Opinion: Ranking the attacking line-ups from the ‘Big Six’ from worst to best

Manchester United Arsenal Manchester City Chelsea Liverpool
(Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

With the new season right around the corner and clubs having added – or subtracted – new players, what will the front lines of the ‘Big Six’ look like?

Here is my ranking of the forward lines from each club – looking at the five most prominent forwards/attackers from all six squads. 

No. 6 – Manchester United (Ronaldo, Martial, Sancho, Rashford, Elanga)

As of right now, Cristiano Ronaldo is still a Manchester United player. We will see if that is the case by the time the season kicks off, but for now, he is the only consistent goal-scoring threat on the team sheet.

A bit sad to be honest when the team’s best goalscorer is 37 years old and reportedly wants to leave to play Champions League football (SkySports).

Other than Ronaldo and his 18 Premier League goals, there isn’t much going in terms of scoring options for United. 

Jadon Sancho disappointed after his high-profile transfer to United, scoring just three league goals (Transfermarkt) last season.

Anthony Elanga is only 20 years old, while Anthony Martial spent part of last year on loan at Sevilla, and Marcus Rashford’s numbers declined after a breakout campaign two years ago.

For Manchester United to contend for the top four, they’ll need Ronaldo to keep up his level of production and hope everyone else takes a step forward.

No. 5 – Arsenal (Nketiah, Jesus, Pepe, Martinelli, Saka)

Just missing out on Champions League football last season, Arsenal brought in Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City to bolster the front line as the Gunners look to move into the top four after a lengthy absence.

Jesus tallied 13 goals and 12 assists in all competitions last season (Transfermarkt) and brings a winning mentality to an Arsenal side that has not won consistently in some time.

Eddie Nketiah is young and will look to improve, as will Gabriel Martinelli, who scored six league goals last season (TransferMarkt).

Nicolas Pepe needs to improve on scoring just once last season (Transfermarkt), but the most exciting player is undoubtedly Bukayo Saka, the 20-year-old England star who tallied 11 goals in the league last year (Transfermarkt).

Overall, Jesus is a valuable weapon and Saka is a bright young star, but consistency is an issue that keeps Arsenal from being higher on the list.

No. 4 – Chelsea (Werner, Havertz, Mount, Sterling, Pulisic)

You might think Chelsea’s front line would be ranked higher on the list, but overall, the team is plagued by inconsistency and a lack of a surefire clutch goalscorer.

After scoring 28 goals in the Bundesliga in 2019-20, Werner hasn’t even matched that number in two seasons at Chelsea, scoring just 23 goals across all competitions (Transfermarkt). Kai Havertz has equally struggled in his time at the club after coming over from Germany.

While Christian Pulisic has struggled with injuries and getting consistent minutes, Mason Mount has been a bright young talent as an attacking midfielder, scoring 11 league goals last season (Transfermarkt).

The addition of Raheem Sterling from Manchester City as a proven goal scorer is a nice bonus, but can he be counted on to score when the team needs him too and others are struggling? If it didn’t work with Romelu Lukaku, I have my doubts about it working with Sterling.

No. 3 – Spurs (Kane, Son, Kulusevski, Richarlison, Moura)

Spurs are only not ranked higher on this list because while we know that Harry Kane and Son Heung-min can rack up goals, can anyone else? Who will be the third option that can deliver in case of an off night or an injury to the two main stars?

While Richarlison is a good signing, I’m not sure he’s worth the fee paid for scoring 11 goals (Transfermarkt) on a team that nearly got relegated last season. Also, will he even get minutes?

Dejan Kulusevski joined the club during the January transfer window last season and made an immediate impact as a third option on Spurs’ front line, scoring five goals and adding eight assists (Transfermarkt).

It is also difficult to see where Lucas Moura fits in on the line. He scored just six goals across all competitions last season (Transfermarkt), and his minutes have decreased quite drastically from the 2019-20 campaign. He can be a valuable bench option, or even at right-wing-back, but he doesn’t score a lot of goals.

So will Antonio Conte really juggle minutes between Kulusevski and Richarlison? Or will he move Dejan to another position, although he clearly showed he was a perfect fit alongside Kane and Son?

I don’t know. In all honesty, I was a bit confused by the Richarlison signing myself. Let’s hope he proves me wrong and Tottenham wins a trophy this year.

No. 2 – Liverpool (Salah, Firmino, Nunez, Jota, Diaz)

Losing Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich leaves Liverpool with a hole to fill.

While they have the proven goal-scoring prowess of three-time Premier League Golden Boot winner Mohamed Salah, losing the second piece of a dynamic pairing is never easy. Roberto Firmino has been a good option for Liverpool the past few seasons though, and Diego Jota scored 21 goals last year in all competitions (Transfermarkt).

The addition of Luis Diaz during the January transfer window last season provided six goals and five assists in 26 appearances (Transfermarkt), but much like Dejan Kulusevski at Spurs, a full season’s worth of games and goals needs to be seen first to really gauge the impact.

And while Darwin Nunez seems like a good signing, he will also most likely need time to settle in and find a role in the team.

Because Liverpool has a mix of both proven and unproven talent, they rank second on the list of the best-attacking lineups.

No. 1 – Manchester City (Haaland, Silva, Mahrez, Grealish, Foden)

This team is filled with talent, to say the least. 

The one weak link seems to be Jack Grealish. On a team that didn’t have a designated No. 9 last season, Grealish struggled after coming over from Aston Villa, contributing just three goals in the league (Transfermarkt). For someone who cost as much as he did, it was underwhelming, to say the least.

Phil Foden is as exciting as any young player in the Premier League, having won the Young Player of the Season two years in a row. Riyad Mahrez is coming off a 24-goal season in all competitions (Transfermarkt), and Bernardo Silva added 13 goals and seven assists (Transfermarkt). 

Oh, and City finally signed an actual striker, and it just happens to be Erling Haaland, who has scored 135 top-flight goals (Transfermarkt) and is only 22 years old. While some other players have struggled in adapting to the Premier League after coming from the Bundesliga, don’t expect Haaland to have any problems at all.

Now that they have a surefire striker, Man City’s attacking line is the best in the league.

Which club do you think is the top attacking team in the Premier League?

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