Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United favourites are among the top 10 super subs in Premier League history – but none top the list.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who defined the role of the super sub with his heroics for Manchester United.
10. Tore Andre Flo – 13 goals, 111.2 mins-per-goal
One of the members of Chelsea‘s cosmopolitan squad of the late-90s, Flo was a popular figure at Stamford Bridge, winning the League Cup, FA Cup, Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Super Cup during his four-year spell in west London.
But when Eidur Gudjohnsen and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink formed an effective strike partnership, Flo grew frustrated at his role as a super sub and left for Rangers, where he also became a fan favourite.
The less said about his season at Sunderland, however, the better.
9. Darren Bent – 13 goals, 107.9 mins-per-goal
“My missus could have scored that one.”
Darren Bent’s Premier League career will always be overshadowed by Harry Reknapp’s infamous quip after the striker missed a sitter for Tottenham, but he was consistently a reliable goalscorer in England’s top flight.
The former England international failed to truly establish himself at Spurs amid competition from the likes of Dimitar Berbatov, Robbie Keane and Roman Pavlyuchenko, yet he still finished as the club’s top scorer in 2008-09.
8. Edin Dzeko – 13 goals, 89.1 mins-per-goal
A common theme among this list is that many of these players were underrated and written off as ‘merely goalscorers’ as if that’s such a bad thing.
Dzeko was once described as “rubbish at football but brilliant at goal scoring” by Manchester City superfan Noel Gallagher – and the Bosnian will always be cherished for coming off the bench to really take the biscuit with two late goals in City’s 6-1 demolition of Manchester United at Old Trafford.
7. Olivier Giroud – 13 goals, 72.3 mins-per-goal
Giroud is relatively new to the role of super sub but has taken to it like a duck to water, albeit a duck who is now considering flying to Everton.
With Arsene Wenger opting for Alexis Sanchez to lead the line for Arsenal last term, 18 of Giroud’s 29 Premier League appearances came from the bench, scoring five times.
His overall record as a substitute, particularly his minutes-per-goal record, is as magnificent as his wonderful, French face.
6. Victor Anichebe – 14 goals, 147.4 mins-per-goal
The surprise name on this list. Anichebe has only scored 27 Premier League goals as his career, with more than half of those coming after entering the fray as a substitute.
Anichebe has now joined Chinese second division outfit Beijing Enterprises – we’ve literally only just found out as well; also, why do they sound like an insurance firm? – where he will hope to be more prolific as a starter.
5. Daniel Sturridge – 14 goals, 108.8 min-per-goal
After never really establishing himself in the starting XIs of Manchester City or Chelsea, Sturridge’s all-too brief spell as one of Liverpool’s main men is over and he has found himself contemplating life on the bench once more.
With Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho the preferred attack of Jurgen Klopp – plus Mohamed Salah now among the Reds’ ranks – Sturridge’s future is once again in doubt, though there is no question about his talent.
4. Javier Hernandez – 14 goals, 83.6 mins-per-goal
The heir to Solskjaer’s throne at Old Trafford, Hernandez joined Manchester Unitedthree years after the original super sub had retired and relished in the role before doing exactly the same at Real Madrid.
In fairness to Mexico’s top scorer of all time, his two years at Bayer Leverkusen have produced a record better than a goal every other game, proving that he can be just as effective leading the line from the start.
3. Nwankwo Kanu – 17 goals, 159.1 mins-per-goal
One of the Premier League’s ultimate cult heroes, you can excuse Kanu for having to settle for life on the bench given he had Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry, two of the greatest strikers in the history of the game, ahead of him in the Arsenal pecking order.
According to Wikipedia, the Nigerian is still only 40, which seems absolutely mental.
2. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – 17 goals, 92.9 mins-per-goal
The definitive super sub, the hero of Manchester United’s Champions League triumph in 1999 and the inspiration for this list, both Solskjaer’s first and final appearances for the club saw him come off the bench to put the ball in the back of the net.
We can’t do the Baby-Faced Assassin justice here.
1. Jermain Defoe – 23 goals, 121.39 mins-per-goal
Defoe possibly doesn’t get the credit he deserves as one of the Premier League’s greatest ever goalscorers, partly because until recent years he hasn’t always been his club’s main man.