With the transfer window now firmly behind, and the clubs in the English Premier League having traded early blows, enough time has passed to identify and examine the early pacesetters who fill the frame as the prime candidates to top the goalscoring charts for the season.

Below we examines the 4 players currently leading the race for the Golden Boot award of the 2017/18 English Premier League season.


Romelu Lukaku

Perhaps too little was made of the signing of the Belgian striker from Everton. Romelu Lukaku hasn’t wasted much time in making a strong impression in the red shirt of Manchester United, and his goals have been a key feature in the impressive start that the Red Devils have managed to achieve. But is he Golden Ball material?

Golden Boot Betting

Why he’ll be the Top Scorer
Durable – at 24, Lukaku is in prime physical condition. He’s a picture of physical excellence, and his track record backs this, coming off back to back 36 game seasons with former club Everton. More games played equals more opportunities to score more than anyone else.
Flat track bully – Much has been made of overstating Man United’s form, given that all their opponents reside in the lower half of the EPL table, but it’s very seldom Golden Ball winners aren’t proficient at being able to score against all teams, both good and bad.
Focal attacking point – Man United are already tracking at nearly double the goals scored per game that they achieved last season, and while Lukaku is not the only reason for this, he is the focal endpoint of the creative work, meaning that he’s best placed to be the main beneficiary of the chances created by Mkhitaryan, Pogba, and so forth. Lukaku has scored in 5 of the 6 games played thus far, so he’s reaping the rewards of this already.
Versatile – With his physicality and great feet, Lukaku is capable of scoring varying types of penalty box goals. 2 of his goals have come from set pieces, meaning he’s also the likely beneficiary of chances even when creativity from open play is lacking.

Why he won’t
Mourinho teams don’t score goals – the popular narrative surrounding Mourinho is that he is a highly defensive minded coach, and while the goals have been largely generous thus far, the Portuguese coach may well revert to stereotype soon enough, which will affect the number of chances Lukaku will get to feed off to sustain his Golden Booth challenge.

Sergio Aguero

Manchester City’s superstar striker has already tasted the feel of the Golden Boot having won it for his 26 goal haul in 2014/15, and the Argentine will be keen to add a second one to his collection. With his team being most pundits’ favourites for the title as well, Aguero would likely hope he’d also break the duck where 4 years have passed since the top goalscorer in the EPL was a Premier League champion too (the last being Robin Van Persie in 2012/13).

Sergio Aguero goal

Why he’ll be the Top Scorer
Tactical – Man City’s transfer window left them spoilt for riches in the creative areas, with experienced wizards like David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne well supported by emerging superstars like Leroy Sane and Bernardo Silva. Add the improvement in attack-minded fullbacks like Walker, Danilo and Mendy and you’re left with a cocktail that should leave Aguero with a generous helping of chances to score from – as long as he can stay fit.
Man City’s style of play – Already Pep Guardiola’s team is playing true to his obsessions with game control and dominance, enjoying an average in excess of 60% possession in their matches thus far. Having most of the ball, and creating the most shots on target per match, is a strong argument for Aguero being the prime beneficiary in the scoring charts.

Why he won’t
Injuries – Aguero has been somewhat infamously affected by injuries, and it’s counted against both him and Manchester City in his career. If this cycle repeats itself in 2017/18, he may well lose out on the Golden Boot race simply because of his inability to give himself a similar number of matches to finish ahead of his scoring rivals.

Alvaro Morata

Replacing Diego Costa’s temper may not be difficult, but his goals are another concern. The Spaniard Morata, fresh off stints with giants Real Madrid and Juventus, is a capable link player and goalscorer, but he may need to develop a more ruthless streak to properly compete for the Golden Boot in 2017/18.

Alvaro Morata

Why he’ll be the Top Scorer
Focal attacking point – Chelsea do have a number of players who can share the goalscoring load, but Conte doesn’t appear to be diverting too much from his title-winning template from a goalscoring perspective. Morata has been signed to replace Diego Costa, and early signs are clear that tactically, he’ll be expected to provide the goals that responsibility implies.
Point to prove – Morata hasn’t played a major lead role in any of his league campaigns so far, and this has shown in his appearance numbers. But the Spaniard may well be on the cusp of breaking out of his cocoon; his 15 goals in 16 games for Real Madrid last season were a testament to the striker’s technique and direct minded style. If he grows from there, it would be difficult to expect anything less than a 20 goal season from him.

Why he won’t
Lack of profligacy and inexperience – Morata has only managed to get 10 goals or more in one season in his career, with Real Madrid last season. It may be a considerable ask for the young striker to get the sheer mass of goals needed to keep up with a Golden Boot challenge. Morata may well likely need a season at the least to get used to the scoring demands upon him, not to mention the physicality required to play more league games than he’s been accustomed to in his years thus far.

Harry Kane

Fresh off two consecutive Golden Boot awards, Kane may well be more preoccupied with winning a title than a hat-trick of scoring trophies, but the two objectives are not mutually exclusive. Spurs still have their core identity intact after a good transfer window of boosting the squad’s depth and quality in certain areas. Kane will again be expected to bring the lion’s share of the goals while the defence remains solid and reliable.

EPL Golden Boot

Why he’ll be the Top Scorer
He’s done it twice already – Kane has already achieved 3 consecutive 20 league goal seasons, and entered an elite club with the likes of Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry and Ruud Van Nistelrooy as the only players to have done so in the EPL. The goals may not have won Spurs a title yet, but they gave pause to Leicester City and Chelsea en route, and won the English striker Golden Boot recognition in 2015/16 and 2016/17 for his scoring efforts.
Focal attacking point – Spurs do have a number of players who can share the goalscoring load, but Kane is the key cog in the wheel. His capacity to blitz opponents is also well evidenced by his previous hat-tricks against Leicester, Stoke and Hull.
Stronger to the finish – Kane may have less goals thus far in 2017/18 than his rivals for the honour, but last season’s Golden Boot came off the back of a 21 goal haul from January 2017 after a sluggish 8 goals by the end of December in 2016. This was also linked to Spurs’ elimination from the Champions League and some decisive oration from coach Mauricio Pochettino. Spurs haven’t changed their core identity, so they’re fundamentally well positioned once again to be difficult to beat, and more illustrious in attack as they become more entrenched in the latter parts of the season.

Why he won’t
Chance creation and conversion – While his teammates are considerably talented, there’s no question that Spurs aren’t as flush of attacking, creative players as Man City. Kane may well suffer the challenge of not receiving enough quality chances to score compared to his competition for the Golden Boot, and that may be the decisive issue in topping the charts. Spurs have had a lot of chances created already, but it’s the quality that is the telling statistic, and this is mirrored by Kane’s current lower than average conversion rate. But that may yet prove to be a temporary situation.