The Premier League trophy will be heading to Manchester at the end of the season but some of the other major issues are not so black and white. Betting on the winner of the Golden Boot is open with five players quoted at single figure odds. The team to finish bottom is also a lively heat and even though Crystal Palace are the clear favourites in theory there are six sides that could end the season at the foot of the table. That list includes Brighton and Huddersfield who were promoted last season.
City and United are head and shoulders above the rest and have the strongest squads. They have international players who can come off the bench and strikers who will score 25 goals this season barring injuries. City have made the marginally better start and have an edge in attacking areas and they are odds-on to win the league which is a short price at this stage of the season.
Both Manchester clubs share the goals around but Sergio Aguero and Romelu Lukaku are key players up front. The combined odds for either to be the PL top scorer is about Evens and there is more than a 50/50 chance that one of them will top the scoring charts. Aguero is more about guile and darting runs while Lukaku has a huge physical presence and bosses defenders with his strength. Both players would be worthy winners of the Golden Boot.
The fly in the ointment of that scenario is Harry Kane who has been the leading marksman in the Premier League for the last two seasons. We know now he never scores in August but finds the net regularly from September and for the rest of the season. His tallies over the last two years have been 25 and 29 goals but Aguero or Lukaku could notch 30 times this year.
In the five seasons before Kane was the top scorer the honour was won by a player from overseas. The smallest number of goals required to win the Golden Belt in that spell is 20 and Luis Suarez s scored 31 goals ago to top the goals chart five year ago. Over the past five seasons the average winning total is 26. Aguero is City’s regular penalty taker while Lukaku scored one goal from a penalty spot for Everton last term.
Only Alan Shearer and Thierry Henry have won three successive Golden Boots and Kane could become the third. He scored his 29 goals in 30 appearances last season and when he plays he takes the penalties. Kane has a great scoring record at White Hart Lane but he may not be so prolific at Wembley where Spurs are playing temporarily while their old ground is being modernized. Kane scored 7 goals in the final two matches last time but Leicester and Hull were tailor made for a scoring spree.
Lukaku scored 25 league goals for Everton last season and only missed out because Kane went mad in those final two fixtures. He has already missed a penalty this season and might not have the benefit of those cheap goals from the spot. Lukaku could put have his nose out of joint if and when Zlatan Ibrahimovic returns to United again. Aguero is a fabulous scorer who can win the Golden Boot again.
Crystal Palace are doing their level best to put some distance between themselves and the other sides loitering near the bottom of the table. Losing the first six League matches without scoring is a record and the appointment of Roy Hodgson is not the answer. The former England manager is not the most animated or inspirational and even at this stage Palace look like a team in trouble. Hodgson can take them down and continue his influence at the higher end of the game for all the wrong reasons.