Most of the major new signings in the English Premier League during the summer transfer window were skilled midfielders with no real big-name forwards changing teams. This means the usual suspects once again head up this year’s list of top golden boot candidates. These are basically players who have demonstrated they can score consistently at the top club level and haven’t shown any signs of slowing down.
To contend for the league lead in scoring, they’re going to have to remain healthy and also receive the required playing time needed from their managers. We’ve ranked these players on the likelihood of taking home the golden boot at the end of the 2018-19 Premier League campaign, based on their past performances, their playing time, and quality of the club they play for. They’ve also had their chances increased if they’re the main penalty takers of their teams.
Honorable mention should go to Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool, as he’s one of the best scorers in the league when healthy. But with Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah ahead of the 28-year-old Englishman in the pecking order, it’s doubtful he’ll get the playing time needed to lead the league.
12. Olivier Giroud – Chelsea
French international striker Olivier Giroud has proven he’s an accomplished scorer and one of the best headers of the ball around. But for some reason, he doesn’t get the playing time he deserves at club level. This was the case at Arsenal more often than not, and that trend continued when the 31-year-old transferred to Chelsea last January. Giroud scored 105 goals for the Gunners in 253 games and added five in 18 outings at Chelsea last year, mainly as a substitute. With Mauricio Sarri taking over as Blues manager, perhaps Giroud will get the playing time he deserves. Striker Alvaro Morata was a disappointment with Chelsea last year with 15 goals in 48 games and Eden Hazard is more of a playmaker than a natural scorer. Giroud could see more action this season.
11. Alexis Sanchez – Manchester United
Alexis Sanchez didn’t look very impressive after transferring to Manchester United from Arsenal last January. The 29-year-old Chilean international forward chipped in with just two league goals in a dozen matches and one of those came on the rebound of a penalty kick. Sanchez can deposit the ball in the back of the net on a consistent basis when he puts his mind to it, as evidenced by his 24 strikes in 38 league games in 2016-17. He then slipped to just nine in 31 combined outings with Arsenal and United last season. Sanchez will be a bit of a long shot to lead the league in scoring this campaign since Jose Mourinho usually designates Romelu Lukaku to take his club’s penalty kicks. Still, Sanchez should perform better in a United strip this season.
10. Raheem Sterling – Manchester City
This guy’s like Jekyll and Hyde when playing for club and country. Jamaican-born Raheem Sterling often resembles a ballerina more than a footballer when representing England, but he’s all business when suiting up for Manchester City. The 23-year-old forward came into his own last season and took a lot of people by surprise by netting 18 league goals and 23 in 46 games in all competitions. This is the same Sterling who has managed just two goals in 44 outings for the Three Lions. He just scored his 50th Premier League goal and only his third from outside the box. But if Sterling has the ball at his feet anywhere within 18-yards of the net, he can actually be a pretty good finisher. He’s tallied 68 times in his first 270 career contests and looks to be getting better year after year.
9. Jamie Vardy – Leicester City
There’s no doubt Jamie Vardy and his Leicester teammates will miss the playmaking abilities of Riyad Mahrez this season, as he joined Manchester City over the summer. But Vardy should still lead his team in goals and be a legitimate threat at leading the league as well. Vardy will take the majority of Leicester penalties (as long as he’s on the pitch) and he’s still one of the speediest players in the league. The 31-year-old English international forward has notched 151 goals in 317 career outings in all competitions including 20 in 37 games last year and 24 in 36 matches in 2015-16. He did slump in 2016-17 with just 13 in 35 games, but rebounded well last year. Vardy’s been a consistent scorer throughout his career and should continue to be, as long as he gets decent service this year.
8. Roberto Firmino – Liverpool
Brazilian international midfielder/forward Roberto Firmino may not be known as a natural scorer, but has 111 goals to his name in 350 club games and notched 27 in 54 games in all competitions for Liverpool last season. Firmino has benefited from playing with an attacking Reds squad, as well as alongside Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah. He should get his fair share of playing time and chances to add to his goal tally this year, but is still an outsider to outscore Salah and lead the league. Of course, he could also break out and enjoy a career year the same way Salah did in 2017-18. It’s going to take some doing though, considering Firmino scored 15 times in 37 league matches last year. He’s got the talent to pull it off however.
