Premier League 18-19: Predicting the Golden Boot race
Several players are competing for the Golden Boot award in the Premier League. There are 17 players who have scored in double figures this season and five strikers who lead the rest of the pack with at least 14 goals. With only ten matches remaining for most clubs, it is fair to say that the race for the Golden Boot will come down to the wire.
The 2017-18 campaign hosted a thrilling race between Mohamed Salah and Harry Kane, but the Egyptian striker took the award home as a result of scoring 32 goals compared to Kane's 30 goals. At present, the following list of players (which includes Salah and Kane) make up the top five scorers in the Premier League:
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) - 18 goals
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) - 17 goals
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) - 16 goals
Harry Kane (Tottenham) - 15 goals
Sadio Mane (Liverpool) - 14 goals
Best Odds of Winning
With the disparity between Aguero and Mane only being four goals, it truly is difficult to determine who has the best chance of being crowned the league's top scorer. That being said, let us analyze the shortlist of primary contenders in the race for the Golden Boot.
The Senegalese international is enjoying a good run of form with Liverpool this season and he has already surpassed his goal tally from last term by four goals. Mane should not be ruled out despite being fifth in the race, but it is unlikely that he will take away enough goals from Salah to fight for the top spot.
Although I am giving Mane the slimmest of odds to win the Golden Boot, I will say that his cheeky goal against Watford on Wednesday should be a contender for Goal of the Season.
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The Arsenal striker is playing lights out football in London. Aubameyang's 16 goals have greatly contributed to Arsenal's success this season and his consistency in front of goal is a major reason why the Gunners are knocking on the door of playing Champions League football next season.
The bad news for Aubameyang and Arsenal is that their schedule to close out the season is difficult. The Gunners will go up against two teams in the top six and three in the top ten. For this reason, Aubameyang will struggle to score enough goals to win the race.
Last season's top scorer has picked up right where he left off as he is only one goal behind Manchester City's Sergio Aguero. Liverpool have a favorable schedule to end their season with three bottom half teams and two teams in the relegation zone still on their list of fixtures.
While this places Salah at an advantage, I will make a bold prediction here and say that the Egyptian international will not win the Golden Boot. Jurgen Klopp will stress the importance of collective success over individual awards. In other words, the Reds will be set up to win matches to take home the league title and this will hurt Salah. Players like Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino will step up their game to score crucial goals, which should limit Salah's scoring abilities.
Aguero currently leads the league in scoring, but can he sustain this primacy and claim the Golden Boot? No. My prediction is that the Argentine striker will finish the race in third place behind Mohamed Salah and Harry Kane, in that order. With Manchester City still in second place, Pep Guardiola will emphasize the importance of offensive urgency and this will see many players step up and score goals for the defending champions.
Moreover, it is worth noting that Manchester City's schedule is all over the place. The Citizens are still in the FA Cup and they are still competing in the Champions League. At some point, fatigue will kick in and Guardiola will certainly modify his lineups to keep fresh legs on the field. For these reasons, it is difficult for me to see Aguero raising the Golden Boot award.
England's star striker was sidelined for over a month with a severe ankle injury, yet he is still in the running for the Golden Boot. The fact that Kane scored a goal earlier this week against Burnley is a bad sign for the competition as it shows that he has not missed a beat.
Tottenham will play one team that conceded 46 goals and three teams that have conceded just under 60 goals each to conclude the season and this bodes well for Kane. Tottenham's main man has the best odds to take home the Golden Boot award in May.