Sergio Aguero’s five-goal haul at home to Newcastle not only was a ‘make or break moment’ in Fantasy Football leagues up and down the country, it also moved the Manchester City striker odds on at to win this year’s Golden Boot.
The Argentinian striker is favourite to retain his trophy, and there’s very few reasons to oppose him. He’s got six goals already this season, with a conversion rate of 18.18 per cent, and an average of a goal every 91 minutes. If he can manage more than 2,500 minutes like last year, and continue somewhere near that average, it’ll be another 26 or 27 goal haul for Aguero – enough to win the Golden Boot in three of the last five years.
Many punters’ only reservation around Aguero would be how many games he might miss with persistent injury niggles that have plagued his Manchester City career. Fortunately a trip to an Italian doctor appears to have eased those fears, and a diet with no sugar, pasta or meat means that Aguero is confident there’ll be no more twinges.
So where is the value if we’re looking for a top scorer punt. Odds of on Aguero may be a done deal, but they can’t give us much bang for our £20 stake. Luckily, recent years show that players can come off the pace in the race for the Golden Boot:
- In 2012 Gareth Bale had scored just two goals at this stage of the season. He was tied for 23rd in the race for top scorer, four goals off the pace set by Demba Ba, and three away from Steven Fletcher, Luis Suarez, Robin van Persie and Michu on five. Bale ended up bagging 21 goals and finishing third, before swapping London for Madrid.
- In 2013 Luis Suarez had only played two games by this stage courtesy of his biting ban, and he had three goals to his name. That left him tied for ninth, three goals behind team-mate Daniel Sturridge and two behind Newcastle’s Loic Remy. Suarez would end up notching 31 goals for the season – the highest tally since Cristiano Ronaldo in 2007/08.
- And finally last year Harry Kane had failed to get his name on the scoresheet at this point of the season, while Diego Costa streaked away with nine goals to his name. Chelsea’s chief bastard ended up finishing third in the top scorer race, as Kane banged in 21 goals to finish second.
So there is a trend to believe that a player can come out of the pack and nab a top three spot – particularly a player of the calibre of Bale, Suarez or Kane. Luckily there are two players at reasonable prices that are tempting us in.
Anthony Martial, Manchester United –
The £36m teenager arrived at Old Trafford with a weight of expectation on his shoulders – not helped by his new manager Louis van Gaal branding the transfer fee ridiculous. But the pressure doesn’t seem to have affected the French striker who has already scored three goals in just five league games. Wayne Rooney has three league goals since March 4.
Martial’s electric pace and eye for goal has immediately made him a fan favourite at the Theatre of Dreams, and he picked up the PFA Fan’s Player of the Month for September. He’s averaging a goal every 98 minutes, only marginally behind Aguero’s current average, and with Rooney woefully out of form Martial is likely to be carrying most of the burden for Manchester United.
Martial’s three goals have come from just six attempts this year and although it’s extremely unlikely that his conversion rate will remain at those lofty heights, Martial has done enough to suggest he could rack up close to 20 goals and that would put him in with a sniff of a top three place.
Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool –
If Liverpool can somehow find a way of keeping Daniel Sturridge fit and firing, then this 25/1 poke might be worth an interest. Sturridge has managed just 243 minutes of football this term but has knocked in two goals as he returns to full fitness. In the 2013/14 season dancing Danny managed a haul of 21 to finish second in the scoring charts behind Luis Suarez, and a similar return this year will see him in the each-way money.
His Liverpool record – 37 goals in 58 games – speaks for itself, and with Brendan Rodgers booted in to the nearest job office, Daniel Sturridge could be afforded a new lease of life under a new regime. A regime at this stage looking ever more likely to be managed by Jurgen Klopp, a man who took Borussia Dortmund to two league titles and a Champions League Final.
The main concerns around backing Sturridge, and the reason why his odds are not shorter, fall on his injury record. Since August 2014 he’s managed just 15 league appearances for Liverpool out of a possible 46 – missing 69 per cent of last year’s campaign. Despite legs made of matchsticks Sturridge is well worth a punt however, as if he can manage even just 21 of the remaining 30 games, his goal record since arriving at Anfield suggests he could be creeping up towards the 20 mark.