7. Gabriel Jesus – Manchester City
Brazilian international forward Gabriel Jesus is definitely the youngest Premier League golden boot contender this season, as he’s still just 21. He’s already shown to be a serious threat around the net though, with 10 goals in 22 games for Brazil and 20 league goals in 39 contests with Manchester City. Jesus was on fire when he first came to England with seven goals in 10 league games in 2016-17. Injuries slowed him down though, and he tallied 13 times in 29 league encounters last campaign. Jesus should get better each season as he gains experience and confidence, but he’s already a threat to lead the Premier League in scoring. Jesus should also see his chances increase as Man City’s chief penalty taker, ahead of fellow forward and golden boot candidate Sergio Aguero.
6. Sadio Mane – Liverpool
Give Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp credit for playing attacking football last season and often going with a three-pronged attack of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah. The trio totaled 91 goals for the Reds in 2017-18 including 57 in the league. Mane may have contributed the least in terms of goal totals, with 10 in 29 league matches and 20 in 44 games in all competitions, but he arguably had more chances than his two teammates. Mane’s biggest problem has been missing sitters and not being able to capitalize on his chances. However, if the 26-year-old international winger from Senegal can straighten out his shooting he’s a definite threat to challenge for the golden boot, especially if Klopp continues to play him with Firmino and Salah. Sane has 105 goals in 258 career club games and with better finishing could have another 30 at least.
5. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Arsenal
French-born, Gabon international skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang spent the first few years of his career out on loan trying to prove his worth and then finally settled with Saint Etienne between 2011 and 2013. The striker tallied 41 goals in 97 matches for the French side and then proved it was no fluke by netting 141 times in 213 contests with Borussia Dortmund between 2013 and 2018. He led Dortmund in scoring from 2014 to 2017 and also won the Bundesliga golden boot in 2016-17 with 31 goals. The Gunners nabbed him for a club record £56 million fee last January and he didn’t disappoint — notching 10 goals in 13 league games. If he can keep that pace up he’ll be a favorite to lead the league this season and it’s likely he’ll boost his chances by taking his team’s penalties.
4. Sergio Aguero – Manchester City
Sergio Aguero won the Premier League golden boot back in 2014-15 with 26 goals in 33 games and has reached at least 20 goals in five of his seven seasons with Manchester City. Last year’s total of 21 may not seem like too big of a deal, but Aguero racked it up in just 25 league games and posted 30 goals in 39 outings in all competitions. The Argentine striker may have turned 30 in the summer, but he hasn’t lost his touch around the net. However, he has been held back by manager Pep Guardiola, as the Man City boss is hesitant to play Aguero and fellow striker Gabriel Jesus together. In addition, Jesus has taken over as the team’s designated penalty taker. Aguero’s still one of the top scorers in the league, but will need the playing time to prove it.
3. Romelu Lukaku – Manchester United
Manchester United’s Belgian international striker Romelu Lukaku is the team’s main scoring threat and regular penalty taker. He’s only 25-years-old and is already Belgium’s top international scorer with 40 goals in 75 games. Lukaku has put the ball in the net on a regular basis over the years and was the fifth-youngest player to reach 100 goals in Premier League history. Last year was his first at Old Trafford and even though he scored 27 times in 51 games in all competitions, he managed just 16 in 34 league matches. He took home the bronze boot at the 2018 World Cup with four goals and has been red hot for his homeland lately. However, he hasn’t really done the same for United yet. The arrival of Alexis Sanchez halfway through last season seemed to help him though, after he slowed down following a hot start.
2. Mohamed Salah – Liverpool
Mohamed Salah disappointed a lot of Liverpool fans when he exited the 2018 Champions League Final against Real Madrid with a dislocated shoulder back in May. But up until then he had thrilled them with a career year. The 26-year-old Egyptian national pounded in 32 Premier League goals in 36 games last season with 44 in 52 contests in all competitions. He also managed a pair of markers during the World Cup in two games, with one of them coming from the penalty spot. Salah should get fine service from his Liverpool teammates again this year and playing with Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane certainly helps. He’s also the designated penalty taker for the Reds, so that should be good for a few goals, but it’s unlikely he’ll be able to quite replicate last season’s record scoring success.
1. Harry Kane – Tottenham Hotspur
England international striker Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur just turned 25-years-old and he’s already won a pair of Premier League golden boot awards and led the 2018 World Cup in scoring with six goals this summer. Kane almost made it three Premier League scoring titles in a row last season with 30 goals in 37 games, but came in two behind Mo Salah. Kane won the award in 2015-16 with 25 goals in 38 matches and again in 2016-17 with 29 tallies in 30 outings. He wasn’t too shabby in 2014-15 either with 21 goals in 34 contests. Kane’s goal total has increased in each of the last four years as he’s proven to be an elite sharpshooter on a consistent basis. He’s pretty lethal from the penalty spot as well and his confidence should be sky high after taking home the golden boot from Russia this summer.