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The Race for the Premier League Golden Boot



As we approach the final quarter of the Premier League season, attention is naturally focused on the goalscoring charts, as the race for the Golden Boot hots up.

Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and Chelsea’s Diego Costa sit joint top with 17 goals each, while Harry Kane and Charlie Austin remain hot on their heels with 16 and 15 respectively.

Here’s a closer look at the front runners in contention to be crowned the Premier League’s top scorer this season.

Diego Costa (Chelsea)

The Brazilian-born Spanish international has had an outstanding debut season in England’s top flight and it’s hard to think of a striker that better suits the Premier League’s physical approach.

Coming off the back of such a prolific season with former club Atletico Madrid last campaign, it was clear Costa was ready for the challenge of leading Chelsea’s attack.

After scoring in each of Chelsea’s first 3 Premier League games, the clinical attacker then bagged a hat-trick against Swansea in the fourth game of the season. This meant Costa boasted the record number of goals for any player in their first 4 games in the Premier League.

Costa has bullied defenders all season long and thrives off close marking and individual battles. He has such a natural eye for goal and his ruthlessness in finishing has been second to none this term.

If Jose Mourinho continues to set out his side the way he has been all season, you could see the 6ft 3 handful leading the line for years to to come.

With 17 goals in just 21 league appearances for The Blues, it’s no surprise that Costa is staking his claim to be the Premier Leagues top marksman come May.

Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

The little Argentinian has always been close to the top of the goalscoring charts since joining City in 2011 and this season has been no different. Despite missing the latter stages of 2014, Aguero has notched up an impressive 17 Premier League goals in 23 games.

He became the club’s record Premier League goalscorer in October after scoring all 4 goals in the 4-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur and has continued to score a great variation of goals throughout the campaign.

Aguero has a very different – yet equally as effective – style of play in comparison to fellow South American, Diego Costa. Standing at just 5ft 8, his low centre of gravity makes his extremely difficult to knock of the ball and he has the ability to dribble past opponents with ease.

The Argentinian has consistently been able to find pockets of space that others simply wouldn’t this season and his precise positioning along with his ferocious finishing make him a firm favourite to finish top of the goalscoring charts.

Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)

The man of the moment, Harry Kane is possibly the most talked about striker in the Premier League right now – and rightfully so. The young Englishman has played with no fear this season and not only has that gained him lots of plaudits, it’s gained him lots of goals to boot.

Kane always looks to get a shot away early and this has been a big factor in his goals tally this campaign. He is fast and comfortable with the ball at his feet for such a tall player. He has also shown this season that he can be powerful and precise in the air.

Considering the Spurs man didn’t bag his first league goal until November, it’s been quite a season for the boyhood Tottenham fan. It’s even more unimaginable to think that by January, Aguero and Costa had scored 13 and 14 goals respectively.

Kane is without a doubt the in-form striker going into the final quarter of the season and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him leapfrog both Aguero and Costa to clinch the Golden Boot and cap off an unforgettable year.

Charlie Austin (Queens Park Rangers)

It’s not unfair to say that Charlie Austin has been the sole source QPR’s goals this season. Austin currently has 15 goals to his name, with Leroy Fer the club’s second top scorer only managing a measly 4.

Many are aware of the former Hungerford Town and Poole player’s meteoric rise from semi-professional to England hopeful, but not too many could have predicted how much of an impact the striker has had on England’s top division.

Austin has scored some unbelievable strikes this season and his strength and determination, coupled with his natural eye for goal has left him in with a shout of the claiming Golden Boot.

While the aforementioned Costa, Aguero and Kane all play for a top six side, Austin has consistently scored goals for a struggling QPR side threatened by relegation into the Championship.

Should QPR go down, there’s no doubt that a host of Premier League clubs will be after his signature after proving he’s got what it takes to consistently score goals at the highest level.

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The Verdict

At the beginning of the season the majority of Premier League followers would have more than likely picked Diego Costa to pick up the Golden Boot come the end of the season. He started the campaign so well, but like Aguero has tailed off somewhat as the season comes to an end.

On the other hand, no one would have expected Charlie Austin to do as well as he has this season and perhaps even less so, Harry Kane. But as we approach the end of yet another thrilling Premier League season, I’m sticking with the form guide and backing Harry Kane to over take Costa and Aguero to become the Premier League’s top goalscorer this season.


Are Chelsea finally going to see the best of Alvaro Morata?

The Spanish international has been inconsistent since his £60 million move.



