There's a joke among some football fans that Chris Wood only scores ugly goals.

The Burnley striker - a prolific pragmatist with an uncanny knack for being in the right place at the right time - has earned a reputation over the years as a scorer of strange, seemingly fortuitous goals.

His latest effort in Burnley's season-closer against Bournemouth was no exception, bundling home his 10th of the season after a wayward Ashley Westwood shot caromed off his stationary foot into the bottom corner of the net.

It's the type of goal that has come to define the burly Kiwi's time in England. Case in point:


It's also meant that Wood has flown under the radar, forgotten in a league that privileges Paul Pogbas and Dele Allis - flamboyant showmen who grab headlines and sell tickets.

Not that he seems to care. And neither would Burnley fans after seeing their club finish in seventh - their highest league placing since 1974 - thanks in large part to the addition of Wood who joined the club for a record $29million transfer fee.

His time at Leeds United in the Championship - scoring 41 goals in 83 appearances - has proven that his penchant for goal-poaching is no fluke. And after a frustrating yet productive return to the Premier League with Burnley, Wood has shown that he is also capable of doing it at the biggest stage.

The Kiwi striker has been invaluable for the Clarets who took the honour of the Premier League's 'best of the rest', eclipsed only by top-six perennials Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal.

Despite struggling with injuries which saw him miss a chunk of the season, Wood still managed to score 36 per cent of Burnley's goal return - many of which came during important 1-0 victories.

Chris Wood of Burnley celebrates. Photo / Photosport
Chris Wood of Burnley celebrates. Photo / Photosport

In fact, Wood's 10-goal tally earned his side 12 points this season according to Sky Sports UK - only Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (16) and Spurs' Harry Kane (22) have won more points via their goals.

Having only started 20 games in the league, Wood's goal tally significantly undersells his impact. When averaged out for the amount of minutes played, Wood rises to the top ten goal scorers in the league.

The players ahead of him in this department are a who's who of Premier League forwards: Salah, Kane, Sergio Aguero, Jamie Vardy, Raheem Sterling, Alexandre Lacazette, Gabriel Jesus, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.


His goal-per-minute ratio is also better than many of the league's heavyweights including United's Romelu Lukaku, Chelsea's Álvaro Morata and Liverpool's Roberto Firmino - who were sold to their clubs for a combined transfer fee exceeding $300million.

Wood is also one of the most accurate shooters in the league, getting 71 per cent of his shots on target - second only to Arsenal's Aubameyang (79). This efficiency has been a large factor in his success, especially because of his side's defensive emphasis that puts a premium on goal-scoring opportunities; Burnley have scored the least amount of goals out of the Premier League's top 14 teams.

The stats, of course, only tell one side of the story. But Wood has also earned plaudits from the media and fans.

Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes. Photo / Photosport
Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes. Photo / Photosport

The Guardian recently named Wood in their list of the best signings of the season, while he was a frontrunner for Burnley's player of the season only to be beaten by goalkeeping hero Nick Pope, another success story in their historic campaign.

But most importantly, Wood has earned the trust of manager Sean Dyche.

Wood has thrived in Dyche's 4-4-2 formation, a system that has come full circle from being a tired strategy used by Fergie nostalgists to a calling card for managerial progressives like Dyche and Athletico Madrid's Diego Simeone.

The aggressive press employed by Dyche when his team gets close to their opponent's goal gives the industrious Wood a chance to make use of his athleticism and football IQ.

At the other end, Burnley defend deep in numbers and are not afraid to pump the long ball up the field to Wood and striking partner Ashley Barnes, allowing the Kiwi forward the chance to showcase one of his strengths, his ability to play with his back to goal.

New Zealand hasn't seen an attacking talent like Wood since Wynton Rufer, and only time will tell if like Rufer, Wood can take that next step towards football's upper echelon. If this season was any indication, he seems to be well on his way.

And who knows, he might even start scoring a few more screamers.