'Sakho is our best all-round striker' - Cottee hails record-holding marksman

Diafra Sakho

Diafra Sakho is West Ham's "best, all-round striker" according to Tony Cottee, as the forward looks to maintain his record of being the Club's most prolific marksman in Premier League history.

Going into Saturday’s game, Sakho has scored 17 top-flight goals in just 3,566 minutes of football – that is one goal every 209.76 minutes or 2.33 Premier League matches.

That is the best strike-rate of any West Ham player in the Premier League era, placing him marginally ahead of second-place Paolo Di Canio, whose 48 goals make him the Hammers’ all-time leading Premier League scorer.

Manager Slaven Bilic has confirmed that Sakho is in his squad for Saturday and the Senegalese attacker has an added incentive to score if he plays - a goal will keep him ahead of Di Canio in the rankings.

Di Canio’s 48 goals were spread across 10,098 minutes, meaning the Italian found the net once every 210.38 minutes – or 2.34 matches.

"In my opinion Diafra Sakho is the best all-round striker at West Ham," Cottee told whufc.com:  "In Andy Carroll you have a forward who is excellent in the air and in physical duels, and Chicharito is undoubtedly the best finisher at the Club but I’ve said before, and I stick by it, that Sakho is the side’s best, all-round striker."

"The lad can do it all. He can run, he can head the ball, he can battle and he is a great finisher. The statistics show his incredible record but you don’t need numbers to see what a good player he is."

In Sakho, Carroll and Chicharito West Ham have a trio of attackers that could all start this weekend against Burnley, and Cotttee is delighted to see Bilic left with such a positive selection headache. 

He added: "I want to see Sakho in the team, but I also want to see Chicharito and Carroll in the starting XI as well. It gives Slaven Bilic a headache that he’s not really had before, because he has three quality strikers to fit into his team. It’s a nice decision to have to make."

After Sakho and Di Canio the third-best strike-rate belongs to a man who scored 24 goals in 5,218 minutes of Premier League football in Claret and Blue – a goal every 217.42 minutes or 2.42 matches – former Wales centre forward John Hartson.

Next comes Paul Kitson, whose 18 goals came every 235.38 minutes/2.62 matches, while Carroll has found the net at the fifth-best rate in the Premier League era, netting one of his 30 goals every 237.2 minutes/2.64 matches

Paul Kitson and Paolo Di Canio rank third and second respectively

Unsurprisingly, Sakho’s best season in terms of strike-rate was his first at the Club, 2014/15, when he scored ten goals in just 1,760 minutes of Premier League action.

You do not need to be a mathematician to work out that meant he found the net every 176 minutes or 1.98 matches, meaning he scored at a clip of better than ‘one-in-two’.

Sakho has scored eight of his 17 goals with his right foot, including his unforgettable goal in the Final Game at the Boleyn Ground against Manchester United in May 2016, two with his left foot, including the clincher in the historic 3-0 victory at Liverpool in September 2016, and seven with his head, including the winner against Joe Hart’s Manchester City back in October 2014.

More surprising, perhaps, is the fact that Di Canio’s best strike-rate came in 2002/03, a season which culminated in West Ham’s relegation from the Premier League. That campaign saw him score nine goals in just 1,357 minutes of Premier League football, or a goal every 150.77 minutes or 1.68 matches.

For the record, the strike-rate top ten is filled out by Frederic Kanoute (29 goals/241.97 mins per goal), Tony Cottee (23/242.04), Jermain Defoe (18/247.38), Bobby Zamora (18/261.72) and Marlon Harewood (17/270.24).

And of the other players who have scored as many or more Premier League goals as Sakho (17), Michail Antonio (17/291.65), Carlton Cole (41/297), Trevor Sinclair (36/397.33), Kevin Nolan (18/415.66), Julian Dicks (21/466.1), Frank Lampard (24/500) and Mark Noble (33/729.3) complete the list.

Oh, and for the record, Sakho would have to be on the pitch for just eleven scoreless minutes on Saturday to cede his strike-rate crown to Di Canio!