Who’s favourite to win the Premier League’s Golden Boot?
Will Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy finish as the league’s top scorer?
The return of the Premier League is under a week away, and while the title may be all but secure for Liverpool, the race for the Golden Boot is heating up.
Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy leads the way so far, but he’s got Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and Liverpool Mohamed Salah hot on his heels.
Ahead of the league’s resumption, we take a look at the leading scorers, their form prior to the break, and the run of fixtures they have for the rest of the campaign.
At the back end of 2019, the Foxes front man was on fire, scoring 17 of his 19 league goals before Christmas, with his 17th of the season coming in a 3-1 defeat to Manchester City on 21st December.
Just before the break, Vardy came off the bench to score his 18th and 19th of the season in a 4-0 routing of Aston Villa, showing glimpses of the form he’d managed prior to his baron run.
With his team in third spot, they face one of the trickier run-ins, with five matches left to play away from the King Power Stadium.
Against the nine teams Leicester have left to face, Vardy scored in seven of the reverse fixtures. He only failed to net against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United, the Foxes final two matches of the campaign.
Vardy scored eight times in those seven games, including a brace against Bournemouth, and goals against Watford, Brighton and Hove Albion, Everton, Crystal Palace, Arsenal and Sheffield United.
He knows what it takes to score against those teams left to face this season, and the two goals against Villa just before the break could mean he comes in full of confidence to claim his first Premier League Golden Boot.
Arsenal’s Gabonese striker has a frightful amount of attacking prowess, and it’s hard to deny his quality in front of goal.
He’s scored 49 goals in 75 Premier League appearances for the Gunners, including 22 on his way to sharing last season’s Golden Boot with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané.
Aubameyang is only two goals behind Vardy, and was in decent form before the break, scoring three in three.
Arsenal’s fixture list starts with three away games against Manchester City, Brighton and Hove Albion and Southampton, three teams Aubameyang failed to score against in the home fixtures.
They’ve also got games against Leicester and Liverpool too, fixtures that he couldn’t find the net in the first time round either.
But Auba has scored seven goals this season against the five remaining opponents. Those seven include braces against Norwich City and Watford, as well as goals against Wolves, Aston Villa and against Arsenal’s bitter rivals, Tottenham.
If Aubameyang can find the net on the Premier League’s return against Manchester City, he’ll pile the pressure on Vardy and could forge a path to his second successive Golden Boot.
It may come as a shock that Manchester City’s Argentinian striker has only managed to win the Golden Boot once, back in 2014/15, despite scoring 20+ goals for the past five seasons.
He needs four goals in City’s last 10 Premier League matches to keep that run going, and the break could have come at just the right time for him.
Agüero had gone four games without a goal despite featuring for more than half of the match in each of those games.
However, the Argentine has already bagged seven goals against the 10 teams left to face this term. He scored braces against Brighton and Bournemouth, while also finding the net against Southampton, Watford and Norwich.
He failed to score against Liverpool and Chelsea, while not playing against Arsenal, Burnley and Newcastle.
With the title seemingly out of reach for City, Agüero will hope to get his hands on the Golden Boot and hope to put an end to Salah’s reign as the Premier League’s top scorer.
Liverpool may well be on their way to a first Premier League title, but Salah faces a tougher task on his venture for a third Golden Boot in a row.
The Egyptian attacker signed off before the break with a goal against Bournemouth. It’s been an indifferent season for Salah, only scoring in back-to-back games twice, which could stand against him here.
With nine fixtures remaining, Salah has only scored against three of the teams left to face, finding the net against Manchester City, Arsenal and Newcastle.
Salah didn’t feature in their reverse fixtures against Everton and Crystal Palace, the two teams they face first.
However, he failed to score against Aston Villa, Brighton, Burnley and Chelsea, and with 16 goals to his name so far, he’s six away from matching the number which won him the award last season.
If the prolific winger can find the net in his first few games, he could find himself alongside the front runners as a favourite to win his third successive Golden Boot.
Mané is having another sensational season, even by his recent standards. The Senegalese winger has been instrumental to Liverpool’s form this season, netting 14 goals so far. He’s 14/1 to retain the crown.
Danny Ings has almost single-handedly led the Saints away from the drop zone this season with his 15 goals. He looks like he’s finally found a home on the South coast and is 16/1 to fire himself to the Golden Boot.
He’s with Harry Kane at 16s to claim the award. With the Spurs man returning from injury, could he lead the Lilywhites to a top four spot and claim his third Golden Boot?
All odds and markets are correct as of date of publication.