The race for the Premier League Golden Boot was shaping up to go down to the wire this season.
Prior to the suspension of all matches from late March, Jamie Vardy led the way with 19 goals for Leicester City.
The Foxes man was never likely to go on to claim the prize unchallenged, though, with no less than six other strikers being within five goals of catching him.
Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was Vardy’s closest rival on 17 goals, followed by Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah with 16 apiece.
It would’ve been fascinating to see which hitman clinched the accolade come May, but due to the ongoing uncertainty of when the Premier League will resume, we may never find out.
The Golden Boot award provides a reliable indication of the best striker in the top-flight at the time, so without it, the answer needs to be reached another way.
That said, the modern forward is no longer defined by his goal output alone. There’s now a myriad of factors that influence the perceived quality such players, and one fan has attempted to categorise every attacker from the Premier League big six, from ‘useless’ to ‘god tier’.
Let’s begin those deemed to be at the low end of the scale…
With just six league goals between them for Tottenham this season, Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura slot into this bracket alongside the athletic but unrefined Manchester United talent Daniel James.
Pedro has been showing his age at Chelsea of late, though the inclusions of Raheem Sterling, Alexandre Lacazette and Anthony Martial are far more debatable.
Willian and Olivier Giroud are invaluably experienced figures in Frank Lampard’s young squad, but neither has proven themselves worthy of a regular place in his starting line-up.
Similarly, Mason Greenwood and Callum Hudson-Odoi are still earning the trust of their respective managers despite both showing promise in their breakthrough top-flight campaigns.
Although Christian Pulisic, Tammy Abraham, Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka have all enjoyed good spells of form this season, there’s a sense they’ve not yet come into their own.
Divock Origi is undeniably an effective wildcard for Jurgen Klopp, and Xherdan Shaqiri sneaks into this group having made only seven competitive appearances for Liverpool this season.
A knee injury suffered last August hasn’t changed the fact Leroy Sane is still one of the best wide players in Europe, while Riyad Mahrez has enhanced his reputation in the German’s absence.
Gabriel Jesus was on track to record his most prolific season to date for Manchester City, whereas Marcus Rashford had already done so for the Red Devils this term.
After a sluggish start at Arsenal, Nicolas Pepe has emerged as an important player and become one of the most dangerous dribblers in the Premier League.
Sadio Mane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are deservedly near the top end of this list based on their numbers alone, with 36 goals between them in all competitions this season.
Son Heung-min has largely filled the void left by Spurs talisman Harry Kane for large periods of this season, so it seems fair to put both in the bracket.
Roberto Firmino is an interesting nomination given his often-criticised lack of goals, though as we know, what he offers in terms of work-rate and teamwork is lauded by some and disregarded by others.
Unsurprisingly, Mohamed Salah and Sergio Aguero get their own classification. Both players would slot into any team in the world, such is their ability to find the net as well as influence build-up play with unrivalled consistency.
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