The battle to win the Premier League Golden Boot is usually a by-product of a successful season, rather than at the forefront of the players’ involved minds. And yet last week the race to become the league’s top goalscorer took a bizarre turn.
We all know that Harry Kane, the current incumbent of the golden prize, loves a goal or two, and during his side’s win over Stoke last week he claimed he got a touch on Cristian Eriksen’s cross/shot to notch his 25th of the season.
The England frontman petitioned Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker on Twitter and even ‘swore on his daughter’s life’ that he got a touch as the Dubious Goals Panel met to discuss the matter.
When they judged that Kane had indeed scored, it was met with the now traditional outcry on social media from many involved in the game….including Salah himself, whose ‘wooooooow really?’ tweet in response to the decision has earned more than 150k ‘likes’ on the platform. Many other memes mocking Kane’s desperation to retain the Golden Boot have also emerged; some hilarious, some tiresome, as is often the way with these things.
And so the state of play is that Salah leads the way with 30 goals while Kane lags behind on 25, although crucially Spurs have a game in hand on Liverpool and the England frontman, typically, ends the season in prolific fashion.
So is Kane able to catch Salah, or will the Egyptian king maintain his outrageous goalscoring campaign until the bitter end?
The Case for Salah
The Egyptian has goals on the board, and so it will take some effort from Kane to usurp the Liverpool man.
Salah is five clear and has a string of fixtures to come in which he would be fancied to find the net: West Brom and Chelsea away, Stoke and Brighton at home.
The only concern for anyone backing him in the Golden Boot betting market, for which he is the 1/8 favourite, is that he is likely to be rested for domestic action in and around his side’s Champions League semi-finals with Roma.
But even if he only plays in a couple of those remaining league games, he will be fancied to find the net. He averages a goal every 86 minutes – quite staggering for a winger, with a shots on target ratio of 62%; higher than anyone else in the top five goalscorers in the Premier League.
Most intriguingly, the Golden Boot prize is clearly on Salah’s mind, despite his Reds teammates battling it out for a top-two finish in the Premier League and Champions League glory.
“Of course [the Golden Boot] is in my mind,” he said. “I cannot lie – it is in my mind. But you can see with the team everyone tries to pass the ball to me to help me.
“I am happy to have this feeling. You feel they want to support you and want to help you to score goals. That’s a good feeling.”
Given his five-goal cushion, and the fact that when he plays he seems to score, you’d have to say Salah is good value for the prize at this moment in time.
The Case for Kane
Winning the Golden Boot is clearly very high on Kane’s list of priorities; hence his bizarre show last week.
You may also recall his goal-den spell towards the end of last season, where he blitzed eight goals in just three games to hold off Sergio Aguero and secure his status as Premier League top don.
That personal pride will surely contribute to plenty more goals in the coming weeks, and a fixture list that features three home matches – Watford, Newcastle and Leicester, plus away trips to Brighton and West Brom, should at least present him with plenty of opportunities.
If Kane stays fit he will play every game – he will demand that of his boss, Mauricio Pochettino, and the fact he may play a couple of games more than Salah between now and the end of the campaign suggests he has an excellent chance of overhauling the Egyptian’s tally.
After watching Salah bag four goals against Watford a few weeks ago, Kane was quizzed about the Golden Boot. “We will see. He [Salah] has done great, he has had an amazing season and has gone ahead, so we will see.
“Because we are battling against Liverpool for the top four as well it’s a bit of excitement. He scores four, let’s see what I can come back with.
“Whatever happens at the end of the season both of us will have had good seasons and we both enjoy it.”
The Tottenham frontman is available at 17/2 with the bookmakers to catch the Egyptian in the race for the Golden Boot.