Premier League fans will all be familiar with the players currently leading the scoring charts, but what about the stars who have frustratingly spurned the most clear-cut opportunities?
A big chance is defined as ‘a situation where a player should reasonably be expected to score’, so we’ve decided to analyse the biggest culprits for squandering big opportunities so far this season – and you may just be surprised by some of the leading names on this list.
Some of the division’s finest talents feature on this list of most gilt-edged gaffes, which proves the age-old saying that if you don’t buy a ticket, you won’t win the raffle:
Jamie Vardy – Leicester City (15 big chances missed)
The Leicester number nine has enjoyed a stunning season for Brendan Rodgers’ Champions League-chasing Foxes, the forward currently leading the race for the Premier League‘s Golden Boot with 19 top-flight goals.
Vardy’s fine form looks likely to secure his side a top-four finish, though the 33-year-old has also wasted several clear-cut opportunities with 15 to his name for the season so far.
Vardy registered the fourth-highest tally of missed big chances for the whole of last season with 17, and is again amongst the leading culprits during the current campaign.
David McGoldrick – Sheffield United (15 big chances missed)
The curious case of David McGoldrick, the journeyman centre-forward central to one of the Premier League’s most impressive sides despite failing to register a single league goal so far this season.
Sheffield United have taken the top flight by storm this season following promotion with several stars shining brightly in Chris Wilder’s well-oiled machine, and McGoldrick remains a key cog in the Blades attack despite spurning 15 big chances so far this season.
The selfless star is amongst the most popular figures at Bramall Lane and his overall contribution far outweighs his lack of goals, though McGoldrick will be keen to finally get off the mark at the highest level when his next big opportunity arrives.
Sadio Mane – Liverpool (15 big chances missed)
Level with both Vardy and McGoldrick is Liverpool‘s Sadio Mane, a player widely tipped amongst the frontrunners to win the PFA Player of the Year award.
The Senegalese international has starred during Liverpool’s record-breaking start to the Premier League season, scoring 14 goals to give himself an outside chance of retaining the Golden Boot award he shared alongside teammate Mohamed Salah and Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang last season.
Another prolific season has not been without missed opportunities, however, Mane squandering 15 big chances for the league leaders thus far.
Chris Wood – Burnley (17 big chances missed)
The Burnley battering-ram continues to cause defensive headaches for Sean Dyche’s side, scoring double figures for Premier League goals for the third successive season since his move from Leeds United.
Wood is currently enjoying his best season at the highest level with 11 goals for the campaign so far, but that tally could have been improved had he converted any of his 17 big chances missed.
That tally is almost double the nine big chances missed by the New Zealand international last season, remarkably coming in 12 less appearances.
Tammy Abraham – Chelsea (17 big chances missed)
Another player enjoying the finest season of his career, Abraham has thrived at Premier League level this term after several loan seasons spent developing his game away from Stamford Bridge.
Abraham has scored 13 Premier League goals for Frank Lampard’s emerging side, earning senior inclusion with England and registering his first international goal against Montenegro in November.
Despite his impressive campaign, however, Abraham is amongst the most wasteful forwards in the division this season, missing 17 chances where he could reasonably have been expected to score – only two players having missed more.
Gabriel Jesus – Manchester City (18 big chances missed)
Gabriel Jesus has developed a reputation as a penalty-box predator since arriving at Manchester City, despite spending a large part of his career at the Etihad serving as back-up to the clinical Sergio Aguero.
The 22-year-old has started just 13 Premier League fixtures so far this season, though that is enough to have seen him waste 18 big opportunities – the second most of any player in the division.
Jesus ranks 12th amongst all Premier League players for total shots despite his often peripheral role, an indication of the prolific service received with City the highest scoring side in England’s top-flight so far.
The Brazilian international finished behind only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Callum Wilson for big chances missed in the whole of last season, and has again proven to be amongst the most wasteful Premier League frontmen this time around.
Roberto Firmino – Liverpool (19 big chances missed)
The most wasteful forward in the Premier League is the best teams number 9, Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino leading the league in more ways than one having squandered 19 big chances so far this season.
The Brazilian international’s goalless run at Anfield has been well-documented with the forward having failed to score at home in the league all season, a remarkable statistic given the Reds flawless run on home turf and record-breaking start to the campaign.
Firmino has fired 87 shots on goal – a tally only bettered by teammate Mohamed Salah and Wolves’ Raul Jimenez – though is currently on course to register his lowest league tally since moving to Merseyside from Hoffenheim five years ago.
The forward’s selfless role remains fundamental to Jurgen Klopp’s side, however, and the German will be unconcerned by Firmino’s record so long as his team continue to rack up victories.