With the new football season now fully upon us, in addition to the intrigue of the title race, the winners of the various cup competitions and the fight to avoid relegation, the prowess of the best finishers always captures the imagination of fans and pundits alike. This season’s Golden Boot race, like in previous years, is full of candidates to delight as they attempt to outscore each other in recognition of the honour of being the English Premier League’s top scorer. Below, we preview the favourites for the Golden Boot of 2018/19.
The History: Facts from the last 10 seasons
- Harry Kane has won the EPL Golden Boot in 2 of the last 3 seasons.
- Kane is the only English player to win the Golden Boot on any occasion in the last 18 years, with Kevin Phillips of Sunderland being the last Englishman before him to manage the feat.
- Non English players have won 16 of the last 18 Golden Boot awards.
- Thierry Henry has won the most Golden Boot awards since the start of the Premier League (4), followed by Alan Shearer (3).
- Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool players share the most Golden Boot awards at present, each having won 5 awards since the start of the Premier League.
- The last EPL Golden Boot winner to win the league title in the same season was Robin Van Persie, after scoring 26 league goals for Manchester United in 2012/13.
- On only 9 occasions has the EPL Golden Boot winner also won the league title in the same season since the start of the Premier League.
- The current streak of 5 years for Golden Boot winners to fail in winning the title is the longest streak of this kind since the start of the Premier League.
EPL Top Goalscorer Predictions
Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur
|Where he finished in scoring last season||2nd|
|League goals last season||30|
|Number of Top Goalscorer Awards||2|
Why he’s a great pick: Kane’s scoring record is immensely impressive, with nearly 150 goals in his 200-odd appearances in total. He’s the only forward on this list to feature in the top 2 scorers in the last 4 seasons, winning two Golden Boot awards. He’s proficient at scoring all kinds of goals (including being the appointed penalty taker) and playing in a team widely expected to reach the top 4. His recent fitness record is impeccable as well, having missing just 4 games last season due to injury.
Why he isn’t: Kane’s supporting cast around him wasn’t strengthened meaningfully in the transfer window, so he’ll be reliant on Spurs repeating their brilliance from last term. Spurs also have more football to play with their upcoming Champions League, affecting fatigue of their key players (especially Kane).
Our Prediction: Kane’s the favourite for the EPL top goalscorer, and deservedly so, with a consistent record and little outside interferences to prevent his chances of playing and scoring often. As such, it’s hard to look past him as the winner of the Golden Boot award for this season.
Sergio Aguero, Manchester City
|Where he finished in scoring last season||3rd|
|League goals last season||21|
|Number of Top Goalscorer Awards||1|
Why he’s a great pick: Since arriving in the EPL, Aguero has never failed to rank in the top five of league goalscorers in each of his seasons. With over 200 goals in just under 300 appearances, his scoring output is very hard to match. He’s another versatile finisher, and playing in a team widely expected to repeat their title success, surrounded by a feast of talent alongside him to give him many opportunities to score.
Why he isn’t: Aguero will be at the mercy of his fitness and Pep Guardiola’s rotation. The Argentine has had mixed luck with injuries, missing 11 games last season due to injury. Manchester City also have a wealth of scoring riches at their disposal, reducing their reliance on Aguero.
Our Prediction: The Golden Boot winner hasn’t won the league title in the past 5 seasons; assuming Aguero’s side repeats their title feat, it will likely be underpinned by him experiencing absences of injury and rotation, falling short of the top goalscorerer title.
Mohamed Salah, Liverpool
|Where he finished in scoring last season||1st|
|League goals last season||32|
|Number of Top Goalscorer Awards||1|
Why he’s a great pick: Liverpool are highly anticipated to score well again this season, with the Egyptian’s vicious left foot again a key feature of this. With a superb supporting cast to support him with chances, and a potential title challenge on the horizon, Salah should get more than enough opportunities to repeat his Golden Boot winning heroics from last season.
Why he isn’t: Salah scored a third of his career goals in one highly prolific season, sustaining a higher than average load of minutes played. 2018/19 will likely need to prove how much of those conditions will prove to be the rule rather than the exception. He’ll get no help from penalties either, with teammate Milner the appointed penalty taker.
Our Prediction: Salah will have another prolific season, but with defences wiser to him, he’ll be hard pressed to score anywhere close to last season’s rate. Expected to miss out on the Golden Boot of being the EPL top goalscorer, and maybe even second to Sadio Mane in goals for his own team, too.
