The Premier League has hosted some wonderful attacking players over the years. From Thierry Henry terrorising full-backs on the left wing for Arsenal in the early 2000s to Sergio Aguero smashing in goals for Manchester City a decade later, a wide range of stars from all over the world have made their stamp on this competition.
Debates will rage on forever about who the best striker in Premier League history is, with some people persuaded by glorious, inspiring individual performances while others prefer to make their arguments based on cold, hard numbers. It's the latter that we'll be focusing on in this article, as we work our way through the top 10 players with the most goals in a Premier League season.
We'll explain who has this proud accolade, and what the exact figures are when it comes to the most goals scored in a Premier League season.
The Premier League is the highest tier of English football, holding the very best teams in the country. Lower down the English football pyramid, clubs dream of reaching these heights, where historic clubs such as Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Everton compete each week.
The Premier League is a fairly modern creation in the grand scheme of things; the origins of the league go back to 1992, when the top flight made the decision to break away from the English Football League and form their own competition (titled the Premier League instead of the First Division) with increased commercial and broadcasting deals.
Since then, the Premier League has improved significantly when it comes to footballing quality, professionalism, and revenue — the English top flight is the richest and most powerful in the world. The PL is able to attract incredible talent from across the globe, and the goalscoring feats of some of these players have been amazing.
The Premier League goalscoring record has been broken on a number of occasions over the years, most recently in last season's competition (2022/23). But which player has scored the most goals in a Premier League season?
In 2003/04, Arsenal did what many people thought was impossible and went through an entire Premier League season without losing a game — this is now referred to as "The Invincibles season". A number of amazing players contributed to that success story, but perhaps the most universally-loved is the Frenchman Thierry Henry, who had a huge impact on the English game during his years in the Premier League. He was known for his creative spark as well as his eye for goal, but in 2003/04 he really ramped up his goalscoring efforts and notched 30 goals in a single campaign. Remarkably, 12 of his final 13 goals that season came at Highbury, as the club's excellent home form proved the decisive factor in securing the Premier League title.
Dutch forward Robin Van Persie remains one of the best Premier League strikers of the last twenty years. He was able to get his hands on numerous trophies after making a £24 million switch to the Red Devils in 2012, but his best goalscoring season came the season before that move with Arsenal; in 2011/12, he played all 38 games for the Gunners and grabbed 30 goals. He then went on to notch 26 goals in 38 games with United the following year — a fantastic streak from RVP.
Spurs legend Harry Kane is currently ripping up the Bundesliga, as he aims to guide Bayern Munich to another league title and win his first major trophy in the process. But last season, he was the key creative and goalscoring force at a faltering Tottenham Hotspur team. Despite his team's struggles in 2022/23, Kane still incredibly managed to score 30 goals, a feat he also pulled off in 2017/18. The fact that the England captain didn't win the Premier League Golden Boot in either of these prolific seasons is a testament to the attacking quality that's been on show in this division in recent years.
The current Premier League format of 20 teams and 38 games per team each season hasn't been here forever. Initially, the EPL had 22 teams in it, and so the original Premier League strikers had 42 games in which to rack up their goal tally. Former England international Alan Shearer grabbed 31 goals with Blackburn Rovers in 1993/94; however, the fact that he replicated this record during the first ever 38-game season in 1995/96 was even more impressive. During 1995/96, his last season in Lancashire before moving to Newcastle United, Shearer bagged a record five hat-tricks in a single season.
Cristiano Ronaldo didn't become the player he is today until he moved to Real Madrid and refashioned himself as a gloriously prolific targetman. At Manchester United in 2007/08, he was more of a quick, powerful, skillful winger; and still, he was able to score 31 goals in a single campaign, including his famous knuckleball free kick vs Portsmouth. Combining with Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez to help Fergie's United win the league title and the Champions League too, he showed the world just how talented his was, and got his £80 million move to Madrid that summer as a result.
Another player who has managed 31 goals in a 38-game season is Luis Suarez, the feisty, talismanic Uruguayan forward who helped take Liverpool close to their first EPL title in 2013/14. What's even more remarkable is that the completion of a 10-match ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic the previous season meant that Suarez didn't start a game until late September, scoring his 31 goals in only 33 appearances. Along the way there were hat-tricks at West Brom and Cardiff, as well as four goals against Norwich in December in a prolific 10-goal month.
