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Premier League Start: Stats back Lacazette to score in opener


Premier League forwards new and old are preparing for this weekend’s curtain raiser but who is actually set to hit the back of the net? looks at the stats behind the strikers to suggest where the first goals of the new season may come from.

Who's Hot and Who's Not?

Lacazette leads the line

Until now, former Lyon forward Lacazette had been a one-club-man, but his arrival at Arsenal over the summer puts him at the top of the Premier League table of goals-per-season opener. It could not have vib come soon enough for beleaguered Gunners boss Arsene Wenger who would appreciate an opening day win more than most.

It surely makes perfect sense to start his fellow Frenchman in the first game against Leicester, considering that the 26-year-old’s average goal tally on opening days stands at 1.2, putting him ahead of the likes of Sergio Aguero and Wayne Rooney, who have ratios of 0.7 and 0.5 goals-per-opener, respectively.

Old isn’t always gold

You would assume that the more opening games a striker plays, the greater the chance of them scoring, right? Not quite. Premier League stalwarts Peter Crouch and Jermaine Defoe have played the most amount of season openers but have failed to convert appearances into goals. Stoke City’s Crouch is particularly guilty, having found the back of the net just once in 14 attempts and not delivering again in the 15 years since.

To be fair to Defoe, his stats do stack up a little better than those of his former Spurs teammate - the new Bournemouth acquisition has scored six times in 15 bites of the cherry, and could be on for a hattrick of consecutive opening day goals, should he start at the Hawthorns on Saturday.

Young isn’t so gold either

With the types of figures paid and fuss made to bring players to the Premier League these days, there is less slack then ever when it comes to them delivering on the pitch. Chelsea paid Real Madrid over £70m for Alvaro Morata this summer but the stats reveal that he isn’t likely to produce an instant return in their game against Burnley on Saturday, with the 24-year-old failing to have ever scored on the first day of the season.

Also aged 24, Spurs talisman Harry Kane shares the 0% return rate when it comes to curtain raisers, despite achieving back-to-back Golden Boot wins at the end of last season. Another player who historically has not fared as well on opening day performances is Romelu Lukaku, whose average of 0.4 goals-per-opener will not be good enough at Manchester United to lighten the £75m burden on his back.

New West Ham signing Javier Hernandez is no stranger to the expectation at Old Trafford and the former Red Devil adds to the list of strikers who have so far suffered a 100% rate of opening day ducks.

Lacazette Comparison

Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud didn’t exactly overwhelm last season, with the former scoring just twice in the league – meagre reading when compared to the 30 Ligue 1 goals racked up by Lacazette at Lyon.

Lacazette is the only player in this season’s batch of Premier League scorers to have averaged more than a goal-per-opener – a figure far better than that of Danny Welbeck (0.5) and Olivier Giroud (0.3).

Not that Wenger should need further reason to field the latest addition to his striking artillery on Friday, he will surely remember Arsenal’s opener last season, which saw them lose 4-3 in a match where they were forced to rely on two midfielders and a defender to impact their side of the scoreboard.