The Premier League Golden Boot: The competition nobody wants to win

This time last season there was little doubt who would end up as the top goal-scorer in the Premier League. Cristiano Ronaldo was on his way to scoring 42 goals in all competitions and, with 31 in the top English division, he saw off both Emmanuel Adebayor and Fernando Torres who both scored 24 goals.

Such is the state of the hot-shots list this season that, with the current plethora misfiring strikers in the Premier League, it may only take a 20-goal haul to walk away with this year’s Golden Boot award.

Only twice in Premier League history has less than 20 goals been enough to become the top goal scorer. This happened in 1997/1998 and 1998/1999 when in both seasons three players shared the prize.

Currently, Chelsea’s Nicolas Anelka (15/8) leads the way with 15 goals yet the moody Frenchman has claimed just one league goal since mid-December. “The Incredible Sulk” is now injured and a revitalised Didier Drogba is likely to limit the number of chances coming the way of the former Bolton, Manchester City, PSG, Real Madrid and Arsenal forward.

Next up is last year’s winner, Cristiano Ronaldo (15/8) whose last three league goals have come from dead ball situations (two penalties and a free-kick). The former Portuguese winker, with 13 goals so far this term, will likely continue to bang in some goals from here until the end of the season but CR7 will have to do something special to claw his way back to the top of the charts to scoop the award in back-to-back seasons.

Third in the current standings is arguably the dark horse for the Premier League Golden Boot. Steven Gerrard (11/4) is on 13 for the season and is hitting some incredible form at the cliched business end of the year. With four goals in his last two league matches (including three penalties) and Rafa Benitez’s side knowing that they need win all their remaining games to sustain a fighting chance of taking the championship, Stevie Me will likely continue to score lots more until the season’s conclusion.

Nearly all the other contenders have been in woeful form recently. Robinho (20/1), on 11 goals, has gone nine Premier League games without a goal, with his recent below-par performances highlighted by a woeful penalty miss against Sunderland on Sunday.

Other notable candidates from a group of players on 10 goals include Amr Zaki, who is without a goal from open play since October and dropped to the bench for the last two games. Then there is Gabriel Agbonlahor (50/1) , one goal in thirteen, and booed off by his own fans and subsequently dropped by his manager.

This all makes it a very open race, and even the likes of Fernando Torres (20/1) and Wayne Rooney (40/1), who are both on nine for the season, could make a late surge in the running.

It is quite possible that someone could come emerge from left-field and steal the prize. Can the likes of Darren Bent (40/1) and Robin van Persie (33/1) really be ruled out?

Full odds on who will be the top goal scorer in the Premier League this season can be seen here.

101gg predicts: Steven Gerrard at 11/4

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