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Thursday 2 February 2023 Dublin: 10°C
# that's my goal
Ibrahimović, Agüero or Kane? Ranking the contenders for this season's Premier League Golden Boot
Diego Costa, Daniel Sturridge and Romelu Lukaku are also in the frame.

IT PROMISES TO be one of the most exciting Premier League seasons in recent times, but then again, when do we look forward to a new season not expecting it to be better than the one before?

With a host of high-profile strikers in the league, the battle for the Golden Boot looks to be just as intriguing as the battle of the super-managers in England’s top flight.

Here is how we have ranked the contenders. Let us know in the comments section who your picks are.

10. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) 40/1

Having been named the PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 2015, the Belgian was expected to take his game to the next level, and to be talked in the same breath as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as one of the world’s best players. But his game fell off the proverbial cliff last season.

It took the 25-year-old until the end of April to get his first league goal last season, but he did manage four in his last five matches.

It’s hard to imagine that new Chelsea manager Antonio Conte will tolerate the same level of performance from Hazard this season, and it could be the fiery Italian that manages to get the very best from the maverick attacker.

AC Milan Chelsea Soccer Bruce Kluckhohn Bruce Kluckhohn

9. Anthony Martial (Manchester United) 33/1

What a difference a season makes. When Manchester United signed Anthony Martial for a fee that could rise to £59 million from Monaco last season, it was deemed an unnecessary gamble to make the Frenchman British football’s most expensive teenager.

But no risk, no reward. And the 20-year-old is suddenly an integral part of the current United side, and could potentially be so for the next decade.

The French international managed a respectable 11 league goals last season, as he switched from playing as a striker to the left wing.

New United manager Mourinho will aim to make a much-needed instant impact at Old Trafford, and Martial could be the man to fire United to glory.

Manchester United v Leicester City - Barclays Premier League - Old Trafford EMPICS Sport EMPICS Sport

8. Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) 25/1

If it wasn’t for his poor injury record, the England forward would certainly be further up the list.

Sturridge managed eight goals from just 14 Premier League appearances last time out, but has only started 55 league matches in total since joining Liverpool three-and-a-half years ago.

Although Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has question marks over his work ethic, should the 26-year-old maintain a clean bill of health, then there is no reason why he can’t replicate his form from the 2013-14 season in which he scored 21 goals from 26 starts.

A repeat of that goalscoring return is likely to put him in the mix come the end of the season.

Liverpool v Everton - Barclays Premier League - Anfield Nigel French Nigel French

7. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) 16/1

With Arsene Wenger reluctant to spend big in the transfer market and capture a high-profile striker, it looks as if Olivier Giroud will be leading the line once again for Arsenal this season.

The French international has never scored more than 16 goals in a single Premier League season, a feat he achieved twice since joining from Montpellier in 2012.

However, with the service of Alexis Sánchez and Mesut Özil, there can be no excuses for the 29-year-old not to aim higher and improve his tally, but perhaps that could rely on another striker challenging Giroud for a place in the starting line-up.

Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion - Barclays Premier League - Emirates Stadium PA Wire / Press Association Images PA Wire / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

6. Romelu Lukaku (Everton) 12/1

Although the 23-year-old has been heavily linked with a return to Chelsea, the departure of John Stones to Manchester City for £47.5 million, means that it is unlikely that Everton are to sell two of their big assets in the same window.

Lukaku, who scored 18 league goals last season, became the first Everton player in 20 years to score 25 goals in all competitions in a single season since Gary Lineker in the 1985-86 campaign.

The former Anderlecht striker though will need to do better than a goal every other game to win the Golden Boot, but with new manager Ronald Koeman now in the Goodison Park hotseat, he may well do that.

Wayne Rooney Testimonial - Manchester United v Everton - Old Trafford EMPICS Sport EMPICS Sport

5. Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) 18/1

The Leicester forward incredibly scored in 11 consecutive league matches last season, which went a long way to the Foxes claiming their first league title.

Vardy will also be hoping to establish his name in European football this year, as Claudio Ranieri’s side embark on their maiden Champions League campaign.

Earlier this summer, the 29-year-old had the foresight to reject Arsenal’s advances in the close season, with his game heavily reliant on counter-attacking football rather than the possession-based approach taken by Arsenal.

The England forward though may also be relying on his club teammate Riyad Mahrez turning down a move to the Emirates if he is to get anywhere near the 24 league goals he scored last season.

Jamie Vardy File Photo Nick Potts Nick Potts

4. Diego Costa (Chelsea) 16/1

The Brazilian-born Spanish international striker is one of the most divisive in England due to his combative and confrontational style of play.

Whether the 27-year-old’s future lies at Stamford Bridge remains to be seen, but the former Atletico Madrid striker should start the season as Chelsea’s first-choice striker, despite the arrival of Michy Batshuayi from Marseille earlier this summer.

Even though Costa struggled for large parts of last season, he still scored 12 goals in the league, but it will be the form from his debut season with the London-based club, when he scored 20 goals in 26 games, that he will need to put on display if he is to challenge for the Golden Boot.

AC Milan Chelsea Soccer Bruce Kluckhohn Bruce Kluckhohn

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3. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) 13/2

Like several names on the list, Kane will have to maintain his fine form if he is to guarantee himself a place in the starting line-up, after the arrival of Dutch striker Vincent Janssen from AZ Alkmaar following a prolific couple of seasons in the Eredivisie.

Despite failing to reproduce his club form with England at Euro 2016, Kane will be expected to be in the frame to retain the Golden Boot he won last season.

The 23-year-old scored 25 goals last term after starting every league match, having scored 21 from 34 games the year before.

Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - Barclays Premier League - White Hart Lane PA Wire / Press Association Images PA Wire / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

2. Zlatan Ibrahimović (Manchester United) 8/1

Manchester United captured the enigmatic striker on a free transfer from Paris St-Germain on a one-year deal in the close season, with the option of a further year, although it is believed the overall deal will cost United in the region of £10 million per year when Ibrahimović’s wages are taken into consideration.

The former Barcelona striker, scored 118 league goals in 113 league matches during his four years in France, including 38 league goals last season, as his PSG side claimed the Ligue 1 title by 31 points.

But, like Kane, Ibrahimović also failed to find the back of the net during Euro 2016, and he also faces the task of replicating his form playing in a team not as good as the French champions, and in a league much stronger than Ligue 1.

The former Sweden captain turns 35 in October, but was never reliant on his pace or stamina to earn his remarkable goalscoring record, and will be looking to win a fifth league title in a fifth different country with United this year.

Leicester City v Manchester United - Community Shield - Wembley Stadium Nick Potts Nick Potts

1. Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) 7/2

Prior to this season, Agüero was perhaps the only player in the Premier League who could start for any of Europe’s top clubs, but injuries and the mixed performances from his Manchester City teammates has somewhat hampered his progress.

Having said that, when the 27-year-old netted his 100th Premier League goal in Apirl, he did so quicker than any of the 24 players who achieved the feat before him, having hit the century in just 129 starts and 147 matches in total.

The Argentinian has won the Golden Boot once before, in the 2014-15 season, when he amassed 26 goals from 31 matches and with Pep Guardiola now in charge at City, Agüero could get even better.

Manchester City v Stoke City - Barclays Premier League - Etihad Stadium PA Wire / Press Association Images PA Wire / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

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