Technology and coding are becoming increasingly used in football for decision-making through predictions of outcomes. In this project, I created an algorithm in PyCharm using Python to put together the Premier League top scorer prediction.
But before going further, it’s good to mention a bit about myself. My name is Harri Roblin and I live in South East England. My passion is to explore how science, sport, and coding can be linked and used to optimize results.
So, for this project, the dataset used was obtained through FBref.com. This included signings and departures up to transfer deadline day.
I used a series of data sets obtained through FBref to make the Premier League top scorer prediction. These include:
- Percentage of total shots a player in the given position for that specific side took last season
- Passes leading to shots for each player
- The comparison of each departure and new signing’s passes leading to shots was used to adjust the team’s total shots
- Historic statistics for promoted sides and corrected their shot tallies based on averages for previous seasons
- Calculation of the shots a player will take by multiplying the new shot total by the percentage of total shots the player in that position took last season
- The conversion rate of the player was then multiplied by the predicted number of shots to obtain their predicted non-penalty goals
- If the player will take penalties for their team, penalties their team won last year was multiplied by their career conversion rate to calculate additional goals
Now let’s discuss the Premier League top scorer prediction chart by Clubs (in alphabetical order).
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Arsenal – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (11 goals)
The Premier League top scorer prediction would not make any sense without Aubameyang.
The algorithm predicts the Gabonese international to have another down year in terms of goals. Aubameyang’s conversion rate dropped by 8% from 2019-20 to the 2020-21 seasons.
This is one explanation for his drop in goals. Another reason is the lack of creativity in the midfield behind him. Willian was Arsenal’s top assistor last year with 5 assists. Arteta will be hoping that Smith-Rowe and Odegaard will take a step up next season and provide the chances for Aubameyang.
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Aston Villa – Danny Ings (22 goals)
Danny Ings was a great pick-up for Aston Villa and the algorithm thinks they will reap the rewards with his goalscoring. With the likes of Emi Buendia and Leon Bailey behind him, they will hope they have filled the Jack Grealish shaped hole in their team.
Ings is a quick, hard-working number 9 who should be much more clinical than Watkins was last year. The only question mark around Danny Ings is his fitness. He was out for 2 months last year with various injuries, and it will be up to Aston Villa’s medical team to keep him fit.
The algorithm’s prediction of Ings as one of the Premier League top scorers in the 2021/22 season should be the right call.
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Brighton and Hove Albion – Neal Maupay (8 goals)
The story of Brighton’s year last year was not taking their chances. Based on expected goals, Brighton would have finished 5th. They underachieved this total by 16.7 which meant they finished 16th.
Graham Potter has failed to recruit a striker this summer despite their rumored approach for Crystal Palace’s new French starlet Odsonne Edouard. This means the algorithm is predicting their top scorer to be Neal Maupay once again, with a league-low 8 goals.
If his conversion rate improves this season, his goal tally will increase drastically, and Brighton’s league position should improve with it.
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Burnley – Chris Wood (13 goals)
Chris Wood is a vital cog in Sean Dyche’s system. The 6ft3 kiwi has been a reliable goal scorer for Burnley, having netted at least 10 goals in his last 4 seasons.
16 of his 47 goals in the Premier League have come from headers and with the new record-signing of Maxwell Cornet, he should be getting improved service from the wings.
Cornet crossed 64 times for Lyon last season, getting 5 assists. He should give Burnley a pace and directness which they lacked last year.
It is therefore fitting that Chris Wood makes the Premier League top scorer prediction chart.
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Brentford – Ivan Toney (14 goals)
Ivan Toney comes into the Premier League this year with a chip on his shoulder. He is coming off a record-breaking 31 goal season in the Championship. However, he had an unsuccessful stint at Newcastle earlier in his career.
This season he will be out to prove he can score at the top level. Brentford’s physical, high-pressing style of play should mean he gets plenty of chances. If he carries on finishing as he has been, do not be surprised if he’s right up there with the best in the goalscoring charts.
His finishing and clinical penalty-taking mean the algorithm predicts he will score 14 goals this year. This would be a good tally for a striker in a newly promoted team.
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Chelsea – Romelu Lukaku (23 goals)
Lukaku could be the signing that pushes Chelsea to win the Premier League. The algorithm predicts Lukaku to score 23 goals, which will be a realistic figure if Belgium carries on his form from Inter. He will bring the whole package up front for Chelsea – quickness, and physicality while also having the clinical edge to finish his chances.
