With the Premier League season now well under way, the early patterns are starting to emerge. But it is not just which teams will struggle or flourish, it is also which players. Many of the league’s most reputed goal scorers have already begun their quest for the accolade of top marksman; but who will top the final table? Here are my favourites and their chances.
7. Daniel Sturridge
Arguably England’s in form striker, Sturridge looks set to embark on his most impressive campaign yet. At Liverpool there is finally the faith that he has craved so greatly, and is finally tearing up that unfulfilled potential tag that pundits prematurely placed upon him. His downfall however, can come from two fronts. Firstly, there is injury, as Sturridge has battled his fragile hamstrings throughout his career, and often loses. Then there is Luis Suarez.
Sturridge makes no secret of his desire to play in a central role, and it remains to be seen whether he will stay there once the Uruguayan returns from another one of his numerous suspensions. Two obstacles that will frankly prove too great to break into the top 5.
6. Christian Benteke
The towering Belgian enjoyed a remarkable debut campaign last year, and has took no time in continuing that form this time round. Even at relegation threatened Aston Villa, Benteke was able to rack up an impressive 19 goals last season, displaying a class that transcends the ‘second season syndrome’ that so many strikers fall victim to.
Villa look better this year also, and if they are to succeed in their aim of ascending up the table, it will be the goals of Benteke that will be responsible. At a better side, he could easily make the top 3.
5. Alvaro Negredo
Appears to be Manuel Pellegrini’s number one choice for that central role, and is completely surrounded by unbelievably talented creative midfielders and even strikers that will set up the odd goal for him. Good in the air, great positioning and plays for a team that loves to rack the goals against lower opposition, even if Manchester City’s goal tally last year was surprisingly the lowest of the top four.
His problem however is that of all the players mentioned, Negredo will most likely spend the most time of the bench, as there are simply too many top class strikers at City to guarantee he will remain the preference.
4. Olivier Giroud
It has always been my opinion that a striker performs best without competition behind him. Almost certainly by chance and fortune on his part, Giroud will have that luxury this year, plus with the creative genius that is Mesut Ozil behind chances will hardly be in short supply.
Last year was difficult for him, both on and off the pitch, but the striker looks and claims to be more settled in England this term. A surprising choice some may find, but with a promising start already and arguably now one of Arsenal’s first names on the team sheet, he’ll be up there come May.
3. Luis Suarez
Of all the players on this list, Luis Suarez is probably the most complete footballer. Last season may have been a year shrouded in controversy for him, like every year in all honesty, but it was also by far his greatest in regards to performance. He is seemingly approaching in his prime and will most likely enjoy another year towards the top end of the scoring charts.
To succeed again though, he must learn to reign in the behaviour that constantly restrains him. The suspensions are getting bigger, and there are some cobwebs to shake away following the latest, while there is his club’s relationship to repair also. If it wasn’t for this, he’d be number 1.
2. Roberto Soldado
There is unquestionable optimism around White Hart Lane at the moment. The wounds left by the departure of Gareth Bale were remedied before they were even confirmed by the arrival of countless top class players, and Soldado is the pick of the bunch.
The creativity behind will aid him heavily in his pursuit of goals and is unlikely to be rotated as he is a different class to the forwards behind him. He has already established himself as his side’s penalty taker also, which gives him a considerable advantage over many of his rivals.
1. Robin van Persie
An obvious, but unavoidable choice. Regardless of the murmurings, Manchester United will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season, they always are, and it will be this man that leads them there.
The team behind him may not have been considerably strengthened, but they have not been weakened either, and are essentially the same side that led him to 26 league goals last season. Can score from anywhere even on an off day, it’s hard to see why the Dutchman won’t make it 3 years running.
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