5 Strikers That are Exceeding Expectations so far This Season

Liam Bewsher

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Folarin Balogun - Reims

Arsenal loanee Folarin Balogun starts this list off, having had an excellent start to life in Ligue 1.

The 21-year-old has scored six goals and created two assists in nine matches for Reims this season, and has only been outscored by Kylian Mbappe and Neymar in France’s top flight. Despite all of this, his side sits 17th in the table, having found the back of the net 12 times in ten matches.

Balogun, who was actually born in the U.S has impressively managed all of this from 18 shots, meaning that he has a 33% shot-to-goal conversion rate, as well as a shot accuracy of 61% - matching Neymar in the latter statistic.

This is in stark contrast to Balogun’s loan spell at Middlesbrough last season, which yielded just three goals and three assists in 21 matches. Perhaps this is the start of something special for the young Gunner.

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Marko Arnautovic - Bologna

Next up is Marko Arnautovic, who was linked with a shock move to Manchester United in the summer - however, Bologna refused to allow the deal to come to fruition, and rightly so based on the Austrian’s form.

The 33-year-old finds himself as the Serie A’s top scorer, having found the back of the net six times in eight games, whilst also creating one assist. Despite this, Bologna are 17th in the standings, whilst Arnautovic has played a part in all seven of their league goals.

Arnautovic, who formerly played for the likes of Inter Milan, Stoke City and West Ham, has achieved this feat as far by taking 16 shots, converting 38% of these into a goal, whilst having a shot accuracy of 50%.

Since returning to Serie A from Chinese Super League outfit Shanghai Port in 2021, the Austrian forward has found the back of the net 21 times in 43 appearances for Bologna, whilst creating two assists.

Bas Dost - FC Utrecht

Another well-travelled veteran striker in Bas Dost also features in this list, with the Dutchman now plying his trade back in the Dutch Eredivisie with FC Utrecht.

Dost, who at the age of 33 has played for the likes of Wolfsburg, Sporting Lisbon, Eintracht Frankfurt, and Club Brugge has had an excellent start to the season, scoring five goals and assisting once for Utrecht in the league, as his side sits seventh in the table with ten goals to their name.

The Deventer-born striker has managed to score five goals from a total of 20 shots, converting 25%, whilst having an accuracy of 60%. Dost returned to his homeland on a free transfer from Club Brugge in the summer, following a campaign where he bagged 12 goals in 26 league matches.

Niclas Fullkrug - Werder Bremen

With the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Erling Haaland leaving the Bundesliga, the division is perhaps more open than ever competition-wise. A player who has shined since the start of the season is Niclas Fullkrug of Werder Bremen.

The 29-year-old German has been nominated for September’s player of the month and has scored seven goals and created one assist, seeing him as the German Bundesliga’s top scorer, scoring a goal every 101 minutes.

Fullkrug’s side are currently eighth in the table and having a productive campaign, with 12 points from eight games, whilst scoring 18 goals - only Bayern have scored more. Fullkrug has managed his goal statistics from 25 shots, converting 28% of these into goals, with an accuracy of 44%.

Aziz Yakubu - Rio Ave

The final player on this list is perhaps an unknown to many, coming in the shape of Abdul-Aziz Yakubu of Rio Ave who play in Portugal’s Liga NOS.

Yakubu, who is a Ghanaian striker signed on a permanent deal from Vitoria Guimaraes in the summer, following a loan spell from the latter in 2021/22 that saw him bag 11 goals in 33 matches.

So far this season, Yakubu has scored five goals and created two assists, seeing him as the league’s joint-top scorer alongside the likes of FC Porti’s Mehdi Taremi. The 23-year-old has taken a total of ten shots, scoring half of these, whilst having a superb shot accuracy of 70%.

Rio Ave have scored 11 goals as a whole in the league this campaign and are enduring a promising start, as they sit in tenth place in large part due to Yakubu’s contributions.

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