Every year, high schools classes hand out superlatives to individual classmates for any number of mostly inconsequential personality traits. Awards like “Best Dressed” and “Most Popular” are handed to kids who probably don’t need the confidence boost.
Here at Paste, we’ve decided to follow the example of oh-so-many yearbooks and create our own batch of superlatives. We’re focusing in on Premier League forwards, a motley group of goal scorers who do the glory work of putting the ball in the back of the net.
There are a few rules: A player can only win one superlative, so while someone like…say, the sadly injured Zlatan, may think he’s the best at all of these things, it’s only fair that we spread the wealth. We wouldn’t want anyone’s head to get too big, now would we?
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Best finisher: Harry Kane - Tottenham Hotspur
The Tottenham man is the best in the league at turning his shots into goals. Despite missing time with injury in 2017, Kane's rate of return on his chances keeps him in the Golden Boot race and gives Spurs the security of knowing they'll never go too long without a goal from their lead forward.
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Best centre forward: Romelu Lukaku - Everton
Lukaku is a multi-faceted player, so it seems wrong to limit him simply to "best centre forward." But the Everton man is so good with his back to goal doing the traditional work of a centre forward that the best fit for a superlative is this one.
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Best creative forward: Zlatan Ibrahimovic - Manchester United
We're driving a bit of a wedge between "creative' and "passing" here, in part to make room for the talents of Ibrahimovic. Well into his mid-30s, the Swede had the ability to create chances out of thin air with his shooting, passing and dribbling. Get well soon buddy!
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Best passing forward: Alexis Sanchez - Arsenal
Among all the players who regularly start up top for their respective Premier League clubs, none is better at supplying passes that result in goals than Sanchez. The Chilean leads Premier League forwards in both assists and key passes.
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Best poacher: Diego Costa - Chelsea
Costa always ranks highly in terms of goals scored inside of the opponent's 18-yard box. He may not be a classic poacher in the vein of Gary Lineker, but the Spain international has the poacher's ability to be in the right place at the right time.
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Best all around forward: Sergio Aguero - Manchester City
Despite rumors that he could be out at City by the summer, Aguero remains one of the best all-around forwards in the world. His strike rate is superb, and he's an excellent passer and dribbler of the ball.
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Best wide forward: Roberto Firmino - Liverpool
The bulk of Firmino's appearances in 2017 have been at the number 9 position, but the Brazilian's combination of dribbling, passing and finishing makes him equally dangerous when deployed wide in a 4-3-3.
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Best aerial threat: Christian Benteke - Crystal Palace
The Crystal Palace man gets "Best Aerial Threat" in part because although there are forwards that are better in the air than him, they're all up for better superlatives. Nevertheless, the Belgian is a solid target for crosses and puts them away at a good rate.
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Best long range threat: Joshua King - Bournemouth
The former Manchester United man wins a superlative that could easily have gone to Ibrahimovic or Aguero. If King is far behind that pair with his threat from distance, the stats don't show it; he's top three in long range goals for forwards in 2016/17.