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Copa America 2015: Top 5 contenders for the Golden Boot

ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
10.56K   //    15 May 2015, 09:29 IST
Neymar and Lionel Messi
Neymar and Lionel Messi – From teammates to opponents for Copa America 2015

Whoever told you that we’re approaching the home stretch of this year’s football season is either a) misinformed or b) ignorant of the fact that while the Copa America might not be the premier competition in football, it still is the oldest international (inter-continental) football competition. With teams finalising their rosters for this tournament, the time has come for us to look into our crystal balls and make a few predictions.

We begin with the top contenders for the Golden Boot.

Edinson Cavani

If Uruguay are to replicate even a scintilla of their 2011 magic, El Matador will have to play bellwether. A Luis Suarez-less Uruguay attack is indeed toothless, but the frills of Edinson Cavani aren’t too shabby either. With 11 goals from his last 11 games, Cavani seems to be shaping up quite well in the run-up to the Copa America. And with the ramshackle defences of Jamaica and Paraguay - Uruguay’s company in Group B – waiting to be plundered, Cavani must be licking his fingers.

Edinson Cavani
Edinson Cavani will have to step up with Luis Suarez banned for Uruguay

Suarez’s absence though, may prove to be a double-edged sword for Cavani. For, while every striker relishes being the sole fulcrum of the attack, Cavani seems to have gotten accustomed to playing second fiddle to Zlatan Ibrahimovic. With nobody to feed off and hardly any quality playmakers to provide, Cavani will have it all to do.

Another point of concern is the fact that Cavani has pulled blanks in all of his last three games against quality defences.

CAVANI STATS - 2014/15

 

Matches

Shots on target

Mins per goal

Goals

Ligue 1

33

58

153

16

Champions League

10

12

154

6

French Cup

3

N/A

90

3

French League Cup

3

N/A

70

3

Champion’s Trophy

1

N/A

-

0

International

1

N/A

90

1

Total

51

N/A

138

29

Prediction: Cavani will score in scores against the smaller teams, but he could struggle against the big teams.


Carlos Tevez

Why would a 31-year old striker relying on pace, who last scored for his country 1400 days ago, be in the provisional squad, you ask? Why would a player on the same team as Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero even be considered as an option?

Carlos Tevez
Carlos Tevez is back in the Argentina provisional squad after a long hiatus

Take this: 50 goals in his last two seasons, not to mention two consecutive Golden Boots. Carlos Tevez is the real deal, as we observed how the Juventus forward dealt Real Madrid a mortal blow in the Champions League semi-final. It will be interesting to see where Gerardo Martino deploys Tevez – most likely a three-pronged attack – and whether he starts.

Prediction: There’s no stopping this bulldog. Uruguay, Jamaica, Paraguay, (Messi, Aguero), beware!

TEVEZ STATS - 2014/15

 

Matches

Shots on target

Mins per goal

Goals

Serie A

31

63

125

20

Champions League

12

24

118

9

Supercopa Italiana

1

N/A

45

2

Coppa Italia

1

N/A

-

0

International

2

N/A

-

0

Total

47

N/A

121

31


Neymar

Fortunately for Brazilian fans, they will come face-to-face with Colombia in the early stages. When they do square up against each other, Neymar will have his shot at retribution with Juan Zuniga; mano a mano as is custom in South America. Zuniga was thrust into the limelight after he injured Neymar in the 2014 World Cup. The Brazilian eventually missed the rest of the tournament and Brazil's World Cup campaign on home soil was consequently derailed.

Neymar Brazil Copa America 2015
Neymar will look to continue from where he left off at the 2014 World Cup

Neymar had set the World Cup alight until his unfortunate injury. And he has run riot in the La Liga all season. He has the likes of Phillippe Coutinho and Firmino to provide opportunities to score. What could possibly go wrong?

Prediction: Extra sharp studs and Neymar will go a long way. If he decides to wear blunt ones though, expect another vertebral lapse. If he does manage to survive the showdown, well, new-friend Messi will be waiting.

NEYMAR STATS - 2014/15
 

Matches

Shots on target

Mins per goal

Goals

La Liga

31

54

109

22

Champions League

11

22

104

9

Copa Del Rey

5

N/A

85

6

International

2

N/A

N/A

1

Total

49

N/A

102

38

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