Despite one player leading the bunch now, there is another who is likely to steal the top spot.
Let me begin by apologizing. When I projected the outcome of the Golden Boot race in July, I was slightly off.
Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge has found a consistent spot on the bench. Watford shipped Odion Ighalo to China. As Leicester City plummet toward relegation, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez don’t have half the magic they did last season. Alexis Sanchez leads the league in goals and didn’t make the list.
Worst of all, I thought Diego Costa wouldn’t be a Chelsea player by the start of the season, and didn’t include him in the list at all. Instead he’s been a revelation.
However, some predictions are on track. Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, to name a few, are in the thick of the race right now. But, who will lead the league in goals once the season is over? Here are the top three candidates.
1. Diego Costa, Chelsea—15 Goals
It has been an incredible transformation at Stamford Bridge. Last season, Costa and Eden Hazard were pitiful in their attempts to defend their title from 2014/15. This season, they have been incredible, and, at 15 goals, Costa is in a prime position to finish on top in the goals department as Chelsea practically coasts to a title.
He nearly returned to Atletico Madrid in the summer, and reportedly almost ended up in China in January, but the Spanish striker will remain with Chelsea until at least the end of the season, at which time he should have a Golden Boot to his name.
It’s partly due to the form of his team, as their staunch defense leads to endless opportunities to counter through the lightning-quick Hazard, Pedro, and Willian, with Costa the benefactor. However, it takes the ability to finish, and Costa has just that.
Costa puts 60% of his shots on target, and has the ability to score in a multitude of ways—he’s got two goals from outside the box, and the right-footed player has four goals with his weaker left foot.
His goals have dried up over the past month or so, but don’t expect that to continue for long.
Costa will be able to ride the form of his team to the top of the goal scoring charts by season’s end. With Chelsea almost certain to be champions, expect Costa to score more goals and pull ahead in the race for good.
2. Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal—17 Goals
Alexis Sanchez is having a great season for the Gunners, but unfortunately it does not seem like he can hang on to his goalscoring form, despite being the leader through 25 games.
Sanchez has thrived for Arsenal since moving from the left side (where he wasn’t too bad either) into a central role, keeping Olivier Giroud and Lucas Perez on the bench while allowing Alex Iwobi and Theo Walcott more opportunities on the flanks.
The Chilean is now the focal point of Arsenal’s attack, and finally gives Mesut Ozil a consistent scorer to assist. With a lead already, he should be an obvious choice for the top spot.
However, Arsenal’s latest run of form is showing their somewhat routine dip in results at a crucial part of the season. After Liverpool and Manchester City hit ruts to distance themselves from Chelsea, Arsenal remained one of the only teams left truly capable of challenging the leaders. After their 5-1 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League and a recent 3-1 slip up to Chelsea, fans and players alike seem discouraged.
No player exemplifies that more than Sanchez, who didn’t applaud away fans at Chelsea and took a personal leave to Italy after the loss to Bayern. He’s still got a chance to stay ahead in the race, but the way Arsenal appear headed coupled with the clear disenchantment from Sanchez don’t bode well for him in the race.
Jet star: Alexis Sanchez has been pictured leaving Heathrow Airport earlier today (Mirror) pic.twitter.com/P6g0CFc9n2— AFCPressWatch (@AFCPressWatch2) February 16, 2017
3. Romelu Lukaku, Everton—16 Goals
Lukaku’s recent four-goal outburst against Bournemouth rocketed him up the list to second behind Sanchez, and his ability alone gives him a good chance at the Golden Boot.
He has an even better shot accuracy than Costa at 65%, has four headed goals and three with his weaker left foot. At just 23 years old, he is one of the brightest talents in all of football, and has more than enough potential to win the Golden Boot.
However, this year seems unlikely for Lukaku. He has never proven to be a consistent enough player to top this list, and that will again hamper him this season. It perhaps has something to do with a consistently mid-table Everton team holding him back, but even with better team performances, Lukaku likely won’t be able to keep pace with the top guys.
Most Premier League goals since January 2015 EXCLUDING PENALTIES:— Jake Sanders (@JakeSanders92) February 16, 2017
Edited by Jeremy Losak.
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