Vardy’s chase for the Golden Boot – still open?
While the Premier League title has been decided even before the pandemic break, the Golden Boot award is yet to be in the bag. Leicester’s Jamie Vardy seems to have put one hand on the trophy, but contenders with more accessible games ahead can still make up lost ground.
Aubameyang faces Aston Villa and Watford in the two final fixtures
The Gabonese striker was rested by Mikel Arteta in the derby against Liverpool and can now fire up against two weaker sides, both involved in the battle for survival in the top flight. Aston Villa conceded 66 goals so far – second only to Norwich in the chart for the most fragile defensive lines – and Watford failed to keep a clean sheet since the restart.
Aubameyang scored three goals in the reverse fixtures this season (twice against Watford). If he echoes that performance then he could find himself sharing the Golden Boot award for the second time in a row. Last season he ended up tied at the top with Liverpool’s Mane and Salah, all three of them having netted 22 goals.
Vardy’s goal at Bournemouth might be his last for this season
Leicester are in store for two crucial matches, against Tottenham and Manchester United. As both these teams are fighting for the European spots, the stakes are high. The Foxes have to defend their Champions League position and will have less time to focus on the attacking side of the game.
Jamie failed to score in the reverse fixtures against Spurs and United. Also, the 33-year old played all of the eight games since the restart without ever being substituted. This may have an impact on the leading goalscorer’s physical abilities, especially given he will run into defenders like Dier, Alderweireld or Maguire in the following weeks.
Of course, Vardy can always use his pace to outsmart his opponents, it’s just the matter of getting those kinds of opportunities against the strong sides of Tottenham and Man. United.
Danny Ings continues his impressive form
The England striker is the only one in top 4 goalscorers to have found the back of the net this week. He is having the best season of his career and looks single-minded to outrun Jamie Vardy at the top of the scoring charts.
Ralph Hassenhutl gave Ings all the minutes he wanted after the restart, only subbing him off in the 87th minute of the Norwich game. Danny is also looking to ensure his call-up for the England squad and will most probably start the next two Premier League games as well.
A trip to a Bournemouth side that has many injuries at the back-four line and conceded four goals from Newcastle (at home) might add some extra goals to Danny’s tally.
Do Liverpool, City or United assets still make a case for the boot?
Mane, Sterling, Rashford and Martial all sit currently on 17 goals. Naturally, you wouldn’t consider any of them anymore in this race, but their teams’ style of play and the poor sides they are facing next makes you think about it.
I don’t imagine Rashford or Martial scoring double hat-tricks in the final fixtures, but that could be the case for Sterling, for example. After all, he will be playing against Watford in Gameweek 37 and Norwich in Gameweek 38.
Also, who knows what Salah (19 goals so far) might be up to against a Newcastle side that has nothing left to play for in the final fixture? Could he grab the third Golden Boot award in a row and match the record of Thierry Henry and Alan Shearer?
There are still many questions out there but just a few answers. Certainly, the race for the Golden Boot in these closing stages of the season will be an entertaining one. While Vardy still has the best odds to win it, we shouldn’t rule out sharing the award between a couple of players once more.