Football Features

Best Premier League strikers: Most goals of all-time, single-season and by game

By James Amey

Published: 13:42, 29 July 2023

The Premier League has seen some of the best strikers in world football strut their stuff  in the competition since its inception in 1992. 

Harry Kane has been the main man over the last few seasons. But despite scoring 30 goals in 2022/23, he was blown out of the water by Man City’s new number nine Erling Haaland. The Norwegian broke all sorts of goalscoring records in his debut season in England, including the most goals ever scored in a single Premier League campaign.

But where do these modern greats rank among some of the most lethal finishers of seasons gone by?

We looked through the history of the competition (or since Opta started recording data) to find the players with the most goals and  shots on target in Premier League history. Read on to also find out who scored the most in a single Premier League game and single season.

Best Premier League strikers ranked by goals scored:

Most goals since Premier League records began

Having scored 260 times for Southampton, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United, Alan Shearer currently holds the record for the most goals scored in Premier League history. As well as the Premier League records for the most goals and assists (324), the most goals and assists in a single season (47) and the most winning goals in a year (12).

Shearer is also just one of two players to score 25+ goals in five different Premier League games alongside Harry Kane, who is hot on his heels in the race for his all-time record. The Spurs striker currently has 213 goals in 320 top-flight appearances and needs just 48 more to overtake Newcastle’s record goalscorer.

Player Team(s) Goals
Alan Shearer Southampton, Blackburn, Newcastle 260
Harry Kane Norwich, Tottenham 213
Wayne Rooney Everton, Man Utd 208
Andrew Cole Newcastle, Man Utd, Blackburn, Fulham, Man City, Portsmouth, Sunderland 187
Sergio Aguero Man City 184
Frank Lampard West Ham, Chelsea, Man City 177
Thierry Henry Arsenal 175
Robbie Fowler Liverpool, Leeds, Man City, Blackburn 163
Jermain Defoe West Ham, Tottenham, Portsmouth, Sunderland,Bournemouth 162
Michael Owen Liverpool, Newcastle, Man Utd, Stoke 150

Most goals in single Premier League season

Erling Haaland’s first season in English football could not have gone better. The Norwegian won the Premier League Golden Boot, the Champions League Golden Boot, became the first player to be named the Premier League Player and Young Player of the Season in the same campaign, won the treble and scored 52 goals in 53 games.

As well as all that, Haaland set a new record for the most goals scored in a single Premier League season. He found the back of the net 36 times in 35 matches, breaking Alan Shearer and Andy Cole’s joint-record of 34 in a debut season. This will probably never be bettered. It’s not surprising that the Cyborg is already the odds on favourite to win the Premier League Golden Boot in 2023/24.

Season Player Games Goals Team
2022/23 Erling Haaland 35 36 Man City
1993/94 Andrew Cole 40 34 Newcastle
1994/95 Alan Shearer 42 34 Blackburn
2017/18 Mohamed Salah 36 32 Liverpool
1995/96 Alan Shearer 35 31 Blackburn
2007/08 Cristiano Ronaldo 34 31 Manchester United
1993/94 Alan Shearer 40 31 Blackburn
2013/14 Luis Suarez 33 31 Liverpool
2003/04 Thierry Henry 37 30 Arsenal
2011/12 Robin van Persie 38 30 Arsenal
2017/18 Harry Kane 37 30 Tottenham
1999/00 Kevin Phillips 36 30 Sunderland
2022/23 Harry Kane 38 30 Tottenham

Most goals in a single Premier League game

Five players hold the joint record for the most goals scored in a Premier League game, all finding the back of the net five times. Andy Cole was the first player to achieve the feat during the 1994/95 season when his five goals helped Manchester United to a record breaking 9-0 victory over Ipswich at Old Trafford. The Englishman is currently fourth in the Premier League goalscoring charts with 187 goals, an even more impressive record when you discover that only one them was from the penalty spot.

As well as being the all-time top goalscorer in the history of the competition, Alan Shearer is one of the five players to have scored five times in a single match. He scored a first half hat-trick against Sheffield Wednesday in 1999, before adding two late goals in an 8-0 victory.

