Jack Green examines the history of the Premier League Golden Boot and provides his football tips for one of the most open top-scorer races in years.
Following a campaign in which the Golden Boot was shared between three players who each netted 22 goals, this season’s battle to be the Premier League’s top scorer is a tricky one to predict.
A race as open as this is rare, with at least 10 players in with a feasible chance of contending for the award.
Nevertheless, a look at the history of the Golden Boot provides some indication as to who will top the scoring charts come the end of the season.
While Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was among the three players to share the prize last season, the Arsenal striker’s age makes him difficult to trust this time around.
Just three players in the history of the Premier League have won the Golden Boot at the age of 30 and above, and none since Dimitar Berbatov in the 2010/11 season.
That also rules out Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, who is likely to cede a little playing time to Gabriel Jesus, as well as Leicester’s Jamie Vardy.
Players from outside the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ can also be discounted, given how those clubs have dominated the Golden Boot over the past two decades.
All 22 players to have won or shared the award since 2000 played for Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool or Tottenham.
So while Raul Jimenez and Callum Wilson are coming off fine seasons for Wolves and Bournemouth respectively, it’s best to stick with the big guns.
The top teams typically score the most, so it makes sense that nine of the last 10 Golden Boot winners played for a side that scored over 70 goals in the season.
Tottenham failed to reach that mark last season, though that’s not particularly worrying for Harry Kane as it was his absence through injury that contributed to their relatively low total.
It’s more concerning for Chelsea, who only scored 63 in the league last season and have since sold Eden Hazard, who was directly involved in half of them.
That still leaves plenty of contenders, but a few can be ruled out based on their scoring tallies from last season.
Nine of the last 10 Golden Boot winners were coming off a campaign in which they bagged at least 15 league goals, so anyone who failed to reach that mark is 2018/19 can be discounted this time around.
That includes Alexandre Lacazette, Gabriel Jesus, Marcus Rashford, Heung-Min Son and Roberto Firmino, among others.
Few players arrive in the Premier League and are immediately in contention for the Golden Boot. In fact, no player has won the award in their first season in English football, meaning new signings like Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe are also worth ignoring.
Nine of the last 13 players to have won the award had already scored 20 goals in a single season at some point in their career, so we’re looking for a reliable goalscorer who has put up a big tally before.
Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus are among the other contenders that have never reached that mark.
Finally, it’s imperative to back a reliable starter, as nine of the last 10 Golden Boot winners started at least 30 games.
So while Harry Kane is a two-time Golden Boot winner and is capable of winning the award again, he has only started 30 matches in one of the past four seasons.
His injury problems mean that it’s worth looking elsewhere.
That leaves just two contenders who fit all our criteria.
Mo Salah – surprise, surprise – is one of them.
The Egyptian scored 32 goals to win the Golden Boot outright in 2017/18 before sharing it last term, meaning he now has two 20-goal seasons in his career.
He has missed just two games in total over the past two seasons, and is the attacking focal point of a Liverpool side that will create plenty of opportunities for him.
At , he’s a great bet once again.
So, too, is Sadio Mane, who also finished joint-top of the scoring charts last season.
Salah’s Liverpool team-mate is a slightly riskier option, as last season was the first time he has netted over 20 league goals in a campaign, but he’ll also see plenty of scoring chances and is a bigger price at .
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