It's fair to say that the goalscorers across Europe's top 5 leagues have excelled themselves this season, with as many as 54 players already having reached double figures. At this stage in the previous two campaigns that was a feat that only 41 players could manage and here we take a closer look at the finishing from those to have already reached the 10-goal mark.
In this case we're analysing the quality of the chances that are being taken, and in particular looking towards the percentage of the goals scored that have been classed as clear-cut opportunities. In this instance it is worth elaborating a little, with the term big chance labelled to situations such as clear one-on-ones with the keeper, penalties, tap-ins, free headers from close in and so on.
We've assembled a leaderboard in terms of players whose goals have predominantly been laid on a plate for them this season and indeed looked at the opposite end of the spectrum at those who have had to work harder for their respective tallies thus far.
He Must Score…
5. Stefan Kießling (Bayer Leverkusen) - 15 goals
The form of target man Stefan Kießling has been key to Sami Hyypia's superb first season in charge at Leverkusen, with the club seemingly in a direct battle with Dortmund for the runner-up spot in the Bundesliga. The 29 year old is the joint top scorer in Germany, though 13 of his 15 goals have been big chances and all of them have come from inside the box.
4. Alvaro Negredo (Sevilla) - 10 goals
Spain international striker Negredo has had a steady if unspectacular season for mid-table Sevilla, netting 10 goals in 21 starts for the club. However, as many of 9 of those have been classed as 'big chances', with 2 coming from the penalty spot. It's also worth bearing in mind that the forward has only missed fewer clear-cut chances (18) than two players in Europe's top 5 leagues, so he really should have more.
3. Giampaolo Pazzini (AC Milan) - 10 goals
Following a move from fierce rivals Inter in a deal which saw Cassano go the opposite way, Pazzini's tally of 10 league goals is commendable, especially when considering he has only started 11 of his 20 appearances. Like Negredo though, the Italian has netted 9 big chances, including 3 penalties, so the service into him is always key.
2. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Saint Etienne) - 12 goals
Gabonese front man Aubameyang is a player known for his blistering pace and skill at times but when it comes to finishing he generally scores somewhat simple goals. He's netted 11 clear-cut chances this season, accounting for 91.7% of his 12 goal tally, and hasn't scored from outside the box. Unlike those before him, however, he doesn't have penalty duties to rely on to boost his figures.
1. Vedad Ibisevic (Stuttgart) - 10 goals
Bosnian forward Ibisevic is Stuttgart's top scorer this season by some distance but he is the only player to have reached double figures this season whose entire goal tally (10) has consisted of strikes from clear-cut opportunities thus far. He's also only missed 6 big chances to date, proving that when he's put through on goal with an easy chance he rarely fluffs his lines.
What a Goal!
5. Alexander Meier (Frankfurt) - 12 goals
With the four players to occupy the lone striker role at high-flying Frankfurt this season netting just 5 goals between, the German outfit have a lot to thank Alexander Meier for. The 30 year old has struck 12 times from his position in the hole behind the front man - the most of any non-striker in the Bundesliga - with only 5 of his tally coming from big chances and 2 of those being penalties.
4. Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Bilbao) - 12 goals
While a disagreement between Juve-bound Fernando Llorente and Marcelo Bielsa has kept the Spain international out of the side this season, the player signed in pre-emptive action of his departure has stepped up to the plate in his second spell with Bilbao. 32 year old Aritz Aduriz has identical figures to Meier here, with 12 goals (5 from big chances), though only one of those have come from the spot.
3. Romain Alessandrini (Rennes) - 10 goals
Winger Romain Alessandrini earned his first call-up to the France national squad this season having joined Rennes from Ligue 2 outfit Clermont Foot in the summer. The 23 year old has made the step up in style to reach double figures from wide areas already, with only 4 of his 10 goals representing big chances and 5 of the other 6 coming from outside the box.
2. Gareth Bale (Tottenham) - 13 goals
Tottenham talisman Bale has forced his way into the limelight recently with a string of magnificent goals. In turn it is perhaps no surprise to see him among this list having only scored 5 clear cut chances from a total of 13 league goals this season. He's netted 4 times from distance in the current campaign, including one in each of his last 2 Premier League appearances.
1. Juan Mata (Chelsea) - 10 goals
The player to have netted the fewest clear cut chances of all of those to score at least 10 goals this season, and in turn taking his place at the top of the leaderboard here, is Juan Mata. Only 3 of the Chelsea playmaker's 10-goal haul have been identified as big chances, with 4 coming from outside of the box including 2 direct free-kicks. Mata is proof that precision is just as pivotal as power when it comes to the odd wonder goal.