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5 truly great Premier League forwards who didn’t actually score many goals

It’s one of the greatest quirks in football; forwards who don’t score that many goals but are bloody brilliant anyway.

This short list is designed to appreciate that rare Premier League animal, the selfless centre-forward.

This lot were not great goalscorers but they were scorers of great goals and they derived joy from helping their strike partners rack up the goals.

Bask in their generosity…

1 Eidur Gudjohnsen

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The Icelandic forward oozed class from every pore and the likes of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard are endlessly grateful for his first-class link-up play.

55 Premier League goals is certainly not to be sniffed at but he did play in 211 games, all as a genuine forward.

Strictly speaking we’re only focusing on the Premier League but his record of 18 goals in 112 games for Barcelona is further evidence that his main attributes lie away from poaching goals.

2 Nwankwo Kanu

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The legendary Nigerian reached double figures just twice in 12 Premier League seasons.

To be fair, he was used primarily as a substitute during his Arsenal years and his hat-trick at Stamford Bridge is enough to be labelled a Gunners hero for life.

Kanu scored 54 league goals during his time on these shores (again, a very respectable total) but that tally doesn’t reflect his composure in the box.

3 Christophe Dugarry

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Okay, so he’s not a ‘truly great’ Premier League forward but he’s held in very high regard for a forward who scored 62 league goals across his whole career.

Six of those came during his time with Birmingham.

He operated a lot deeper than most forwards but his name still appeared as a striker on the teamsheet game after game.

We’re talking about a forward who won the World Cup and the Euros in the space of two years with France.

His tally for Les Bleus? Eight goals in 55 caps.

4 Paolo Di Canio

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One of the most mercurial and enigmatic talents to ever grace the Premier League.

67 goals in 191 league games for the controversial Italian is not a bad return but he’s another whose quality on the ball and penchant for the spectacular led to hero worship beyond his figures.

Alex Ferguson was an admirer and he knows a thing or two about what makes a good footballer.

5 Dennis Bergkamp

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One of the greatest forwards to ever play in England.

The non-flying Dutchman was a goal machine in Holland, scoring 103 goals in 185 league games for Ajax.

But for Arsenal, the club at which he is a legend worthy of a statue outside the Emirates, his record is surprisingly modest — 87 league goals in 315 games.

Bergkamp scored just 18 goals in his last 110 league games for the Gunners but that’s because he lived to serve.

Thierry Henry names Bergkamp as his favourite strike partner and there’s no doubt the latter’s selfless play and eye for a killer pass contributed to the Frenchman’s mammoth goal tally more than anything.

Bergkamp transcended football, he was simply to cool to be measured in goals alone.

 

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