Another fantastic season of Premier League is reaching its end. Manchester City and Liverpool are going toe-to-toe for the title while Tottenham could still miss out on a top-four spot to Arsenal on the final day. Meanwhile, on the individual awards front, there are multiple contenders for the Golden Boot.
Awarded to the player who has scored the most goals in the season, there are several famous names and records associated with it. Tottenham’s Teddy Sheringham was the first player to win it in 1993. Newcastle’s Andy Cole and Blackburn Rovers’ Alan Shearer have scored the most goals(34). However, it was when a season in the PL constituted of 42 games.
In the current 38-game format, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah holds the record with 32 goals which he scored in the 2017/18 season. Arsenal’s Thierry Henry is the only player to win it four times and also is the only one to win it three times in a row (2004-2006).
Alan Shearer has won the Golden Boot thrice while Michael Owen, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Didier Drogba, Robin van Persie, and Harry Kane have picked up the award twice.
Coming to this season, Mohamed Salah is once again leading the race with 22 goals. If the Egyptian wins, he could join the list mentioned above of players to have won it twice. Liverpool play high-flying Wolves at home in the final game of the season and Salah will be looking to wrap up the Golden Boot while giving his team a chance of winning the title if Manchester City do slip up.
Unless the Reds no.Eleven scores a hat-trick, the goal tally to win the Golden Boot will be lower than any season since 2010/11 when Dimitar Berbatov and Carlos Tevez shared the award with 20 goals each. Incidentally, that is also the last time the prized possession was awarded to two players.
Close on Salah’s heels are his team-mate Sadio Mane, Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, and Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. All of them are on 20 goals and have a good chance of beating Salah to the Golden Boot. Leicester’s Jamie Vardy is further behind on 18 goals and would require a Herculean effort against Chelsea coupled with the ones ahead of him blanking to stand a chance.
Mane plays Wolves as well while Aguero travels to Brighton with City needing a win to clinch the title. The Argentine will have to score a minimum of 2 goals and hope Salah blanks to have a chance of winning the trophy. It is a similar story for Aubameyang who plays Burnley at Turf Moor.
One advantage for Aguero and Aubameyang over Mane is they are the designated penalty-takers in their respective sides. James Milner is the first-choice at Liverpool, and in his absence, Salah is next in line making it difficult for the Liverpool no.10.
Thus, Mane has the toughest odds among the quartet. However, Liverpool are playing at home compared to City and Arsenal, giving Mane as well as Salah an extra edge compared to their competition.
While Salah will be looking to match the performance of his competitors, there is also a chance that multiple players could share the award. If one or two of them or all four end up on the same number of goals, then the quartet will be declared as Golden Boot winners.
Now, this is not a common occurrence and has taken place just thrice in the PL. Apart from Tevez and Berbatov in 2011, it happened in 1998 as well as 1999. Chris Sutton, Dion Dublin, and Michael Owen shared the award in 1998 while Dwight Yorke and Hasselbaink joined Owen in 1999. Incidentally, only 18 goals were scored by all of those players in those two years.
Thus, Salah holds the cards, but there are a lot of possible permutations in the final game week as the race for the PL Golden Boot goes down to the wire.