The Premier League is underway and after four rounds of matches, there are plenty of sub-plots that have begun to develop with none more intriguing than the race for the Golden Boot.
Clubs have splurged on offensive talents this summer like nobody’s business to make it six-horse race this season and The Statesman takes a look at the six players that are likely to be jostling for the Golden Boot.
Reigning King: Harry Kane
For two years in a row, Tottenham Hotspurs’ golden boy has been topping the scoring charts in the English top-flight.
But is his reign about to come to an end? Not, if the 24-year-old has anything to say about it.
Scoreless in August, Kane got September off with a bang by scoring a brace in Everton and the sooner Spurs can get over their ‘Wembley Curse’, the better his chances of scooping the award.
Tall, mobile, strong and dual-footed, Kane is perhaps the perfect centre-forward and is a good bet to make it a treble of individual titles. But he will have stiffer competition this time round.
No.1 Contender: Romelu Lukaku
Leading this season’s charts is Manchester United’s record signing, Romelu Luakaku. The £75 million man has scored four goals in as many games to get his United career off to a flyer and most fans are backing him to finally dethrone Kane.
The hulking Belgian was a close second last year but the gulf in class (without any disrespect meant) between his previous club Everton and United is apparent.
The 24-year-old, who has been plundering in the goals for the Red Devils is benefitting from having the likes of Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan setting him up time and again.
Not as dual footed as say, Kane, Lukaku does possess plenty of attributes not least being explosive power and an impressive physical presence which makes him a nightmare for defenders to mark.
New Kids on the Block: Alvaro Morata and Alexandre Lacazette
Three games and three headed goals for Alvaro Morata. The Spaniard has gone about quelling doubts over his pedigree in the perfect manner and the 24-year-old is fast becoming a fan favourite.
Signed to replace Diego Costa (who is still on the Blues’ books), Morata’s style is vastly different from his combative compatriot but is certainly effective. Like Lukaku and Kane, Morata has his best years ahead of him and the £60 million signing seems to be paying his employers back immediately.
Is it a coincidence that United, Chelsea and Arsenal broke the bank to sign centre forwards?
Arsenal splashed a club-record £56 million on Alexandre Lacazette and the speedy Frenchman has been impressive even if his teammates haven’t in their opening games.
Unlike the aforementioned forwards, Lacazette doesn’t have much of a physical presence but the 5’9 striker more than makes up for it with his excellent movement, on and off the ball.
With two goals to his name already, the 26-year-old Lacazette’s presence will ease the goalscoring burden on Alexis Sanchez but it remains to be seen if he can maintain his purple patch at a club that are beset by problems and are bereft of confidence at the moment.
Sky Blues Power Forwards: Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero
Last but certainly not the least are the darlings of the Etihad, Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero.
Aguero, quite possibly City’s greatest player ever, seems to be their No.2 forward for the season.
Pep Guardiola clearly prefers Jesus to Aguero, and while the duo are playing in tandem at the moment, there is a lot of uncertainty over the viability of a dual-forward system in the long run.
When fit, Aguero is possibly the best striker in the league and the Argentine would in usual circumstances be favourite to emerge as the top scorer but with Jesus on the scene, it’s difficult to make any prediction.
For the 20-year-old Jesus has everything Guardiola wants from a striker and then some. Always on the move and working for his team, the 5’9 Brazilian is a perfect blend of craft and graft and will certainly add plenty to his tally of three goals by season-end.
However, Guardiola’s rotation-heavy policy may seem him get rested from time to time and while City may well romp to the league title, their forwards’ chances of winning individual gongs may suffer as a result.