Aguero, Suarez, Van Persie, Berbatov, Drogba, Anelka, Ronaldo, Drogba again and then Thierry Henry twice.
No, this isn’t a list for potential WAG’s to set their claws into.
This is the last ten winners of the Premier League Golden Boot.
They do have a lot in common though. An unerring instinct in the box. Clinical finishing. The occasional crazy hairstyle. Adored by their respective clubs. Do the previous winners offer any clues to who may be this season’s top scorer however?
One common trait for all the names above is that their teams at the time were challenging for the title. So is a team firing on all cylinders and dominating the majority of opponents mandatory for the potential sharpest of shooters? Well, the last winner of the Golden Boot who was part of a team not duking it out in the mix for the top places was Kevin Phillips in 1999/2000, though it could be argued when Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink obtained the shiniest of footwear, his Chelsea side finished sixth, which is no mean feat. All others though, benefitted from a virtually uninterrupted source from which to draw goals from.
So, we can assume with some authority that this year’s top striker will hail from one of the contenders for the title or Europe.
Do last season’s tallies give us any pointers?
Indeed they do. It would seem that if he can keep those troublesome hamstrings quiet, then Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero will be the man to beat. Add in the mix that his team struggled through last season and we may have a winner. Looking at the odds at 32Red on mobile , he is offered at 9/4 and is the clear favourite.
But hold off from that visit to the bookies. The contender list is long and strong.
Champions Chelsea benefitted from a seemingly unstoppable Diego Costa in the first half of the season. Until injury and suspensions halted his progress, the Spaniard led the line superbly and was without peers. If he can steer clear of the treatment room and the histrionics on the pitch, he could push Aguero close. He is the closest in terms of odds at 8/1 with 32Red.
What of last season’s runner up Harry Kane? Well, it was the dream season for the League’s leading Englishman, but he now faces the difficult second season. Now no longer a surprise package to defences, he may find an extra man marking him to stifle any chance he may get. His finishing was sharp last season, but if he can reach twenty or above goals this season, he must view this as a success. After a disappointing start to the season, his odds have plummeted to 28/1.
Alexis Sanchez wasn’t far away last season and emerged from his debut season with plaudits for his all-action style and the F.A Cup for his efforts. Will he better his previous terms total? The key for Sanchez is fatigue. After playing virtually non-stop, he finished his domestic season and seamlessly helped his country win a historic first Copa America. The man is difficult to leave out of the team and offers so much, but he will hit a wall and it all hinges on how Arsenal handle his recuperation. If he is flogged then his goals will suffer. Not off the mark yet, but some bookies are currently offering him at a tasty 25/1, which is tempting.
His team mate Olivier Giroud only scored one less than Sanchez and yet is maligned from all quarters, including a section of his own fans. It is perceived that he doesn’t provide enough goals to sustain a title challenge, but figure into his goals last term a hiatus for three months and he suddenly looks a lot more prolific. Giroud does miss chances though. Seeing as he has Mesut Ozil creating chances for fun behind him, he should score more. If he can hone his finishing a little more, then he may be a contender. This is reflected in the odds – 28/1 with Ladbrokes for the handsome Gaul.
Wayne Rooney had a disappointing season last year. His team were attempting to rise from the ashes of their worst ever Premier League finish and they did so – achieving a Champions League slot despite having a defence so porous it never truly boasted a settled lineup. Rooney was well off the pace if compared to his previous totals but will surely pose more of a threat with Mata, Schweinsteiger, a revitalised Januzaj and an altogether more solid foundation behind him. Despite a woeful start to this season, Rooney will be there or thereabouts at the business end of the campaign. Will this season be the first time he grabs the Golden Boot? If his odds are anything to go by, then maybe not – 25/1 with Paddy Power for the Utd hotshot.
These are only a handful of names that could stand toe-to-toe with the finest marksmen in the League. Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Christian Benteke ( who is 3rd favourite in terms of odds ) and Saido Berahino ( if he can get back in the team ) will all have a say in who grabs the top marksmen accolade, but the man to beat will be Sergio Aguero. Such is his excellence, it is only his own weakness that can derail his campaign.
The Battle has begun. So, if you’re a betting man, who is your money on?