Photo: Getty Images

When Antonio Conte sealed the signing of Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid in the summer, many Chelsea fans lauded him as one of the signings of the window.

He was an instant hit at Stamford Bridge following his £60 million arrival, scoring on his debut off the bench in a 3-2 loss against Burnley on the opening day.

Morata has been most commonly used as an impact sub especially at Madrid, but at Chelsea, he was quickly given the responsibility of spearheading the Blues’ attack.

He repaid the faith Conte showed in him early, notching a hat trick away at Stoke in mid-September.

There was early talk of him being involved in a four-way battle for the golden boot alongside Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku and Gabriel Jesus.

Since then, it hasn’t worked out as well for Morata at Chelsea.

He went on a scoring drought soon after, although he did score a crucial winner against title rivals Manchester United in November.

He still received criticism, however, culminating in a poor performance against Arsenal in the Carabao Cup, where he missed several guilt edge chances to give Chelsea the advantage.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

He then played 40 minutes in the FA Cup against Norwich, managing to receive two yellow cards in a matter of seconds, first for diving, and then for dissent.

The cold weather has been blamed for his lack of form, as well as a back injury which at one point Conte suggested could force him to miss the rest of the season.

The English climate is different to what Morata will have previously experienced in Spain and in Italy with Juventus, although whether that can be used as a real argument is debatable.

He proved that theory wrong today, finishing off a fine Chelsea move in one of the coldest games of the season.

The Spaniard has looked bereft of confidence in recent weeks and months, and it appeared that Olivier Giroud had overtaken him as Chelsea’s leading marksman until today.

Morata proved his class against a Leicester side that, had it not been for a late mistake, would have taken the current Premier League champions to penalties.

His well placed shot after an excellent Willian through ball opening the scoring before an audacious flick hit the crossbar.

Although not at the heights of the likes of Kane (24 goals) and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (28 goals), Morata has notched 10 goals of his own – a decent return considering he has missed a fair amount of games with injury in a team that is equally reliant on goals from wingers Eden Hazard, Pedro and Willian.

With the cold weather subsiding, if that can be used as an excuse for some of Morata’s poor performances, and Chelsea’s chances of silverware increasing with an FA Cup semi-final, now is surely the time for Morata to produce some of his best form and lead Chelsea’s charge going into the back end of the season.

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Tieumoue Bakayoko disappoints again for Chelsea against Leicester City

The Frenchman looked to struggle against his FA Cup opponents.

Jake Jackman



Photo: Getty Images

Tieumoue Bakayoko was one of the big-name signings for Chelsea during the summer as the club tried to push on under Antonio Conte after their Premier League triumph.

The Frenchman had been a standout player for AS Monaco during their surprise Ligue 1 winning campaign and cost the Blues a reported £40 million.

Although they are one of the richest clubs in the world, that remains a big spend and they would have been expecting a first-team ready player.

That hasn’t been the case as Bakayoko has struggled to adapt to English football and has found himself sidelined for Danny Drinkwater on several occasions.

The England international is an experienced Premier League player, but he was brought in to provide cover. It is a worry that he has been performing better than the player brought in to partner N’Golo Kante.

(Photo by Adrian Dennis/Getty Images)

Chelsea managed to qualify for the semi-final of the FA Cup with an extra-time victory over Leicester City. However, Bakayoko was underwhelming once again after being brought back into the starting eleven.

He lasted until half-time before being replaced by Cesc Fabregas. During the first half, the Blues were too predictable in central midfield as neither player offered creativity from deep.

Wilfred Ndidi was arguably the best player in that area of the pitch as he dominated Bakayoko and Kante for the first-half.

The summer signing from Monaco was booked just before the break and didn’t re-emerge for the second-half. It was another disappointing performance from him as he failed to take the opportunity provided by Antonio Conte.

During the match, Bakayoko had a tackle success rate of 33% and he failed to make a single key pass to influence proceedings in the attacking half.

It was obvious that he was lacking in confidence as he often chose the simple pass and wasn’t as aggressive as the Leicester midfield players that he was competing with.

As the season has progressed, central midfield has emerged as an area of weakness for Chelsea. They often play with two defensive-minded midfielders and that makes them predictable to play against.

(Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Last season, Nemanja Matic was more dynamic in central areas and he wasn’t afraid to step into the attacking half to contribute to attacks. The decision to sell him to a rival club now looks a huge mistake as the Blues are less effective in the middle of the park.

