I'm going half a point each way on Alexis Sanchez to be top Premier League goalscorer (Current top Price 29 at Betfred).
Alexis Sanchez Premier League goal scoring stats in the 2 seasons since he joined Arsenal are:-
2014/15 – 16 goals in 2,953 minutes (1 every 184 minutes)
2015/16 – 13 goals in 2,446 minutes (1 every 188 minutes)
Those are very respectable numbers, especially considering he’s had no penalties in that time. He was injured for the middle chunk of last season and when he did return didn’t really get going for a while.
At the odds I think he’s worth a bet as basically he shoots a lot and his shots are generally from positions of a fairly high ExpG (i.e he doesn’t just take lots of long range pot shots, they are good opportunities) so that’s a good combo for the potential for goals. He takes more shots per game than the vast majority of players. Sounds an obvious statement but the number of shots a player takes is hugely important in determining how many goals they are going to score - if you take more shots you are likely to score more goals!
He averaged 3.5 shots per game in his first season in 2014/15 and 3.6 shots per game last season. Below is a table of the players in the last 4 years who have averaged 3.3+ shots per game in a season and played at least 2000 minutes that season:-
He doesn’t need to do much more than carry on as he has been and stay fit (as an Arsenal player that may be easier said than done!) and play most of the season to give us a decent chance of being in the mix. Players who take on average that high a shots per game generally score enough goals to be in the top scorer reckoning if they play enough minutes and aren’t players who shoot from distance a lot. Sanchez doesn’t take penalties which doesn’t help his cause compared to some of the other players on the list above otherwise he’d be in banker territory.
There is reasonable expectation of some improvement in actual goals scored from Sanchez’s shots this season. Last season his expected goals stats suggested he should have scored more than he did. In simple terms the chances he had would have yielded the average player in average circumstances around about 17 – 18 goals in just 2,446 minutes (a full season is 3,420 minutes). He basically missed some great chances. I think it is fair to say Alexis is an above average player so it is likely just variance (or possibly rustiness from his injury layoff) and on average if he keeps putting himself in those positions you would expect him to score a greater number of his chances than he did last season.
The big downside to backing him to be top scorer is he’s not first choice to be on penalties. It’s a challenge to have probably 3 - 5 goals shortfall to make up from open play vs the likes of Aguero, Zlatan and Kane who all get their totals boosted by penalties. Santi Cazorla seems to be first choice on pens for Arsenal when fit. Whether he’ll play every game though this season is doubtful so others may also get an opportunity. Anyone other than Cazorla has been spectacularly unsuccessful from the spot for Arsenal the past few seasons. Sanchez missed a penalty against QPR early on in his Arsenal career and hasn’t taken one since. Walcott, Giroud and Ozil have all missed pens since then in Cazorlas absence. Alexis takes them for Chile so you’d hope that if Arsenal do get a pen when Cazorla isn’t on the pitch it might come around to him again at some point this season. You’ve got to assume though that he won’t be on pens and then if we do get any it is just a bonus. His lack of penalties is negated slightly by the fact he takes a mean free kick and could get a couple of goals from those to compensate a little for the lack of penalties.
Overall I think it’s worth betting on Sanchez at the odds available currently. He’s an elite shot taker so 28/1 for someone who shoots that often and from decent positions has got to be worth a bet. Remember to take eachway, at 28/1 bookmakers will pay out at 7/1 on the top 4 should Sanchez miss out on the top spot
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