Why Chris Wood Is On Par With Other Premier League Strikers
Not many were aware of Chris Wood’s stature despite him being the top scorer in Championship football (27 goals from 44 league outings) last season. The former Leeds United hitman was surprisingly unnoticed by Premier League outfits following Leeds’ failure to earn a top-tier promotion under former gaffer Gary Monk due to a late stumble.
His goal-scoring ability was highly appreciated, yet the New Zealand international started the new campaign with The Peacocks and continued his form from last season with a goal against Bolton Wanderers in this season’s opener.
The former Leicester City striker was content with his role under new Leeds boss Thomas Christensen until Premier League side Burnley came up with an alluring offer late in the transfer window. Leeds accepted Burnley’s club record offer of £15m and the player opted to pursue his Premier League dream that he failed to secure with Leeds.
Wood, who has netted 23 goals in 53 outings for his country, proved to be an instant hit for the Clarets when he scored a late equaliser against Spurs at Wembley after coming on as a second-half substitute. His goal proved to be the decider against Crystal Palace, who suffered a 1-0 home defeat which resulted in Frank De Boer’s sacking after only four Premier League games in charge.
He again left his mark at Anfield and contributed in Scott Arfield’s goal. Also, he found the back of the net from the spot against his former employers Leeds United after coming on as a second-half substitute on Tuesday night in the third round of the Carabao cup that Burnley eventually lost in tie-breaker (Wood converted his spot-kick in tie-breaker as well). Premier League is different to the Championship, but Burnley’s gamble seems to have paid off. Wood has settled in well for the Lancashire outfit and his style of play has suited Sean Dyche’s football.
Dyche, the Clarets boss, is known for his deep defensive strategy who loves counter-attacking football with long balls forward for his ‘number 9’ inside the opponent’s box. Wood is efficiently performing in that role and is looking lethal as well as menacing in front of goal.
The 25-year-old Burnley hitman might not be having the limelight of Roberto Firmino, Alexandre Lacazette, Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez or Wayne Rooney – statistically, he has been at par with these Premier League heavyweights.
However, the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane, Alvaro Morata and Jamie Vardy are supposed to bag more goals than Wood which is quite understandable considering the quality of their teammates as well as the superiority of their respective teams. He, nevertheless, is converting opportunities with ease and has already earned a first-team place ahead of Sam Vokes, Ashley Barnes, and veteran Jonathan Walters.