As half-time approached during the Saturday 3pm kick-offs, I noticed something rather unusual happening at Molineux. This season, every Chelsea Premier League goal has been scored by an English player aged 21 or under who was on loan to a Championship club last season. It was a trend which extended when Mason Mount added Chelsea’s 5th of the afternoon in stoppage time, his 3rd goal of the season. Fikayo Tomori also opened his Premier League account against Wolves, whilst Tammy Abraham’s hattrick took him to the top of the Golden Boot standings with 7 goals, a lead he currently shares with Sergio Aguero.

Now, clearly this is the type of statistical freak which can occur over a small period of time. Whilst it is entirely possible that Abraham and Mount could lead Chelsea’s goalscoring charts all season, with the likes of Pedro, Willian, Michy Batshuayi and Christian Pulisic in their squad, a foreign player is going to score for them in the Premier League very soon. Yet at the same time, it provides an intriguing insight into the potential long-term implications of Chelsea’s transfer ban. Last season, just two English players scored for Chelsea in the league (Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley), contributing 9 goals between them. This season, Chelsea are already up to 3 English goalscorers, who have collectively scored 11 goals between them just 5 games into the season, and with Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi still to return from injury, those figures could rise considerably over the course of the season.

Whilst Chelsea’s promotion of young English players is perhaps the most eye-catching, they are far from the only Premier League club adopting such a strategy. Manchester United and Arsenal have both given more minutes to their young Englishmen than at the same stage last season, whilst the likes of Leicester and Norwich have built their teams around a core of young English talent. One of the criticisms of the Premier League in recent years has been the fact that it is too difficult for young, homegrown players to breakthrough into the first team, particularly in attacking roles. The Golden Boot was dominated in the early years of the Premier League by English players, but Harry Kane is the only Englishman to win the award since Kevin Phillips in 1999-2000. Could that trend be about to change?

ClubPL goals 2019/20 excluding own goals (% scored by English players)English goalscorers (Age as of 1st August 2019)PL goals 2018/19 excluding own goals (% scored by English players)English goalscorers (Age as of 1st August 2018)
AFC Bournemouth8 (37.5%)Callum Wilson x3 (27)55 (40%)Callum Wilson x14 (26), Dan Gosling x2 (28), Junior Stanislas x 2 (28), Steve Cook x1 (27), Charlie Daniels x1 (31), Jordon Ibe x1 (22), Adam Smith x1 (27)
Arsenal8 (0%)N/A69 (4%)Ainsley Maitland-Niles x1 (21), Eddie Nketiah x1 (19), Danny Welbeck x1 (27)
Aston Villa4 (0%)N/AN/AN/A
Brighton and Hove Albion4 (0%)N/A35 (49%)Glenn Murray x13 (34), Lewis Dunk x2 (26), Solly March x1 (24), Dale Stephens x1 (29)
Burnley6 (67%)Ashley Barnes x4 (29)43 (53%)Ashley Barnes x12 (28), Dwight McNeil x3 (18), James Tarkowski x3 (25), Ashley Westwood x2 (28), Jack Cork x1 (29), Ben Gibson x1 (25), Aaron Lennon x1 (31)
Cardiff CityN/AN/A33 (45%)Bobby De Cordova-Reid x5 (25), Nathaniel Medez-Laing x4 (26), Josh Murphy x3 (23), Kadeem Harris x1 (25), Sean Morrison x1 (27), Danny Ward x1 (26)
Chelsea11 (100%)Tammy Abraham x7 (21), Mason Mount x3 (20), Fikayo Tomori x1 (21)61 (15%)Ruben Loftus-Cheek x6 (22), Ross Barkley x3 (24)
Crystal Palace3 (0%)N/A48 (17%)Andros Townsend x6 (27), James Tomkins x1 (29), Joel Ward x1 (28)
Everton5 (20%)Dominic Calvert-Lewin x1 (22)53 (25%)Dominic Calvert-Lewin x6 (21), Theo Walcott x5 (29), Phil Jagielka x1 (36), Michael Keane x1 (25)
FulhamN/AN/A33 (12%)Calum Chambers x2 (23), Ryan Sessegnon x2 (18)
Huddersfield TownN/AN/A21 (25%)Karlan Grant x4 (20), Alex Pritchard x2 (25)
Leicester City6 (67%)Jamie Vardy x3 (32), Harvey Barnes x1 (21)48 (73%)Jamie Vardy x18 (31), James Maddison x7 (21), Demarai Gray x4 (22), Harry Maguire x3 (25), Marc Albrighton x2 (28), Harvey Barnes x1 (20)
Liverpool13 (0%)N/A86 (10%)James Milner x5 (32), Daniel Sturridge x2 (28), Trent Alexander-Arnold x1 (19), Jordan Henderson x1 (28)
Manchester City16 (31%)Raheem Sterling x5 (24)92 (21%)Raheem Sterling x 17 (23), Phil Foden x1 (18), Kyle Walker x1 (28)
Manchester United8 (38%)Marcus Rashford x3 (21)65 (28%)Marcus Rashford x10 (20), Jesse Lingard x4 (25), Ashley Young x2 (33), Luke Shaw x1 (23), Chris Smalling x1 (28)
Newcastle United4 (25%)Jonjo Shelvey x1 (27)41 (7%)Isaac Hayden x1 (23), Sean Longstaff x1 (20), Jonjo Shelvey x1 (26)
Norwich City9 (22%)Todd Cantwell x2 (21)N/AN/A
Sheffield United4 (50%)John Lundstram x1 (25), Billy Sharp x1 (33)N/AN/A
Southampton5 (40%)Danny Ings x1 (27), Nathan Redmond x1 (25)44 (57%)Danny Ings x7 (26), James Ward-Prowse x7 (23), Nathan Redmond x6 (24), Charlie Austin x2 (29), Ryan Bertrand x1 (28), Jack Stephens x1 (24), Matt Targett x1 (22)
Tottenham Hostpur10 (30%)Harry Kane x3 (26)66 (41%)Harry Kane x17 (25), Dele Alli x5 (22), Eric Dier x3 (24), Kieran Trippier x1 (27), Harry Winks x1 (22)
Watford4 (75%)Tom Cleverley x1 (29), Andre Gray x1 (28), Will Hughes x1 (24)51 (37%)Troy Deeney x9 (30), Andre Gray x7 (27), Will Hughes x2 (23), Tom Cleverley x1 (28)
West Ham United6 (17%)Mark Noble x1 (32)51 (27%)Michail Antonio x6 (28), Mark Noble x5 (31), Declan Rice x2 (19), Ryan Fredericks x1 (25)
Wolverhampton Wanderers5 (0%)N/A46 (2%)Ryan Bennett x1 (28)

