1) Robin van Persie (Goals: 26)
The Dutchman’s 26-goal tally fired the Red Devils to reclaim the Premier League title. The 30-year-old striker will obviously be favourite for the coming season but the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson could play a vital role on his confidence and fitness at Old Trafford, as could the potential departure of Wayne Rooney who contributed 10 assists last term.
2) Luis Suarez (Goals: 23)
Meanwhile, Liverpool’s Luis Suarez looked certain to beat the Dutchman to the top tally last term before he decided to get a little bit bitey on us.
His 23 goals still weren’t enough to earn the Reds a top four finished and, subsequently the Uruguayan is pushing for a move to Arsenal where he would be a replacement for Van Persie. Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott managed a combined 25 goals last term and whether Suarez remains at Anfield or moves down South, he’ll be there and there abouts again I should think.
3) Gareth Bale (Goals: 21)
The PFA Player of the Year is certainly in the running – the only uncertainty is a big one: will he stay at Tottenham? If he does, I can’t see anyone matching him for goals or assists very easily.
4) Christian Benteke (Goals: 19)
Next in line last term was Aston Villa’s big man and he’s now had a season to adapt and grow into his role at Villa Park. I’m expecting big things from the big Belgian once again.
5) Romelu Lukaku (Goals: 17)
Another Belgian, Chelsea’s loan star was a sensation at West Brom but I have my doubts as to whether the young gun will get quite the same access to regular first team football back at Stamford Bridge. Andre Schurrle’s arrival adds to competition in the forward positions Wayne Rooney’s possible arrival could push him eve further down the pecking order.
6) Michu (Goals: 18)
Swansea’s Spanish maestro managed 18 gaols last term in his debut season in England and I expect him to kick on and improve on that at the Liberty Stadium.
7) Wilfried Bony (Goals: 31)
However, the arrival of this 24-year-old Ivorian hitman could be huge. Bony scored an immense 31 goals in 30 games in the Dutch Eredivisie for Vitesse last term. It’ll likely take a little adaptation and patience but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the eventual Golden Boot winner.
8) Roberto Soldado (Goals: 24)
Another new arrival and a certain contender is this 28-year-old Spaniard who scored 24 goals for Valencia in La Liga last season. His style is perfectly catered for the Premier League and with Bale creating space for him; I expect he’ll wreak havoc on defences all across the land this term.
9) Alvaro Negredo (Goals: 25) / Stevan Jovetic (Goals: 13) / Sergio Aguero (Goals 12) / Edin Dzeko (Goals 14)
Manchester City have brought in a Spaniard of their own. The 27-year-old striker scored 25 goals for Sevilla but I believe the competition for places at the Etihad will necessitate a lot of rotation to keep the big names happy.
I can’t see Negredo or his potential strike-partner Stevan Jovetic getting enough minutes on the pitch to be Golden Boot winners – although maybe together they could do equal whoever does.
Likewise Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko - both could likely hit towards 20 each, but will they play enough to reach 30 and top the scoring charts?
10) Gary Hooper (Goals: 19) & Ricky van Wolfswinkel (Goals: 14)
Equally, Gary Hooper and Ricky van Wolfswinkel could do it combined for Norwich and I think they’ll give the big boys a good run for their money this term but I can't see them getting the level of service required to do it alone in their debut seasons - I think it'll be too much of an ask.
If I was a betting woman, my money would be on Luis Suarez, especially if he goes to Arsenal, due to the sheer number of chances the Gunners create that he could capitalize on and, equally, if he stays on at Anfield, Brendan Rodgers’ new additions will create more opportunities for him to feed off. If he moves abroad, I’d fancy an outsider like Bony to shock everyone. I do believe Michael Laudrup has played a blinder bringing him in.
I can’t see Van Persie staying fit all season and at the same level of form under David Moyes and I think Bale (if he stays) will be the provider for Soldado more than the goal-machine he was last term by necessity and I do think the new Spurs signing is in with a shout if Andre Villas-Boas can get the balance, confidence and motivation right in the team.
I think Benteke might have a bit of slump, personally (just a hunch), Lukaku won’t get the games and he’ll feel the pressure to succeed a bit of a burden at Chelsea, I anticipate. He played with so much freedom and abandon last term and I think that worked in his favour at West Brom.
It’s hard to know what to expect from Manuel Pellegrini at City. He could be less of a tinkerer than his Italian predecessor and you’d have to give Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko a fair nod too but I think it’ll take time for the new boys to bed in and probably too much rotation to produce a Golden Boot winner, even if City win the title.
image: © edwin11