Andy Cole: In a golden age for strikers, Torres and Drogba lead the way

Fired up

The Premier League has had a massive number of goals this season – three per game on average – and theories abound about why, including a new Nike ball and terrible defending by poor teams.

As someone who scored a few goals in this league, my view is that we're blessed with a crop of top-class strikers that we've rarely, if ever, seen operating at this level since the 1990s.

Let's not get sidetracked by the issue of defensive frailties, even if statistics like Burnley conceding 14 away from home already (in four games) and Hull shipping 13 on the road leap out.

The fact is that there has long been a gap between the top sides and the also-rans. There's always been a whipping boy or two. It's not new that Burnley concede goals. Last season as they won promotion from the Championship they let in 60, more than any other team in the top half. So after climbing into the Premier League, where the quality is far superior, they were never going to concede fewer.

Instead, let's consider a fresher, attacking mentality from some key teams, especially Liverpool. I think Rafa Benitez has been telling his players to go for broke more often. The payback is 22 league goals, and the downside is 10 conceded already. But isn't it fun to watch?

As for that "A list" of top scorers so far, it tells its own story: Torres, Rooney, Drogba, Saha, Keane, Defoe, Bent, Adebayor. For my money, the choice of best out-and-out centre forward comes down to two: Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres.

I haven't included Rooney for contention in that category because he contributes so much in so many areas – left, right, behind a forward, deeper, roaming, wherever he's asked to play – that he transcends one role. He's a talent alone as a footballer, never mind as a striker. I also believe Cristiano Ronaldo's departure has freed Rooney, in some way, to take on his mantle.

Among the elite No9s, it's good to see Drogba back in the groove. His antics mean he has his critics but you don't need to be a former player to appreciate that this guy is a monster talent, a combination of pace, power and aggression.

Torres is at his prolific best, with eight league goals already. Last season, it took him until February to get that many. His game isn't just about the box but he's most dangerous there because his close control allows him to take possession in confined areas. He can transfer the ball from foot to foot to create space to get in a shot.

At times, Torres can make out he's almost uninterested, and then tunes in, just like that, and he's away with the ball. That's the kind of uninterested player Liverpool paid £26m for!

Some say he gets most of his goals at Anfield but the stats only support that partially: five home goals this season, three away. In any case, as a striker I can tell you it doesn't matter at all where you get the goals – home, away, in your back garden. That they flow is all that matters.

Louis Saha will testify to that. I'm so pleased he's back on form at Everton. Nobody doubted his ability when he moved from Fulham to United but his injuries have been a nightmare for him. Hopefully, that's behind him and he can continue as one of the League's leading front men.

Adams gets his knickers in a twist

I thought Micky Adams' announcement last weekend that he was putting his entire squad on the transfer list was laughable. After his Port Vale team lost 3-1 at Notts County he said the whole squad would be listed on Monday, and added: "We looked like a woman who had a big fur coat on but underneath she's got no knickers."

I'll leave aside that bizarre description, and also the offence I feel, as a former pro, on behalf of his players. He should know as well as anyone that no one goes out intending to play badly. Bad days happen.

What was most ridiculous about the rant is that it will be utterly counter-productive. He's effectively telling the world: "My players are rubbish. Are you sucker enough to want them?" What a terrible message to send out to everyone, players included. The gesture was also pointless; we're not in a transfer window so Adams can't shift anyone now anyway. What a joke.

I hope I'll be following in Sutton's footsteps

Well done to Lincoln City this week for appointing Chris Sutton and giving this young manager his first chance in charge. Hopefully, one day soon, I'd love to have the same chance.

The fee for Andy Cole's column is donated to Alder Hey hospital and sickle cell anaemia research. He works on charitable projects with the sport and media team at law firm Thomas Eggar.

Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
food + drink
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits