The aerially dominant striker has become an integral part of most manager’s tactical way of thinking for many years now, and it could be argued the trend was perfected by Didier Drogba.
Premier League managers will sign players, who have the physicality to give them an edge on their opponent and this has been part and parcel for the game for many years now, and the best example is having that ‘pivotal’ front man up top that can battle it out with centre backs, and make the ball stick.
Stephen Pickering takes a look at the top five most dominant front men in the Premier League this season:
Christian Benteke – Aston Villa – The Belgian international has become a player renowned for his complete style upfront, and that is mainly because of the dominance he can exert in the air as well as his other attacking prowess.
The young Villa striker is at the very top of the list for winning aerial battles and standing at well over 6 foot, it’s not surprising to how he can unlock his aerial ability over his opponents. The combative 22-year-old striker has competed in 128 aerial battles this season, winning 67 of them, having played 9 times this season that means he wins on average 7.4 aerial battles a match.
Modibo Maiga – West Ham – The Mali international is yet to score for West Ham this season, and hasn’t played in a game since September, but when he has played, in the air he has been a formidable.
Despite only playing 6 games this season, the 26-year-old striker has competed in 85 aerial battles, winning 37 of them. The striker has exhausted some fans with his limitations on the pitch, but you can’t argue that his ability in the air is amongst the best in the division.
Peter Crouch – Stoke – The awkward former Liverpool striker has been a prominent figure on this list since he first broke through, which is unsurprising considering he measures in at over two metres.
The likeable striker has appeared in 8 games this season and competed in 75 aerial battles, winning 48 of them. At 32-years-old the goals have seemingly dried up for the former England international, fortunately his height and dominance in the air will seemingly never die out.
Marouane Chamakh – Palace – The former Arsenal man has been well criticised by many fans and pundits in this country since his move from Bordeaux in 2010, but one thing people have always praised him for is the ability he has with his head.
When he signed for Palace in the summer, it seemed like he may have had the chance to turn his career around, unfortunately it just hasn’t worked out for him. Despite being a regular for the Premier League strugglers, he has found hitting the back of the net difficult and is often used as a target man for Palace as they try and relieve pressure.
The Moroccan international has competed in 134 aerial battles this season, winning 64 of them, which gives him an impressive average of winning 5.8 aerial battles per game.
Olivier Giroud – Arsenal – The in form Arsenal hitman has been terrific this season, and his dominance in the air has been one of the underlying factors.
The French international has competed in 109 aerial battles this season, winning 56 of them, this on average is 5.1 aerial battles won a game. This emphasises the different level of advantages the former Montpellier striker brings to the table, as he continues to flourish at the Emirates.
image: © edrost88