How to pick a Premier League Golden Boot winner
Ahead of the new Premier League season, Jack Green analyses the top candidates to finish as the league's top scorer.
Our football tips for this season's Premier League Golden Boot include an 11/2 shot and two outsiders at 20/1.
Following a campaign in which Jamie Vardy caused a shock by winning the Golden Boot, this season’s race to be the Premier League’s top scorer could be similarly unpredictable.
There are several viable contenders from the top clubs, and injuries and squad rotation caused by the condensed schedule could also affect several players’ chances.
Nevertheless, a look at the history of Premier League Golden Boot winners provides some indication as to who will top the scoring charts come the end of the season.
Vardy was a surprising winner primarily because of his age.
The former England international became just the second player to be the Premier League’s top scorer at the age of 32, after Didier Drogba in 2010.
Vardy is, of course, capable of winning the award again this season, but no one has ever managed to do so at the age of 33 and above, so the odds are against him.
Instead, it’s worth focusing on players who are 31 or younger this term.
Vardy bucked another trend last season simply by playing for Leicester. Prior to last season, the previous 22 Golden Boot winners dating back to 2000 all played for Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City or Tottenham.
The last 23 winners – Vardy included – have all played for a team that finished inside the Premier League’s top five.
So although there may be another surprise winner from outside of the ‘Big Six’, history would suggest we’re better off opting for a player from the Premier League’s traditional powers this time around.
That means ruling out players like Danny Ings and Raul Jimenez, who are coming off brilliant seasons for clubs outside of the Big Six.
Golden Boot winners rarely come out of nowhere – they have usually had a few seasons in the Premier League and at least one prolific scoring season before they win the award.
Of the 34 winners since 1993, 32 had already had a season in which they had made 10 Premier League appearances.
Ten of the last 14 winners had previously scored 20 league goals in a season, and 10 of the last 11 were coming off a season in which they had netted at least 17 goals.
This time around, then, we can swerve new arrivals like Chelsea’s Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, and instead go for an established Premier League player who has had a 20-goal season in his career and scored at least 17 times last term.
It’s logical that the players who score the most goals play higher up the pitch, and, unsurprisingly, the Golden Boot is almost always won by a traditional striker.
Liverpool wingers Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah are the only wide men to win the award, and although both should be in contention again this season, history suggests the smart money is on backing a player who plays centrally more often.
That also rules out Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling and Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes, who scored eight goas in 14 games as an attacking midfielder last season.
Finally, it’s hugely important for players to be durable in order to win the Golden Boot, particularly this season when the games will come thick and fast.
Ten of the last 11 Golden Boot winners made at least 33 Premier League starts in the season of their triumph, including at least 30 starts.
So Sergio Aguero and Harry Kane, both of whom have been forced to miss plenty of games through injuries over the past few seasons, simply cannot be relied upon this term.
Taking all the above criteria into account, only one Golden Boot contender fits the bill: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Arsenal captain shared the Golden Boot with Salah and Mane in 2018/19 before finishing second in the standings, and the numbers suggest he’s the man to back this year.
At 31, he just about fits the age profile for a winner, and he plays for a Big Six club with a chance of finishing in the top five this season.
Aubameyang netted 22 goals last season, which was the fourth 20-goal domestic season of his career, and he’s now very comfortable in the Premier League with three seasons of at least 10 appearances under his belt.
He missed just two matches last season, and although he often plays as a left forward in Mikel Arteta’s system, he has actually been more prolific in that role than as a central striker.
He’s a great bet at .
If you’re looking for an each-way bet, both Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are intriguing options.
The Manchester United pair both finished last season strongly, particularly Martial, who was often deployed as a centre-forward.
They are both yet to post a 20-goal season, but should see plenty of opportunities under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this term.
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