TOM LOVE (@TomLove_18) has been tasked with tackling the ante-post Top Goalscorer market ahead of the 2019/20 Premier League season.
WLB Season Preview 2019/20 | Premier League: Top Goalscorer
Undoubtedly there are plenty of obvious runners and riders in the Top Goalscorer market. Spurs hitman Harry Kane heads it at 4/1 and he’s probably the fair favourite. A relatively lengthy injury put him out of the challenge but he still managed 17 goals last time out, and the three seasons prior the England skipper managed 25-30 goals in each.
Mo Salah follows Kane in, second in the running at 11/2 and it’s no surprise with the Egyptian having managed to notch 32 and 22 in the last two terms respectively. Salah is coming off the back of an Africa Cup of Nations and endured a long campaign with Liverpool in 2018/19 – whether he will be at it from the get-go is a question mark.
Sergio Aguero is half a point behind in the betting with the Argentine available to back at 6/1. He would probably be the favourite if he didn’t rotate as much with Gabriel Jesus, or pick up niggly injuries regularly.
They’re all fully viable options to take the gong but betting is a value game so I’ll look at two players at slightly more appealing prices with similar credentials.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (8/1 Bet365)
Arsenal have long been an attack-focused side with the aim to outscore teams. In recent times they’ve simply had to due to the porous nature of their defence, and it could be another similar tale this term.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang finished as joint-Top Goalscorer with Salah and Sadio Mane last season and for a team that didn’t even finish in the top-four, that’s an impressive feat. This year he has the additions of Dani Ceballos and Nicolas Pepe to lay the opportunities on a plate.
Pepe managed double figures for assists last season and should dovetail well with the Gabon international. Mesut Ozil also loves an assist and the man who’s regularly in the right position to put them chances in is PEA.
One major factor in my thinking for this market is whether or not the selected player, more often than not, takes penalties for their side. With the much anticipated debut of VAR in the Premier League, i’m expecting the number of penalties awarded to shoot up. It’s been the case in the Champions League, as well as other competitions it’s been trialled in.
I’m not a fan of it to be honest but it will mean more decisions that are usually let go are looked at in finer detail, thus putting extra pressure on the referees to award it. Even though its main use is meant to be for clear and obvious errors, that seems like all talk.
Aubameyang was on spot-kick duty for the Gunners when he was on the pitch in 18/19 and with Arsenal likely to pin teams back and have heavy possession in their attacking third, especially at home, there seems a strong chance of them being awarded a few pens. Particularly so when you look what kind of players they have in those positions.
What’s more, PEA managed 25 and 31 in seasons with Borussia Dortmund in a similar forward-thinking side. This Arsenal team looks like it will create a wealth of chances and he can go one better and take the top honours. He was 15/2 best price at the start of the last campaign and even after notching 22 and finishing in a dead heat, his price is half a point bigger. I’m not complaining though!
Jamie Vardy (20/1 Bet365)
We’re following on similar lines here. A penalty-taker for a side who likes to attack, in many ways Jamie Vardy has similar facets to Aubameyang, but his story is a different one and one of the best there has been in English football.
Vardy's style of play hasn’t really changed throughout his career, he’s always been a razor sharp striker who looks to peel off defenders and latch onto through balls before confidently finishing. He’s just improved massively year-on-year and looks like a player who practices what he preaches, and is all the better for doing so.
I’m sweet on Leicester to gatecrash the top-six oligopoly this year. Even without Harry Maguire I think the Foxes can improve on last year's position at the very least, and with Brendan Rodgers having a full summer to get his ideas across, Leicester could present a serious threat. Not like that’s new, they’ve regularly upset the big boys, even taking out the title-winning campaign where Vardy notched 24 times, including a record breaking run of consecutive goals scored.
Rodgers has made Youri Tielemans’ loan permanent and he linked up really well with Vardy when he came in from Monaco last season. James Maddison actually created the most chances of any Premier League player last season and he’s only going to improve as a footballer, Vardy will be the chief beneficiary of that you’d imagine.
The Foxes also have the likes of Demerai Gray, Harvey Barnes, Rachid Ghezzal, Marc Albrighton, Ben Chilwell and Ricardo Periera who can provide ammunition for their main marksman. It’s a bountiful supply line that the number nine will surely be licking his lips at.
Vardy's age at 32 may put some people off but he still possesses all the athletic qualities that he’s displayed for years now. Just how clever he is with his movement and timing is hugely underrated and his brain usually gives him a yard on defenders.
As mentioned he is the number one penalty taker and that could add up to 10 goals to his tally. Leicester have no European commitments either and the added rest and focus will make Vardy all the more eager to perform on the weekends.
Most bookies go 16/1 on Vardy but Bet365 are once again standout price at 20/1 and if we back the former Fleetwood and Halifax man each-way then we get a pay out if he finishes in the top four at a quarter of the odds. Nice.