Gareth Hopkins

Predicting the Premier League top goal-scorer is never easy. Nobody has dominated the ‘golden boot’ prize like Thierry Henry who won the title 4 times in 8 seasons. Since the departure of Henry (2007) the award has been won by 3 different candidate’s – Cristiano Ronaldo (2008), Nicolas Anelka (2009) and Didier Drogba (2010).

Eastlands Manchester City v Birmingham City (0-0) Premier League 13/11/2010 Carlos Tevez (Man City) in  his snood was later substituted by Roberto Mancini Photo: Roger Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom Photo via Newscom

In fact, the only players, other than Henry, who have won the golden boot more than once (since the advent of the FA Premier League), are: Alan Shearer (1995, 1996, and 1997); Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (1999 and 2001); and Drogba (2007 and 2010). Indeed, the exit of Henry (and probably of Cristiano Ronaldo) has left the field wide open.

2009 – 2010 Didier Drogba
2008 – 2009 Nicolas Anelka
2007 – 2008 Cristiano Ronaldo
2006 – 2007 Didier Drogba
2005 – 2006 Thierry Henry
2004 – 2005 Thierry Henry
2003 – 2004 Thierry Henry
2002 – 2003 Ruud Van Nistelrooy
2001 – 2002 Thierry Henry
2000 – 2001 Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
1999 – 2000 Kevin Phillips
1998 – 1999 Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
1997 – 1998 Dion Dublin
1996 – 1997 Alan Shearer
1995 – 1996 Alan Shearer
1994 – 1995 Alan Shearer
1993 – 1994 Andrew Cole
1992 – 1993 Teddy Sheringham

As it stands, the top 2 Premier League scorers (as of 22 November 2010) are somewhat surprising – Andrew Carroll (8) and Johan Elmander (8). Carroll has proved himself (in the Championship) but, nevertheless, to transfer his form to the Premier League, to which he has little experience, is impressive. However, I expect the form of Carroll to slump at the back end of the season because of, predominantly, fatigue –the Premier League is far quicker than the Championship and this will show. For me, of less surprise, is the form of Johan Elmander. If you remember my article Bolton – Can Coyle make them a nuisance again I predicted good things for Bolton. Not to blow my own trumpet (but I will), Bolton have only recently been displaced from Champions League territory and are well on track for European qualification. Undoubtedly, Elmander will continue to get excellent service from the likes of Petrov and Davies to bag a few more goals this term. However, the winner, for me, is lurking dangerously in the background – Dimitar Berbatov.

Berbatov has been outstanding this campaign; he is playing with an arrogant swagger we once saw whilst at Spurs. It seems most things are effortless for Dimitar and, dare I say it, Rooney really isn’t being missed through injury at present. When Rooney is fit again, he is likely to replace Javier Hernandez giving the Bulgarian a longer run in the team. For some reason Berbatov is never mentioned in the same sentence as Torres, Drogba and Van Persie yet, for me, he is worth a decent wager to get the top scorer gong. What are your predictions?

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