Goals, Goals, Goals! They’re pretty marvellous, aren’t they?
The lifeblood of football. The moments capable of shaking a stadium to its very foundations, and emptying them in the blink of an eye. Also, they’re the only thing standing in the way of Arsenal winning the league on alphabetical order every season, which I think we can all agree is sobering thought indeed.
Well, the Premier League never disappoints when it comes to goals, with last season’s Golden Boot winner Mohamed Salah smashing home 32 of them – the biggest haul since Alan Shearer’s tally of 34 in 1994/95.
This year’s competition will be no different, and will see the likes of Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku, and Salah battle it out again for the top scorer award. But, just maybe, this year there could be a new name destined for the Boot, a dark horse ready to gallop their way into the record books.
If you’re in need of a laugh, I gave this a crack last season, and my predictions were, in all honesty, spectacularly off the mark, with my seven nominated scorers racking up a combined total of 46 goals. That’s an average of about six each. Oh boy.
Anyway, in the spirit of ‘if at first you don’t succeed…’ and all that, here’s seven alternative candidates for the 2018/19 English Premier League Golden Boot…
7. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Arsenal
Arsenal have had a long, long wait for a Golden Boot winner, with club legend Thierry Henry scooping the award – his third on the bounce! – in the 2005/06 season.
In Aubameyang, Arsenal have a reliable, proven, Gabonese goal machine, who has the potential to cause utter havoc in Premier League penalty boxes this season.
Having topped the Bundesliga scoring charts on three occasions with Borussia Dortmund, Aubs knows exactly what it takes to finish top of the pile.
Likelihood Rating: 8/10: As likely as that expensive, motorised fan you impulsively bought for the summer heatwave not seeing action again for another decade.
6. Álvaro Morata – Chelsea
Let’s be honest, at times last season Álvaro Morata looked as out of depth in the Premier League as a toddler cruelly swept into a swimming pool wave machine – buffeted relentlessly by the towering deluge of Burnley’s unforgiving backline.
Well, Chelsea’s record signing appears to be staying at Stamford Bridge, and is talking a very big game ahead of the upcoming season, claiming he’s ready to bounce back in style under his new boss Mauricio Sarri.
The ex-Napoli manager favours a style of attacking, luxury football, and this could present Morata with a host of scoring opportunities.
Likelihood Rating: 7/10: As likely as Ruben Loftus-Cheek spending the next three seasons out on loan before being flogged to Newcastle United for £7m.
5. Leroy Sané – Manchester City
Oh to be a fly on the wall in Chez Sané as Germany unceremoniously crashed out of the World Cup in the group stages, after unforgivably leaving the Man City man out of their squad.
Sané will surely return to Premier League action with a fire in his belly, ready to prove his doubters wrong.
Salah broke the mould last season, in becoming the first ever non-striker to win the award. Sané is a composed finisher, and could well buck the trend again, as he looks to jostle with the lead contenders this season.
Likelihood Rating: 6/10: As likely as Oasis reforming for Glastonbury next summer.
4. Jamie Vardy – Leicester City
You just don’t get footballers like Jamie Vardy anymore. Presumably fuelled on some kind of luminous energy drink and chicken nugget smoothie, the Foxes frontman is a ferocious force on the field.
The England international is always up there on the goalscoring charts at the end of the season, and the 31-year-old has more than enough in the locker to challenge the top names in this campaign.
Likelihood Rating: 5/10: As likely as Jason Statham winning an Oscar for portraying Jamie Vardy in a Hollywood blockbuster.
3. Wilfried Zaha – Crystal Palace
Before his injury troubles last season, Wilfried Zaha looked absolutely unstoppable, showcasing the kind of brazen forward play that made defenders simply collapse into a bewildered pile of the pitch.
There’s also whispers that the Ivory Coast international could be set for a move to a bigger team, and with more top quality players around him, who knows how many goals the 25-year-old could muster?
Likelihood Rating: 4/10 – As likely as you are to reliably differentiate between an Edison Screw and Bayonet Cap lightbulb when put on the spot at a dinner party. It happens.
2. Richarlison – Everton
Watford presumably laughed all the way to the bank when Everton laid down a mighty £50m for Richarlison – the Brazilian youngster who arrived at Vicarage Road for just £11m the previous season.
But could these celebrations be premature? Yes, Richarlison performed a disappearance act to rival Harry Houdini’s finest work after initially bursting onto the Premier League scene last season, but the Toffees just might be able to get the 21-year-old firing on all cylinders on a regular basis again.
Likelihood Rating: 3/10 – As likely as you are to genuinely play just the ‘one more game’ of ‘Football Manager’ you intended to before bed
1. Yoshinoro Mutō – Newcastle United
Pop the name of Newcastle United’s new signing into your favourite search engine. Go on, treat yourself.
Bizarrely, the top result for ‘Muto’ is ” ‘Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism’ refers to a species of giant monsters that appeared as the main antagonists in Godzilla.”
Based on this truly excellent finding alone, Mutō is surely deserving of a punt for the Golden Boot, and will be looking to replicate his impressive form with Bundesliga side Mainz for the Magpies this season.
Likelihood Rating: 2/10 – As likely as you correctly estimating the right amount of dried pasta to make one sensible sized serving.