Mo Salah has had a phenomenal impact on English football since his arrival in 2017. And in terms of goals, his best-ever campaign was his first on Merseyside. After the likes of Suarez, Ronaldo, and Kane had previously failed to get past 31 goals in a campaign, Salah finally breached this boundary, scoring 32 goals and ushering a new era of Premier League competition and success under German boss Jurgen Klopp. Today, Salah's PL goal tally stands at 153.
Andrew Cole is a Manchester United legend and the PL's fourth-highest scorer of all time with 187 goals. Crucially, he did not get a single one of these goals from the penalty spot, bagging from open play every time. During the 1993/94 season, he was still at newly promoted Newcastle United, and in his first Premier League campaign he became the outright leading goalscorer and assist-maker in the division. Yes, it was in a 42-game season, but even so, Cole's total of 34 goals and 13 assists in 93/94 is an outstanding record.
Alan Shearer is another top English striker who bagged 34 goals in a single season before the Premier League reduced its calendar to 38 matches per season. He equalled Cole's record with a single goal in a 2-1 loss to Liverpool at Anfield on the final day of the 94/95 season; thankfully for Blackburn, Sir Alex Ferguson's United team failed to beat West Ham that day, so Blackburn were able to claim their first (and only) Premier League title.
Last season, a young Norwegian striker moved to northern England and started smashing goalscoring records to pieces. Erling Haaland not only helped propel Manchester City to another comfortable title win in his first season with the club, he also broke the Premier League record for goals scored in a single season in his first year in England. Grabbing a remarkable total of 36 goals in 38 games, Haaland instantly made sure that his name would go down in EPL history, and in the process became just the third Premier League player ever to score 30 goals in their first season in the competition. During this staggering season, Haaland also notched a total of four-hat tricks.
Below, you'll find a list of the top 5 teams with the most goals in a Premier League season — there are some super exciting sides here.
Newly invigorated by the signing of Aston Villa's star man Jack Grealish, Manchester City marched to the Premier League title in the 2021/22 season in real style. In total, they scored 99 goals that campaign, registering a +73 goal difference and pipping Liverpool to the trophy on the final day with 93 points.
Helped by the lethal strike force of Suarez, Sterling and Sturridge, Brendan Rodger's Liverpool became the neutral's favourite team during the 2013/14 season, when they almost won their first league title in over two decades thanks to an exciting brand of attack-minded football. They scored 101 goals that campaign and got to a points tally of 84; however, they're the only team on this list not to have won the title in the same season.
Pep Guardiola has had a huge impact on Manchester City during his seven and a half-year spell at the club, and looking through a list of the Premier League's highest-ever goalscoring teams is a testament to that. His team managed to score 102 goals in the 2019/20 season, playing dazzling football along the way, although Guardiola isn't the only manager who has got serious goals out of a Man City team in recent years; with Manuel Pelligrini at the helm in 2013/14, City were able to claim the Premier League title for the second time, beating Rodgers' Liverpool to at the last moment and netting 102 goals along the way.
Chelsea perhaps aren't as associated with relentless attacking play as some of the other teams in this list, but under legendary Italian manager Carlo Ancelotti during the 2009/10 season, they were a force to be reckoned with. Winning the league with 86 points having scored an astounding 103 goals, they benefited from an excellent strikeforce, with top scorer Didier Drogba's 29 goals supplemented by the efforts of Frank Lampard (22), Florent Malouda (12) and Nicolas Anelka (11).
Manchester City's 2017/18 season was famous for a number of different reasons. Firstly, it was their genius boss Pep Guardiola's first ever Premier League title (he has gone on to win a staggering four more since). It was also dubbed the 'Centurions' season, as Man City became the first team in the league's history to rack up 100 points in a single campaign. But crucially for this list, City also managed to score a division record of 106 goals in 2017/18, contributing to a goal difference of +79 and cementing their status as one of England's best-ever attacking teams.
Want to find out more about some of the Premier League's all-time records? Check out our guide to the players with the most clean sheets in EPL history.