier League’s poorest attack. To date, they’ve managed just three wins, with James McAtee being responsible for two of those victories.

Tottenham

  • Player: Son Heung-min
  • Match-winning goals: 5

The wheels eventually came off for a scintillating Tottenham under Ange Postecoglou in the title race. Champions League football, though, is within their grasp, and if a return to European football’s premier competition is achieved, then Son Heung-min would be more than responsible. The South Korean has secured five of their 18 successes.

West Ham

  • Players: Jarrod Bowen, Tomas Soucek
  • Match-winning goals: 4

You never know which Hammers side will show up every week. We’ve seen the best and worst this season while Jarrod Bowen stamped his mark down as West Ham’s man for the big moments. His four game-winning efforts match Tomas Soucek, another the fans have come to love.

Wolves

  • Player: Sasa Kalajdzic
  • Match-winning goals: 2

Hwang Hee-chan and Matheus Cunha regularly own any positive headline that comes Wolves’ direction, but neither can say they are their club’s leading game-winner. At least for now, that belongs to Sasa Kalajdzic, who has secured two victories for a team that has blown hot and cold.

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