The Premier League's leading hitman with 260 goals struck whilst on domestic division duty, Alan Shearer has informed the Premier League's end-of-season review who he feels the top performers in England were last year.
During his own playing days the former Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United striker always studied his opponents ahead of match-days. He noted their weaknesses, how they reacted when he had played against them previously and looked at their movements on and off the ball.
Shearer, currently a Match of the Day pundit, feels any centre back in the league should be interested in his analysis. He said: 'If I was a defender now I'd be fascinated by this because these guys are the secret to a successful Premier League season.'
See below for Shearer's picks
1): Robin van Persie - Manchester United (26 goals, 141 shots)
'Robin van Persie is a productive player. [He has] few shots outside the area but inside he has the lot. He's skilful, pacy, he'll run in behind, he'll score spectacular goals, he'll score tap-ins, he'll score headers - all sorts of goals!'
2): Luis Suarez - Liverpool (23 goals, 187 shots)
'Suarez is different to van Persie. With Luis, he'll try a lot more dribbles - both inside the area and outside. Technically speaking… he is clever and so good [with the ball at his feet]. Of all the strikers on the list he is the most important to his club.'
3): Gareth Bale - Tottenham Hotspur (21 goals, 165 shots)
'It seemed we'd be talking about Bale every week on Match of the Day! He's different from the others in as much as he's more keen on taking pot shots. Some coaches think you should try to stop him from cutting inside from the right side on to his left foot but I think that's virtually impossible because when he's running at that pace - you can't stop him.'
4): Christian Benteke - Aston Villa (19 goals, 104 shots)
'He's a bully. By the end of the season he was knocking defenders off the ball to score all types of goals. He had the fewest number of shots but that indicates great efficiency.'
5): Michu - Swansea City (18 goals, 110 shots)
'If you compare Michu to Bale, it's clearly not his forte to shoot outside the box. His strength is in and around the area, drifting away from players, being in the right space at the right time. But then you have to finish it off. This guy can [finish] which is why he was the bargain of the season.'
image: © edwin11