Timo Werner was meant to be that top-level number 9 for Chelsea when he signed, but his finishing has not been good enough to fill that role. He was in the top 5 for big chances missed last year with 18, which is far too big a figure for a striker with 6 goals.
Chelsea will be hoping that the arrival of Lukaku will bring the competition that sparks a much better season for Werner.
This Premier League top scorer prediction of Lukaku being the Joint second with 23 goals, should be one of the most accurate.
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Crystal Palace – Odsonne Edouard (15 goals)
Edouard scored an impressive 18 goals for Celtic last season, and he will be an important player for Crystal Palace this year. The algorithm predicts he will score 15 goals in his debut season under Viera. This is mainly due to the strengthening of the squad around him.
The new signing of Olise will bring more creativity behind Edouard, while Guehi and Anderson will bring a solid base at the back. The only concern for Crystal Palace is their starting 11 will be quite young, so Viera will be hoping that the ability of the side will be enough to compensate for the lack of experience. A big season for Edouard ahead.
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Everton – Dominic Calvert-Lewin (18 goals)
Calvert-Lewin had a breakout season last year, scoring 16 goals. He got rewarded with an England call-up to Euro 2020, which would have only done good things for the striker’s confidence.
The algorithm predicts he will score 18 goals for Everton next year, which would be a remarkable feat for the 24-year-old. Calvert-Lewin excels in the air, having scored 7 of his 16 goals last year via headers.
The service to him this year will only improve with the acquisitions of Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend, which should increase his goal tally. Spending a summer with Harry Kane will also only help his finishing.
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Leeds United – Patrick Bamford (16 goals)
Bamford is one of the only strikers whose goal tally improved after getting promoted from the Championship. Bielsa saw something in Bamford that no one else did and he was rewarded with Bamford scoring his career-best 17 goals last season.
Despite this being an impressive figure, Bamford missed the biggest chances in the Premier League last year with 21. Due to Leeds’s high pressing and very attacking football, I think Bamford will score a similar figure next year. He has some of the best movement in the Premier League and has been rewarded with his first England cap this year.
Leicester City – Jamie Vardy (16 goals)
Year on year, pundits say it will be Vardy’s last season playing and scoring regularly at the top level. However, he seems to age like fine wine. Despite not scoring for a prolonged period, Vardy scored 15 goals last year.
The algorithm predicts he will improve to 16 goals this year. Vardy might have lost some of his explosiveness with age, but he still has the speed and instincts to score at the top level. Leicester spent £27 million on Patson Daka, who should provide stiff competition for the No. 9 position.
Rodgers will hope Vardy can act as a mentor for Daka, who should eventually replace Vardy in the starting line-up.
Liverpool – Mohammed Salah (22 goals)
The signing of Mohammed Salah for £43 million was seen as a steep fee at first. His unsuccessful stint at Chelsea meant he was unproven at this level, but he has more than paid back his price tag.
He has scored an average of 23.75 goals a season for Liverpool from the right-wing. The algorithm predicts he will score just below this total with 22 goals. If Liverpool is going to challenge for the title, Salah will have to be at his best.
Despite their lack of signings, Liverpool had so many injuries last year that they will be significantly improved for the new season. Players such as Van Dijk, Fabinho, Gomez, and Henderson were all injured for prolonged periods last season. Each of these plays a vital role in Jurgen Klopp’s system.
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Manchester City – Raheem Sterling (12 goals)
12 goals seem quite a small figure for Man City’s top scorer with the quality they have in the side and the number of chances they create. This is due to what has been coined as Pep Roulette, the constant chopping and changing of the Man City team. The depth and quality he has available to him mean that players like Sterling will never play week in, week out.
However, the algorithm still predicts Sterling to be the top goal scorer for Man City. Sterling had a very good Euro 2020 for England, scoring 3 goals throughout the tournament. He will be hoping to carry this form into the Premier League and hope it will be enough to become more of a mainstay in the Man City starting line-up.
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Manchester United – Cristiano Ronaldo (24 goals)
Ronaldo has returned to Manchester and will hope his second spell will be as successful as his first. These nostalgia signings often turn out badly for clubs when old players return. However, the algorithm predicts Ronaldo still can meet expectations and score 24 goals.
This would make him the league’s top scorer. Despite losing some of his athleticism, Ronaldo still has the finishing and savviness to score lots of goals at the top level. Ronaldo scored 31 goals in Serie A last year, second only to Immobile. With players like Sancho and Rashford on either side of him, Ronaldo will not be short of chances this year. It is hard to see how this move can go wrong.