The table above shows the percentage of each club’s Premier League goals which were scored by English players (as defined by their international allegiance, so a player like Wilfried Zaha is not considered to be English, despite twice representing England’s senior team in friendlies prior to committing his international career to the Ivory Coast). At this early stage of the season, it is a distinctly mixed bag, with six clubs (Arsenal, Aston Villa, Brighton, Crystal Palace, Liverpool and Wolves) yet to register a goal from an English player of any age. Whilst you would expect that to change in each case, given that Wolves registered just 1 goal from an English player last season, it is not inconceivable that one of those clubs could go the entire without a single goal from an English player.

In terms of young English goalscorers, last season actually yielded a fairly good return. If you define a young player as 23 or under at the start of the season, 24 different young English players scored in the Premier League last season, with a combined total of 86 goals. So far this season, 7 young English players have scored a combined total of 18 goals. Those 18 goals are 21% of last seasons total 13% of the way through the season, so slightly ahead of last year’s rate, depsite the fact that Sterling has now turned 24 and therefore his 5 league goals so far this season no longer count towards this tally.

However, last year’s tally was boosted considerably by Raheem Sterling and a few other players towards the upper end of this age bracket. If you only consider players 21 and under at the start of the season, those figures drop to 12 players and a combined total of 36 goals. So far this season, 6 players 21 or under have scored a combined total of 17 goals, already 47% of last season’s total. If you were to look on a goals per game week basis, all of the English under 21 players combined scored fewer than 1 goal per game week. So far in 2019-20, that figure has rocketed to 3.4 goals per game week. The question therefore appears to be less a case of if last season’s tally will be surpassed, but rather when and by how much.

Fantasy Premier League Tip – Issa Diop

Picking West Ham’s defensive players always seems like a bit of a risk in Fantasy Football, because they have a habit of shipping plenty of goals, as they did on the opening day against Manchester City. However, these goals tend to come in bunches, and they also have periods during the season when their defence is much more solid. On the back of two clean sheets in a row, West Ham appear to be currently on one of those runs, and with Issa Diop a guaranteed starter when fit, he represents decent value for money for anyone looking for a defender to rotate in and out of their starting XI.