The 2016-17 English Premier League season got underway with a bang last weekend. Last year’s darlings from Leicester suffered a massive upset at the hands of Hull City, while the new eras at Manchester United, Manchester City, and Chelsea all started with promise.
But it was an epic battle between traditional powers Liverpool and Arsenal that had people in a tizzy on Monday morning. Theo Walcott staked Arsenal to a 1-0 lead, but the Reds responded with four straight and then held on for a nail-biting win in hostile territory.
Is that high-scoring affair a sign of things to come in this year’s EPL? Will goals galore be the common theme? We’ll find out, in time. All we know, at this point, is who’s most likely to pot the goals that are scored. There’s no shortage of offensive firepower in the EPL this season and the arrival of Pep Guardiola at Man City has a certain striker poised to tally early and often.
Let’s take a look at the odds to lead the EPL in scoring this year.
Lionel Messi had his best statistical seasons while Pep Guardiola had charge of Barcelona. The manager’s arrival at Man City has many predicting similar success for Sergio Agüero. But Guardiola won’t need to change much – if anything – in order for Aguero to battle for the scoring title; he finished as the league’s top scorer in 2014-15 with 26 goals and has been in the top-five in four of the last five seasons. His 24 goals last year were good enough for a second-place tie with Jamie Vardy.
Ibra is now 34 years old, but he remains one of the top players in the world. From 2012-2016, he scored 113 goals in 122 games for PSG, and he hasn’t dropped off with age: he had an astonishing 38 goals in 31 matches last season en route to being the top scorer in Ligue 1.
He’s already scored twice very early into his first season with Man United, once in the Community Shield win over Leicester City and again in the team’s EPL opener against Bournemouth.
Kane’s career scoring clip isn’t as impressive as some of the other favorites (49 goals in 83 career games). But, at just 23 years old, he’s the youngest of the favorites, and he’s been scoring at an incredible pace the last couple years. After a runner-up finish two years ago (21 goals), he led the league last season with 25 tallies. He’ll be looking to post similar numbers this year, trying rebound from a disappointing Euro.
Costa finished third in scoring two years ago with 20 goals, but regressed to just 12 in 28 matches last season as the entire Chelsea team took a nosedive. At 27, he’s in the prime of his career, and Chelsea are going to have a much better season this year. The Brazilian will be counted on for goals on a weekly basis and he’s not apt to disappoint again.
Vardy was named the best striker in the EPL last season and finished tied for second in scoring with Aguero (24 goals). The breakout season was a huge surprise from the 29-year-old, though, who has just 49 goals in 134 career games. Most pundits see him – and Leicester as a whole – taking a step back this year.
Romelu Lukaku (Everton): 22/1
Olivier Giroud (Arsenal): 25/1
Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal): 25/1
Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool): 25/1
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United): 33/1
Anthony Martial (Manchester United): 33/1
Photo Credit: By Jon Candy (Flickr: DSC04205) CC BY-SA 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
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