In 2009, Jermain Defoe became the first-ever player to score five times in single half of Premier League football, including a seven minute hat-trick, as Spurs ran out 9-1 winners over Wigan at White Hart Lane.

Dimitar Berbatov became the fourth back in 2010 as Manchester United defeated Blackburn 7-1, before Sergio Aguero scored five times in just 20 minutes against Newcastle. The Argentinian had gone into the match without a Premier League goal in 424 minutes of football but found his shooting boots, beating Tim Krul five times from just seven shots.

Player Team Opponent Date Season Goals
Andy Cole Manchester United Ipswich Town 04/03/1995 1994/95 5
Alan Shearer Newcastle United Sheffield Wednesday 19/09/1999 1999/00 5
Jermain Defoe Tottenham Hotspur Wigan Athletic 22/11/2019 2019/20 5
Dimitar Berbatov Manchester United Blackburn Rovers 27/11/2010 2010/11 5
Sergio Aguero Manchester City Newcastle United 3/10/2015 2015/16 5

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Most shots on target in Premier League history

Most shots on target since Premier League records began

Since 2006/07, when Opta first started recording shot data, Harry Kane is the only player to have 500+ shots on target in that time, scoring 213 times from 523 shots on target. Wayne Rooney (467) and Sergio Aguero (423) are the only other players to hit the target 400+ times in that time period.

Player Team(s) Shots on target
Harry Kane Norwich, Tottenham 523
Wayne Rooney Everton, Man Utd 467
Sergio Aguero Man City 423
Robin van Persie Arsenal, Man Utd 360
Mohamed Salah Chelsea, Liverpool 356
Jermain Defoe West Ham, Tottenham, Portsmouth, Bournemouth, Sunderland 342
Romelu Lukaku Chelsea, West Brom, Everton, Man Utd 331
Jamie Vardy Leicester City 300
Frank Lampard West Ham, Chelsea, Man City 299
Raheem Sterling Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea 295

Most shots on target within a single Premier League season

The 2003/04 season was a memorable one for Arsenal fans. They became the first side in Premier League history to go a whole season unbeaten, becoming the Invincibles. Thierry Henry was one of the catalysts for their achievement, scoring 30 times and providing six assists in his 37 appearances. The Frenchman hit the target 93 times, setting a new Premier League record for the most shots on target in a single season (since records began in 2003/04, at least). Only Robin van Persie has come vaguely close since (82 shots on target in 2011/12).

Season Player Games Shots on target Team
2003/04 Thierry Henry 37 93 Arsenal
2011/12 Robin van Persie 38 82 Arsenal
2013/14 Luis Suarez 33 81 Liverpool
2007/08 Cristiano Ronaldo 34 77 Man Utd
2017/18 Harry Kane 37 76 Tottenham
2015/16 Harry Kane 38 75 Tottenham
2012/13 Gareth Bale 33 73 Tottenham
2012/13 Luis Suarez 33 72 Liverpool
2011/12 Wayne Rooney 34 70 Man Utd
2004/05 Thierry Henry 32 68 Arsenal

Most shots on target within a single Premier League game

In 2011, Emmanuel Adebayor had a monumental battle with Ben Foster. The Togolese striker scored twice, assisted Gareth Bale, hit the target with nine of this 10 shots and missed a first half penalty as Spurs left the Hawthorns with all three points in a 3-1 win. This still remains a Premier League record for the most shots on target in a single game since records began in 2003/04.

Player Team Opponent Season Minutes played Shots on target
Emmanuel Adebayor Tottenham Hotspur West Brom 2011/12 90 9
Sergio Aguero Manchester City Tottenham Hotspur 2014/15 90 8
Jermain Defoe Tottenham Hotspur Wigan Athletic 2009/10 90 7
Wayne Rooney Manchester United Wolverhampton Wanderers 2011/12 90 7
Fernando Torres Liverpool Arsenal 2008/09 90 7
Harry Kane  Tottenham Hotspur West Bromich Albion 2016/17 89 7