Romelu Lukaku, Manchester United
|Where he finished in scoring last season||6th|
|League goals last season||16|
Why he’s a great pick: Since his first season in 2012/13, Lukaku has only failed once (2014/15) to make the top 10 list of top scorers. His fitness record is excellent, and the Belgian has a well-balanced scoring record involving goals of various types.
Why he isn’t: Lukaku isn’t surrounded by as many creative players as he may like, and that’s without the generally cynical, negative tactics of Jose Mourinho hurting the team’s verticality and chance creation.
Our Prediction: Lukaku will likely finish with his best league scoring performance of his career, likely under a new manager come season end (Mourinho would have likely moved on as well). But other scoring competitors are in far better positions to reach the summit of the scoring chart. An outside chance of claiming the EPL top goalscorer.
Wildcard Prediction for Top Goal Scorer
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal
|Where he finished in scoring last season||19th|
|League goals last season||10|
Why he’s a great pick: The experienced forward from Gabon managed to accumulate 10 league goals in a mere 13 games last season. His injury record is highly favourable too.
Why he isn’t: Arsenal are in massive transition and while the lanky forward will score goals, it remains to be seen if Unai Emery’s reign as Arsenal boss will get the right levels of output across the squad.
Our Prediction: Aubameyang’s talent is obvious but Arsenal’s prospects are not. With other players to share the scoring load with as well, the Gabon forward will likely find himself falling short of the number to lead the Golden Boot pack. A real wildcard for the EPL top goalscorer title.
Sadio Mane, Liverpool
|Where he finished in scoring last season||18th|
|League goals last season||10|
Why he’s a great pick: In addition to having started the season in tremendous form, the Senegalese forward won’t be the main focus of defenders, who are more likely to concern themselves with last season’s Mohamed Salah when facing Liverpool. Mane is another key cog in the Liverpool attacking trio who are widely expected to drive the club’s challenge for honours this season. He’s also guilty of an impressive injury record.
Why he isn’t: Mane hasn’t yet broken the 20 goal mark in any league campaign, and its highly likely he’d need to do so to get anywhere near the Golden Boot. No penalties or direct free kicks to boost his scoring numbers, either. It’s yet to be seen if he can play as many minutes as he did for a consecutive season without fatigue setting in.
Our Prediction: Mane has started well, and may even sustain the form to top the scoring charts amongst his peers at Liverpool, but he’s still not the focal point of the Liverpool attack. 20+ league goals is reasonable, but he’s unlikely to get enough to earn the Golden Boot of being the EPL top goalscorer.
Roberto Firmino, Liverpool
|Where he finished in scoring last season||7th|
|League goals last season||15|
Why he’s a great pick: As the central striker through whom most attacks are channeled, it is Firmino who often plays off, or towards Salah or Mane, and his “Raumdeuter” style of play will suit scoring goals in many different situations. He’s also something of an iron man, having missed only a handful of games through injury.
Why he isn’t: Like Mane, Firmino has yet to deliver a 20+ prolific season in league goals, and he’s yet to get off the mark. The Brazilian won’t be taking penalties, and with Daniel Sturridge seemingly favoured to stay in reserve, Firmino will likely be sharing far more of his minutes.
Our Prediction: Firmino has the benefit of being a key channel in Liverpool’s build up play, but it’s likely to serve others, rather than himself. A similar season to the last beckons in scoring terms, with an outside change of being the EPL top goalscorer.
Eden Hazard, Chelsea
|Where he finished in scoring last season||12th|
|League goals last season||12|
Why he’s a great pick: Even though Morata is the principal recognized goal threat at Chelsea, Hazard is likely to benefit from Sarri’s use of the Belgian in his preferred slot as left forward. Hazard can expect healthy chemistry from the attacking support around him, and he is due a massively improved goalscoring return. He’ll take most of the spot kicks, which will help.
Why he isn’t: Hazard has only once managed a 20 league goal season, back in Lyon; it’s unlikely he will get enough opportunities to score the Golden Boot load himself. He is a massive long shot for the EPL top goalscorer title.
Our Prediction: Hazard may score enough to lead the charts for his club, but the forward will probably lack the volume of scoring chances to top the league in this respect.