The Golden Boot Race - Arsenal Forward Primed To Beat Liverpool, Manchester City And Tottenham Stars To Top Goalscorer Award
The race for the Golden Boot is hotting up as just four goals separate the leading six contenders for the Premier League top goalscorer award. While the main focus is obviously silverware with their teams, make no mistake, this award matters to the top forwards in England.
It was almost twelve months ago that we had the unedifying sight of Harry Kane saying, "I swear on my daughter's life I touched it", as he claimed a goal in a game against Stoke that would enhance his claims for the Golden Boot award. In the end it was Mo Salah who walked away with the trophy. Both men are right in the mix again this season.
We take a look at the scoring records of this season's top-six goalscorers and reveal their goalscoring record in games against their team's remaining opponents...
Sergio Aguero - 19 goals (105 minutes per goal)
The Manchester City striker is on course to break the 20-goal barrier in the Premier League for a fifth straight season and yet he has only won the Golden Boot award once, in 2014/15. The Argentine has scored the most goals in the division and boasts the best minutes-per-goal ratio of the top scorers, while his record in City's remaining fixtures is hugely impressive.
City come up against Cardiff, Crystal Palace, Tottenham, Manchester United, Burnley, Leicester and Brighton before the season is out, and Aguero has scored 32 goals in 41 previous league appearances against those opponents. The only worry will be Aguero's propensity to pick up injuries and City manager Pep Guardiola might be tempted to rest his star forward as he bids to juggle his squad in their quest for a 'quadruple'.
Record v Remaining Opponents: 32 goals in 41 games (Strike Rate: 0.78)
Mo Salah - 17 goals (156 minutes per goal)
Last season's Golden Boot winner hasn't hit the ridiculous heights he reached last year but then that was always going to be a big ask. The Liverpool forward has still weighed in with 17 goals, despite scoring only once in his last eight league games, and he can take heart from his record in Liverpool's remaining games against Tottenham, Southampton, Chelsea, Cardiff, Huddersfield, Newcastle and Wolves.
Record v Remaining Opponents: 14 goals in 20 games (Strike Rate: 0.7)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - 17 goals (130 minutes per goal)
Five Arsenal strikers have won the Golden Boot previously and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is an interesting contender. The 29-year-old, who moved to The Emirates from Borussia Dortmund last year, has been in superb form this season and it bodes well that Arsenal appear to have a relatively easy set of fixtures to play.
The Gunners take on Newcastle, Everton, Watford, Crystal Palace, Wolves, Leicester, Brighton and Burnley between now and the end of the season, and Aubameyang has tended to be a flat-track bully, scoring goals against the lesser lights in the division but struggling against fellow 'Big Six' teams.
Record v Remaining Opponents: 13 goals in 14 games (Strike-Rate: 0.92)
Harry Kane - 17 goals (132 minutes per goal)
Harry Kane, a two-time winner of the Golden Boot following his successes in 2016 and 2017, will surely be right in the mix for the top goalscorer gong again. His strike-rate against Tottenham's remaining opponents is worse than Aguero, Salah and Aubameyang's though.
Record v Remaining Opponents: 39 goals in 58 games (Strike-Rate: 0.67)
Sadio Mane - 17 goals (144 minutes per goal)
Sadio Mane was in sensational form for the international break as the Liverpool forward banged in nine goals in nine league outings. His record against the Reds' final seven opponents leaves plenty to be desired though.
Record v Remaining Opponents: 8 goals in 29 games (Strike-Rate: 0.27)
Raheem Sterling - 15 goals (149 minutes per goal)
Raheem Sterling has been in sensational form this season, scoring 15 goals, and he is a leading contender for the PFA Player of the Year award. The Manchester City star doesn't have a great record against his club's remaining opponents and he is still yet to score a league goal in 13 previous appearances against Manchester United.
Record v Remaining Opponents: 12 goals in 53 games (Strike-Rate: 0.22)