Newcastle – Callum Wilson (12 goals)
Last year, Callum Wilson scored 12 goals in only 26 matches at a conversion rate of 18%. Without him last season, Newcastle struggled to score, and keeping Wilson fit will be key to their survival push. Joe Willock should help them going forward, but outside of him, Saint-Maximin and Wilson, the Newcastle team lacks quality.
When you partner this with the defensive football of Steve Bruce, this is why the algorithm has only predicted Wilson to score 12 goals. If Wilson gets injured for a substantial period this year, it could lead to Newcastle having a relegation fight on their hands.
Norwich City – Teemu Pukki (10 goals)
Norwich has become known as a yo-yo club, bouncing back and forth between the Premier League and the Championship. Teemu Pukki has been there for the whole of this journey. He made an electric start to Norwich’s last Premier League campaign, scoring 4 goals in 2 games. He could not sustain this form and finished the season with 11 goals.
Norwich comes into this second season in the Premier League with a much stronger squad. Norwich will hope this partnered with a Premier League season under their belt will propel players like Teemu Pukki to score more goals.
However, the algorithm predicts Pukki’s goal tally from the last time round will decrease, with him only netting 10 goals. This is mainly due to the loss of Emi Buendia to Aston Villa, which leaves a huge hole in the Norwich attack.
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Southampton – Adam Armstrong (12 goals)
Like Ivan Toney, Armstrong had an unsuccessful stint at Newcastle earlier in his career, scoring 0 goals in 15 matches. However, he comes into the Premier League this season with a wealth of experience scoring in the Championship. He has scored 44 goals in his last 2 seasons for Blackburn.
The algorithm thinks this will translate into 12 goals this season. He has big shoes to fill with the departure of Ings and he is somewhat of a like-for-like replacement. Armstrong is a hard-working, quick forward who is a clinical finisher.
Hassenhutl’s high pressing approach should suit Armstrong. Southampton fending off bids for club captain Ward-Prowse will only help Armstrong’s goal tally.
Tottenham Hotspur – Harry Kane (24 goals)
Of course, you’d expect to see Harry Kane in the Premier League top scorer prediction chart for the 2021/22 season.
Despite interest throughout the summer from Man City, Kane has announced he will be staying at Tottenham for this season. This is a huge boost for Tottenham and the algorithm predicts Kane is going to score 24 goals next season.
Kane has also added dropping deep and assists to his game, getting 14 last year. This will benefit players like Son and is why Kane is irreplaceable for Tottenham. His return will certainly be a huge boost for Nuno.
Tottenham will hope they can put the turbulent summer behind them and kick on to qualify for European football again this year.
Watford – Ismaila Sarr (11 goals)
Sarr has an immense amount of pressure on his shoulders this season for a 23-year-old. He is Watford’s marquee player, and the algorithm predicts he will score 11 goals.
This will be an improvement of his 5 goals last time he played in the Premier League, which included 2 goals against an unbeaten Liverpool up to that point. Performances like these show he can play the big teams on the big stage. It is just about doing it consistently throughout the season.
His last year in the Championship should help him do this, where he scored 13 goals and laid on 4 goals for his teammates. He comes into this season with extreme confidence and will be a key factor in increasing Watford’s survival chances.
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West Ham United – Michail Antonio (10 goals)
The algorithm predicting 10 goals for Antonio which seems a low figure, but he has never played consistently for a season. He missed 3 months of last season due to injuries, especially with his hamstrings.
This will be a worry for West Ham, as he is the only first-team striker. Moyes decided to strengthen in other areas, buying players like Zouma, Vlasic, and Kral. If all the Europa League games are considered with the domestic ones, the West Ham medical staff have a real challenge keeping Antonio fit.
Moyes will have to manage Antonio’s game time and find another player who can do the job upfront.
Nonetheless, Antonio is worthy of being considered as one of the Premier League top scorers in this prediction.
Wolverhampton Wanderers – Raul Jimenez (9 goals)
Jimenez will be hoping to hit the ground running after coming back from fracturing his skull. He clashed heads with David Luiz in November and did not return last season.
Nuno brought in Willian Jose to try and replace Jimenez’s goal last year, but they ended up scoring 15 fewer goals than the previous year. Bruno Lage has replaced Nuno this year. He is known for playing much more attacking progressive football, so expect to see lots more goals for Wolves this year.
The addition of Trincao from Barcelona and the competition of Hee-chan Hwang upfront should help these figures. 9 of Jimenez’s 34 goals have come from headers in the Premier League and it will be interesting if Jimenez keeps his heading ability after the injury.