Sergio Aguero, Wayne Rooney, Diego Costa. Just a few of the best strikers in the Premier League and possibly the world, most would say. However, things aren't as simple as that.
As controversial as it may seem, these strikers have not succeeded in the top division of English football because they are superhuman, but largely because the defending in the world's most exciting league leaves a lot to be desired.
Just last season, before Luis Suarez left for Barcelona, he was praised for his ability to score multiple goals every time Liverpool faced Norwich. Many would use said games to reinforce why they believed he was the league's best striker and he probably was. However, Norwich City conceded an astonishing 62 goals last season, so their defence really had no chance of stopping a player with, well, any footballing ability.
There has been a significant shortage of world class defenders making a living in the Premier League in recent years and quality full-backs are almost non-existent, hence Manchester United's absurdly high fee paid for Luke Shaw, a lad with slightly more talent than many other left-backs in the country.
Winston Reid is a phenomenal centre back, there is no denying that. However, the fact that one of the league's top centre backs plays for a side known for their flirtation with relegation doesn't exactly sit right.
Vincent Kompany is the highest rated centre back in the league and he really is one of the best, but when the other top sides boast the likes of Per Mertesacker and Mamadou Sakho, it's not surprising that he holds this title.
It seems as if the lack of world class defenders is overlooked in the Premier League in favour of focusing on how fantastic the goalscorers are, when they owe a lot to the poor back fours.
It is possible to argue that the reason for this stems from a young age, as the youth often favour an attacking role, as there is so much focus on these goalscoring stars. It is fair to say that a defensive role may not be as glamorous, but their role cannot be overlooked and some sides even set out to strengthen their attack so much that they can simply outscore their opponents.
Back to Liverpool again and we have a prime example of a side who have invested more in their attack than their defence. When Suarez was with the Merseyside club and Daniel Sturridge was fit, the Reds would outscore their opponents most games and it almost lead to them lifting the Premier League title. In fact, despite finishing 2nd, Liverpool conceded 50 goals last season, which is astonishing considering 3rd placed Chelsea let in a mere 27 goals. Many would argue that Suarez's departure is the main reason for their poor start to this season and it is a big loss, but their ever weaker defence is to blame.
It is no coincidence that the league's standard of striker has increased at the same time as the shortage of quality defenders. In fact, it is the latter that has directly contributed to the former.
For the past few seasons, players have broken goalscoring records left, right and centre and that trend appears to be continuing; West Ham's Diafra Sakho scoring in all six of his first Premier League stars, Diego Costa scoring nine goals in his first seven games and Saido Berahino netting seven times in ni games for out-of-form West Brom.
The reason for this is not that strikers on the whole have suddenly got a whole lot better. To put it quite simply, the overall standard of defending in the Premier League has dropped dramatically and until that changes, you can expect to see a lot more 'world class strikers' appearing in the near future.
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