For betting purposes, there is one question that will decide the Premier League’s golden boot. How many games will Sergio Aguero play? Augero has scored 23-12-17-26-25 In his five seasons at the Etihad and under the guidance of Pep Guardiola, should be reaching such a level again if he’s able to stay fit. That is the worry however, and at 7/2 there have to eb questions given he’s taken the golden boot just once in this time here.
Harry Kane beat Aguero to the punch in taking the golden boot last season, proving most empathically that he was no one season wonder with 21 the year before. The worry for his backers is if a ferociously heavy schedule – he played all 38 games last season and it appeared to be one factor in his poor Euro 2016 performance. The arrival of Vicent Janssen could lead to his rotation however and if that happened then it would harm the chances for both of them.
If Zlatan Ibrahimovic brings even half the form he showed for PSG then he’s going to go close but that’s factored into his price already and one would want to see him play a few games and jump in a little later. There’s also other striking options at Manchester United, so if Jose uses one of Marcus Rochford or Antony Martial then the goals could be divided especially if United are as functional as his previous sides although the Swedes will presumably demand penalties and free kicks.
Romelu Lukaku grabbed a place in this market last season and there’s every reason to think that he can do at least the same again this time around. At only 23 there should be opportunity for physical improvement even given his giant frame and there’s been no major departures that should impact on the service that he gets at Everton and Ronald Koeman is the ideal manager for them to improve on their 11th place last year too. A repeat of that effort would make him tricky to knock out of the places and his injury record is reasonably strong to boot even if he doesn’t take every penalty and if he moves away it’s likely to be a better one with no offence to toffees.
Jamie Vardy took the league by storm last year as he scored 24 goals to help Leicester storm to the title and 18/1 in a place will have plenty of takers. He performed admirably considering the trainwreck that the Euros became for England and his goal, albeit fortunate, in the shield, is a reminder that the edge is still there and so is partner in crime Riyad Mahrez who scored 17. The two will find things harder this season and everyone is wise to Claudio Ranieri’s tactics and that could hurt the Algerian more than his English counterpart.
Olivier Giroud gets a plentiful supply of chances at Arsenal but he’s never score more than 16 in a season and the defensive quality of the league looks to have improved in the time being so it’s hard to fancy him. Alexis Sanchez is shorter and has the capability but I wonder when his schedule will catch up with him – after all he’s not had a break in three of the last four summers – and the goals may be shared around between the side as is so often the case now there.
Diego Costa came as close as any foreigner has to taking the boot in his first season when he scored 20 for Chelsea and whilst he disappointed like nearly all of his colleagues a season ago there’s more to his record that just the 12 goals he scored last year. Look closely and eight of them came after Jose had gone and stretch that to all competitions and that’s 12 of the 16 he scored. He is a perfect striker for the club and especially a manager like Antonio Conte, and his Premier League pedigree is already proven too to boot. A redemption at a best of 20/1 seems like a chance worth taking.
Michy Batshauyi could interrupt his flow too but Costa could be complimented by having a similar player alongside and it should be remembered that he partnered with Radamel Falcao and David Villa at Atletico so it should not be too hard for the pair to get along. Eden Hazard has looked back to his old self but he only scored 14 two seasons ago and unusually does more creative work than actual goalscoring.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool should score plenty of goals this season and there’s many potential suspects for a run at the boot this time around. Daniel Sturridge is even more injury prone than Sergio Aguero but his scoring record speaks for itself. 43 goals in 69 games is as impressive as any striker can boast in the division and he plays ahead of two of the league’s finest creative talents in the shape of Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho. There is the worry that he’s going to break again but he can score frequently in the biggest games including the semi-finals and finals of the Europa League and his record since Febaury is that of a healthy player so he ought to be opto going well.
Sadio Mane was the other of immediate interest. Tallies of 10 and 11 in the last two seasons need doubling but he’s in the right environment to do so here and hopefully he won’t fall out big style with Jurgen Klopp as he did with the Southampton boss at the time which should lead to a more consistent campaign.
Jermaine Defoe will score and score with ease season but he’s not passed 13 in his last six seasons and that makes him hard to enjoy at the prices here. Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney will have each/way chances if repeating their last seasons although neither placed so one is going to have to find a couple of extra goals from somewhere and there’s turbulence around Watford too, although a new manager may get the best out of them in a 3-5-2.
Others from City have the potential to go on big scoring runs – Kelechi Iheanacho is one to watch if he gets his run in the league – but nobody else from City came close to placing and when Aguero won it two seasons ago Silva was next best with 12 so it has proven to be a futile chase. Burnley’s Andre Gray will have his backers amongst the promoted ones but Negredo of Middlesbrough will have more support as is best of those at the bigger figures.
2 pts each/way Diego Costa (20/1 Coral, 16/1 general)
1.5 pts each/way Romelu Lukaku (12/1 general)
1 pt each/way Daniel Sturridge (25/1 general)