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Premier League Return: Who Could Claim the Premier League Golden Boot?

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Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo, Didier Drogba, Ruud van Nistelrooy; the list of Golden Boot winners – awarded to the leading goal scorer in the Premier League – reads almost like a catalogue of the absolute best finishers and players in modern football. As the Premier League season prepares for its highly anticipated restart, there are many footballers desperate to cement their status in the history books.

In 2019/20, the Golden Boot award was shared between three players, as Arsenal’s captain and hero Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang scored 22 goals alongside fearsome Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. All three players are in with a shout of taking it home this year, with Aubameyang (3/1) just edging out Salah (5/1) and teammate Mane (14/1).

The key contenders

The leading goal scorer thus far is Leicester City’s number nine, Jamie Vardy. The former-England international finds himself at the top of the standings following the Foxes’ impressive surge into the top four this season, with Vardy scoring 19 goals in 27 appearances. He is the favourite at 15/8, but will find competition from an elite chasing pack that includes several former winners of the coveted award.

Gunners captain Aubameyang will undoubtedly be a key threat to Vardy’s throne, with his tally of 17 goals leading all Arsenal players by some margin, with Lacazette lagging behind on 7. Aubameyang will clearly be the main offensive threat for Arteta’s side, and therefore should not be ruled out of taking the award home.

Sitting just behind the Gabon striker are the leading scorers for the two top sides in the Premier League this season: Liverpool’s Mo Salah and Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero. Both men sit on 16 goals ahead of the run-in, and Salah is hoping for his third consecutive award after taking it home in 2017/18 and 2018/19. Argentine Aguero – who is City’s all-time leading goal scorer – should never be ruled out of contention. Standing alone as the highest-scoring foreign player in the history of the Premier League, Aguero possesses the best goal-per-minute ratio of any player with over 100 strikes in the league – and he stands at 5/1 to come out on top in 2019/20.

The Outsiders

Southampton striker Danny Ings finds himself at the front of the chasing pack, with 15 league goals this year, just four behind Vardy.

Last season’s winner Sadio Mane, who has one goal less than the Englishman, is slightly more favoured to take home the award at 14/1, whilst Ings is pegged at 16/1, perhaps due to Liverpool’s scintillating form this campaign.

The Saints striker shares those odds with returning Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford, who has a very impressive 14 goals in the best statistical campaign of his career. The Red Devils added Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes to their ranks in the January transfer window and have since been in incredible form, beating both Chelsea and Manchester City.

Fernandes’ form could see Rashford make a late claim to the Golden Boot – his pre-injury form certainly proved he is capable of it.

The Run-in

Of course, Vardy enters the resumed season as the favourite, but his Leicester City side have some big games to close out the season. The Foxes face Chelsea, Everton, Arsenal, Sheffield United, Tottenham and Manchester United before the season closes – a run that will make or break Vardy’s quest, although he often does find the net in these big games. Aubameyang has a similarly tough end to the season, with big games against Manchester City, Wolves, Sheffield United, Vardy’s Leicester, and Liverpool.

Arsenal also have a north London derby against Tottenham to deal with, but Aubameyang has a decent record against the Gunners’ local rivals, finding the net against them for both Dortmund and Arsenal.

As for champions-elect Liverpool – and chasing duo Salah and Mane – they face Merseyside rivals Everton before facing City, Arsenal and Chelsea in their only ‘big’ games. I’m sure the Reds’ attacking personnel will be licking their lips at the prospect of facing the likes of Brighton and Aston Villa before the year’s conclusion. The defending champions Manchester City – armed, of course, with Sergio Aguero – also have a relatively attractive schedule, with games against Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool their only real challenges on paper. Aguero will certainly be keen to face Newcastle – the Argentine has 15 goals in just 13 league appearances against the Magpies.

Ultimately, it is anyone’s guess as to who will receive the acclaimed Golden Boot at the end of the season – the race is very much still on. Jamie Vardy leads the charts, echoing his fabled 2015/16 season where he scored 24 goals but missed out on the award due to compatriot Harry Kane’s effort of 25. Can Vardy make amends and win the Golden Boot this year?

By Andrew Gamble