The Premier League's top five goal scorers in 2016

Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane wins the 2015/16 Barclays Golden Boot Award, scoring 25 goals.

Attackers from Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Sunderland feature. With three due to play on December 31, who will finish top of the pile?

2016 has been an exciting year for Premier League goalscorers and spectators alike, despite a number of the league's best running through spells of hot and cold form, proving that it really does happen to the best of them.

However, one player is some way ahead of the others when it comes to finding the net in the Premier League in 2016. Here are the top five, in descending order:

Jermain Defoe - Sunderland: 19 (36 games)

Sunderland's Jermain Defoe celebrates scoring their second goalSunderland's Jermain Defoe celebrates scoring

The Sunderland striker has a rich history of goalscoring, and he has continued it at the Stadium of Lights, despite the Black Cats struggling for much of his time at the club. Defoe is a vital figure for Sunderland, playing every game of the new season. That has led to eight goals in 18 games, while the 34-year-old was even more impressive earlier in the year, when he netted eleven goals in the final 18 of the previous campaign. Could yet add to his total of 19 against Burnley on December 31.

Alexis Sanchez - Arsenal: 19 goals (34 games)

Arsenal's Alexis SanchezArsenal's Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez has been given the chance to showcase his striker talents this season by Arsene Wenger, and the Arsenal man has certainly grabbed his chance with both hands. A prolific scorer whatever position he plays, Sanchez is well on course to match his highest ever league total: 19 goals in his final season at Barcelona. The Chilean has 12 goals in 18 games this season, playing every game so far, unlike the three ahead of him in the list, and he managed seven in sixteen for the Gunners earlier in the year. 

Diego Costa - Chelsea: 20 goals (30 games)

Chelsea's Diego Costa celebrates scoring their first goalChelsea's Diego Costa celebrates scoring their first goal

This season's outstanding goalscorer so far, the Chelsea star has very much recovered from a disappointing second season at Stamford Bridge, especially in the early months of that campaign. Costa is top of the charts at the moment with 13 goals in 17 matches, and he netted seven in 13 from January until May. With the Blues on a stunning winning run that sees them threaten to run away with the Premier League title, it is fair to say that the Spaniard has rediscovered his golden touch under new Chelsea boss Antonio Conte. Could catch Kane if he nets a brace against Stoke on December 31.

Harry Kane - Tottenham Hotspur: 22 goals (32 games)

Tottenham's Harry KaneTottenham's Harry Kane

The Tottenham Hotspur talisman would arguably have been in with a shot of challenging Aguero for 2016's top scorer if he wouldn't have suffered an ankle injury that saw him miss five league games during the autumn. As it is, Kane has eight in 13 matches. Last season's top scorer enjoyed a superb second half to the 2015/16 campaign, scoring 14 goals as Spurs fell short of Leicester City in the race for the title. Like Sanchez, Kane's 2016 is done, with Tottenham's next game not until New Year's Day.

Sergio Aguero - Manchester City: 27 league goals (31 games)

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero in action with Tottenham's Victor WanyamaManchester City's Sergio Aguero in action with Tottenham's Victor Wanyama

The Argentine has had a disappointing end to the year after receiving a four match ban for his second dismissal of the 2016/17 campaign. However, when he has been on the pitch in 2016, he has been prolific. Aguero has ten goals to his name in just eleven Premier League starts, with one substitute appearance (he has missed six games through suspension). A phenomenal run from the New Year onwards saw the Manchester City star find the net 17 times from 19 games. Like several players on this list, Aguero could yet improve this number with a crunch fixture against Liverpool on New Year's Eve.

Honourable mentions:

Sadio Mane 16 goals in 35 games (Southampton/Liverpool)

Jamie Vardy 14 in 34 (Leicester City)

Romelu Lukaku 13 in 35 (Everton) 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic 12 in 17 (Manchester United)

Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates scoring their second goalManchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates scoring their second goal

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