It was hoped that Ross Barkley would provide more energy to that position, but he has struggled with injuries since moving to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea have a difficult task to save their season, as they must finish in the top four and lift the FA Cup to restore pride.

Bakayoko needs to have a strong end to his season if he is to prove himself worthy of another chance next season. There is likely to be a new manager at Stamford Bridge with Antonio Conte’s position looking more untenable by the day.

A managerial change will lead to a squad overhaul and the 23-year-old will be one of the first to go. He doesn’t offer anything different to Kante and his compatriot is far superior in every area.

His most ardent supporters will allude to his inexperience and suggest that he needs to be given more time. However, when watching him against the 21-year-old Ndidi, it became clear that he isn’t good enough for a club like Chelsea. He was outclassed and outbattled by his younger opponent.

Since Roman Abramovich bought the club, there have been several mistakes made in the transfer market. The decision to sell Matic and sign Bakayoko was another.

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Manchester City 1-0 Chelsea: Three talking points from the Etihad

Jake Jackman



Manchester City
Photo: Getty Images

Manchester City managed to beat Chelsea for the second time this season as they continue their march to the Premier League title. The contest was far from entertaining, as the visitors showed no interest in playing football and instead to soak in pressure.

Pep Guardiola’s team didn’t have to get out of second gear and it was a more comfortable victory than they would have been expecting. The Citizens are now 18 points clear at the top of the table and remain on target for 100 points, which would be a superb achievement.

Meanwhile, Chelsea sit outside of the Champions League places and are now five points behind Tottenham in fourth position. They will need a near perfect end to the season if they are to avoid missing out on qualification for next season’s competition. Here are three talking points from the Etihad Stadium…

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

David Silva showed his class

The 32-year-old has been at Manchester City for the majority of their journey from Premier League also-rans to elite super club and he remains a crucial player for them under Pep Guardiola.

If he had been in the team for the entire campaign, he would be running Kevin de Bruyne close for the PFA Player of the Year award. He is a classy operator who seems to get better with age.

He got the important assist for the winning goal with a superb piece of play and that is becoming par for the course for the Spanish international. Silva completed 95% of his passes and made three key passes during the contest. Meanwhile, he was very good out of possession as he made three ball recoveries.

It has been incredible to watch Pep Guardiola get all of his attacking talent on the pitch at one time, but the improvement of both Silva and De Bruyne off the ball has helped achieve that.

They are now complete midfielders and capable of thriving in both halves of the pitch. The midfielder is a club legend and supporters will be hoping that he has a few years left in him.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Antonio Conte continues to make puzzling decisions

Last season, the Italian was lauded every week as his side won the league title comfortably, but he has failed to follow it up with a good second campaign. There have been a lot of problems for Chelsea this season including recruitment, tactics and player performance.

They have been reliant on Eden Hazard and as the campaign has progressed, the team have lost their intensity, which suggests they no longer believe in Conte.


Their 3-4-2-1 formation was revolutionary, but they have moved away from it frequently this season and haven’t been able to settle on a first eleven. That was one of Chelsea’s strengths last season. Gary Cahill and David Luiz have been sidelined, while Alvaro Morata has failed to replace Diego Costa sufficiently.

On Sunday, Conte chose to field Hazard as a lone frontman, but he struggled to impact the game in that role. He is best when having space in front of him to run into and he didn’t have that against Manchester City.

The Belgian international was isolated and touched the ball only 31 times. It was a tactical error and one that blunted Chelsea’s attack before a ball was kicked.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Ilkay Gundogan is flourishing in the middle of the park for Manchester City

The former Borussia Dortmund midfielder has had his problems since arriving in the Premier League.

He has suffered a few injuries and that has seen him struggle to secure a regular starting berth, but he has featured prominently in recent weeks and is perfect for the system. Gundogen recycles possession effectively and that is required, especially when the opposition team sits deep.


Gundogen touched the ball more than any other player on the pitch with 181 touches and was very good at distributing the ball quickly. He finished the match with a 96% pass success rate, which shows his role.

He wasn’t taking any risks and he didn’t have to. City have a lot of attacking talent and the German international isn’t required to try risky passes to influence the game.

Although Chelsea didn’t get on the ball much, Gundogen broke up the play when required with four ball recoveries. Fernandinho’s absence could allow the 27-year-old to secure the place on a permanent basis and he does offer more in the role, especially in possession. It was a strong performance and one of the standouts in a dull affair.

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