The opening exchanges in the English Premier league produced some fairly predictable results along with a familiar, if extremely early league table. The likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool were all guided to victory by their main strikers and there are a number of forwards in the division who have made an early claim on the Golden Boot trophy as the Premiership’s leading goal scorer.
Attempting to fill a void
In the absence of his former club mate Luis Suarez, Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge is the new favourite with Betfair to win the award at the end of 2014-15 and the England international opened his account with the winner over Southampton.
Suarez grabbed all the headlines, both good and bad, last season but his admittedly phenomenal record of 31 goals in 37 league games masks the fact that his strike partner managed a more than respectable 21 in 29.
With Rickie Lambert left on the bench for the opener, Sturridge is the lone centre forward in Brendan Rodgers’ new formation and even at this early stage he could be the man to beat.
Defending champions Manchester City enjoyed a relatively comfortable away win at Newcastle with Sergio Aguero sealing the victory in second half injury time. At one stage in the previous campaign, the Argentinian was ahead of Suarez in the race for the trophy until injury derailed his domestic season.
Aguero may not be 100% fit as yet but he will remain a contender for the Golden Boot and at least he has a head start over team mate Alvaro Negredo who is yet to return after suffering a broken foot in pre-season.
The new boys
In 2013-14, Jose Mourinho was quick to rule out his team’s chances of landing the title, claiming that his Chelsea side was without a striker. Since then, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto’o have gone with Diego Costa and Didier Drogba coming in and their side already look to be a more potent force.
Spanish international Costa scored the first goal in a 3-1 win over Burnley and after netting 36 times in 52 games for Atletico Madrid last season, the 25 year old must be a leading contender for English football’s top goal scorer award. Meanwhile, Drogba was only given seven minutes as a second half substitute while Fernando Torres – a very remote candidate – was left on the bench.
Robin Van Persie’s absence from the Manchester United team that lost to Swansea may have an effect on his chances of taking an accolade that he won for two consecutive seasons prior to Suarez’s triumph in the previous campaign.
The Dutchman was in superb form in the 2014 World Cup but he simply needs to get onto the pitch to stand a chance here.
While Van Persie sat out United’s opener, Wayne Rooney opened his own account and if the new club captain is pushed further forward under Louis van Gaal, he can’t be ruled out.
Elsewhere, there has been some interest in new Arsenal signing Alexis Sanchez after the Chilean scored 19 goals in 34 league matches for Barcelona last season. Sanchez failed to find the net in a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace but both he and Olivier Giroud are clear contenders for Arsenal in this campaign.
Outside of these five clubs, you may have to take a leap of faith to find another suitable candidate. Emmanuel Adebayor at Spurs and Everton’s Romelu Lukaku would both argue that they have a chance but the main contenders for the Golden Boot seem to have already found the net in their opening round of league games.