The contenders for the Premier League’s Golden Boot
With Luis Suarez having departed for Barcelona, the race to win the Golden Boot as the Premier League’s highest goal scorer could be tighter than ever in 2014-15. New strikers have made their way into the top tier of English football but who are the contenders for the trophy?
Red Devils Unite
After an injury hit season last time out, Manchester United’s Robin Van Persie is favourite at 7.80 with Betfair to win this accolade. The Dutchman enjoyed a brilliant first campaign at Old Trafford with 30 league goals in 2012-13 but those injuries restricted him to 28 Premiership appearances under David Moyes, during which he found the net on 18 occasions.
That’s still a good ratio for any striker but Van Persie has to stay fit if he is to take this award in the forthcoming season. Strike partner Wayne Rooney is also a threat but Moyes’ tendency to drop him deep resulted in a return of 19 goals from 40 matches in 2013-14. New manager Louis van Gaal will need to push the England man further forward if he is to stand a chance of claiming the Golden Boot this time around.
Replacing the irreplaceable
Having started the previous campaign with a ban, Luis Suarez came through with an incredible strike rate for Liverpool of 31 goals in 37 league matched but that record overshadows the fact that his partner Daniel Sturridge was almost as prolific.
England international Sturridge ended 2013-14 with 24 in 33 in the league and with Suarez having now left for Barcelona, the 24 year old will have greater responsibility and possibly greater opportunities in front of goal.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has been busy in the transfer market but it’s hard to see Rickie Lambert adequately replacing Suarez’s goals and if any player from within the Reds’ squad is going to challenge for the Golden Boot, Sturridge is the most likely.
The new boys
There is plenty of excitement surrounding Chelsea’s new signing Diego Costa who enjoyed such a productive campaign as Atletico Madrid took an unexpected La Liga title. Costa has started pre-season in good form and with 27 goals in 35 league matches for Atleti last season, he is a definite contender to finish top of the Premiership scoring charts.
Technically, Didier Drogba is another new signing for Jose Mourinho’s side but the Ivorian will be no stranger to Chelsea fans having spent eight years at Stamford Bridge before leaving for China in 2012. The striker scored 100 league goals for the West London team but at the age of 36, can he continue to be as prolific during his second spell at the club?
Arsenal also have a new signing in Chilean international Diego Costa and for once it seems as if Arsene Wenger’s men have a tangible threat to the Golden Boot trophy. Not since Thierry Henry joined Barcelona in 2007 have the Gunners possessed a truly prolific centre forward in their squad but 25 year old Sanchez should receive excellent service from a talented midfield and he is a serious contender here.
City to struggle?
Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero had injury problems at the end of the previous campaign and the Argentinian may not be fit for the start of the new season. Partner Alvaro Negredo is definitely ruled out with a broken foot so perhaps City’s players will struggle to have an impact.
The race for the Golden Boot is a fascinating battle that can be affected by many factors other than form. Loss of fitness, suspensions and a change of manager can all leave a player frozen out at their club and that’s why it’s so interesting to monitor this trophy’s progress from start to finish.