Outside of winning the title and domestic cups, the most important individual award for English-based strikers is the Premier League Golden Boot. A host of world class players have taken the title of top goalscorer, including the likes of Sergio Aguero, Luis Suarez, Robin Van Persie, Dimitar Berbatov, Didier Drogba and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Harry Kane added his name to that illustrious list last season, notching 25 league goals and outscoring both Vardy and Aguero by a single goal. Of the legends listed above only Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero is still playing in the Premier League, but big-name strikers such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Diego Costa will be gunning to add their name to the history books.
Kane has spent much of the season out injured and although he is due to return to action in the next few weeks, the chance of defending the title has probably slipped away from him. Jamie Vardy – so prolific for Leicester last term – has hit just one league goal so far, and with the Champions League a welcome distraction he also seems unlikely to hit the same heights this term.
As things stand, Chelsea’s Diego Costa leads the way with eight goals so far this season, while Sergio Aguero will be many people’s idea of the winner of this award. However, the Argentine striker has only won one Golden Boot in his time in England, despite joining Manchester City in 2011.
Opposing Aguero and Costa
A goal machine in a Pep Guardiola side should be a recipe for success, and Aguero is quoted at around +163 across the board. Diego Costa meanwhile, is a best price of +400 after a prolific start for Chelsea this season.
If like this tipster you think those prices are a tad on the short side, both forward men can be opposed for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s a long season of football and injuries and suspensions can play a significant part in this market. Of course, bad luck can hit any player, but backing Aguero at such short odds considering his fitness record over recent seasons is a questionable ploy. The nature of Costa’s game means that he is always liable to pick up cards over the course of the season, and will undoubtedly miss games through suspension.
Manchester City are quick to point out that they’re aiming for a Champions League title this season, and when we get to the business end, Guardiola will surely be tempted to rest his star player in the league and save him for the big European nights. That won’t be a problem for Chelsea and Costa – with no European football this term – and of the two he is arguably the better bet. The current standings are as follows:
Costa (Chelsea) – 8
Lukaku (Everton) – 7
Aguero (Man City) – 7
Sanchez (Arsenal) – 6
Theo Walcott (Arsenal) – 5
Eden Hazard (Chelsea) – 5
Jermain Defoe (Sunderland) – 5
Thierry Henry won three Golden Boots back-to-back in the mid 2000’s with Arsenal, and Robin Van Persie claimed back-to-back awards in 2012 and 2013 with the Gunners and Manchester United respectively. Other than those two players, no striker has managed to retain the trophy the following season. With Harry Kane effectively out of the running it looks like being a new man this time around, and there are some decent alternatives on offer.
In the last five seasons Robin Van Persie is the only player to have finished top scorer and picked up a title winners medal, so winning the league does not always equate to winning the Golden Boot.
Most bookies are offering 1/4 the odds for a top four finish, and that is certainly within the Arsenal striker’s compass. He’s hit six in ten games so far for the Gunners, who themselves look more competitive this season than they have for a few years. Sanchez hit 13 goals in 30 games last term, and 16 in 35 the season before. He’s already on course to exceed those figures, and has a team around him that create plenty of chances. Man City and Liverpool lead the way in the scoring stakes with 24 each as a team so far, but Arsenal are only one behind with 23. Playing regularly for a free-scoring Arsenal team could see Sanchez have his most productive season – especially if a title challenge is still on the cards by next Spring.
The big Belgian hitman has been thriving under Ronald Koeman since he took charge at Everton, and he could represent a spot of value if he continues to shine in an attacking Toffees team. He’s bagged seven goals in nine appearances this season, and is level with Aguero on the goalscoring chart. Everton are having a good season this term, sitting in 6th place in the league, and it’s worth noting that Lukaku scored 18 in 37 last season in what was a poor year for the club last year under Roberto Martinez.
He’s made 30+ appearances in the league for the last four seasons for West Brom and Everton, and at 24 years of age his best could still be ahead of him.
Alexi Sanchez to win the Golden Boot – Each Way
Romelu Lukaku to win the Golden Boot – Each Way