Football tips: Who to back – and avoid – to be the Premier League top goalscorer

Our football tipster Shane O’Brien as got his crystal ball out for the 2021/22 season.

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To Back: Harry Kane

Harry Kane may seem like the boring and obvious choice to claim the Golden boot next May, but it is hard to look past him. The Tottenham captain finished with the most goals and most assists in last season’s Premier League – an incredibly impressive achievement given that he found himself under the thumb of Jose Mourinho’s anti-football tactics for a lot of the campaign.

Kane took on more shots than any other Premier League player last season despite playing in a Spurs outfit that only ranked 12th in terms of shots per game and finished ninth in the end-of-season possession charts.

Tottenham will hardly be more adventurous under a similarly negative Portuguese manager this season, with Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves ranking 10th for shots per game last season and 12th for possession.

However, Kane has proved that he doesn’t rely on an expansive style of play to score goals and finds opportunities for himself. Kane is coming into the new term off the back of a successful Euros campaign that saw him score four goals in four knockout games, while playing in a negative English line-up.

He has been by far and away the best goalscorer in England over the past few years and is rightly considered favourite to retain the Golden Boot award. If he makes, what is currently an unlikely, move to Manchester City over the summer, then bookies might as well close the top scorer betting.

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To Avoid: Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah has been one of the best players in world football since moving to Anfield in 2017 and has frequently competed for the Premier League Golden Boot, but he may struggle to reach those lofty heights this time around.

The Egyptian forward’s goals are the main reason that Liverpool find themselves in the Champions League this season, but Liverpool’s recruitment has been negligible this summer. The Reds have failed to replace Gini Wijnaldum, who left for Paris Saint Germain on a free transfer, while they have also failed to strengthen an ageing attack.

Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane will all be 30 by next summer and, for a front three that relies so heavily on athleticism, injuries and loss of form could begin to take their toll. Liverpool also risk losing club captain and engine room Jordan Henderson, who is yet to sign a new contract and has proved increasingly injury prone in any case.

Despite the acquisitions of Thiago and Diogo Jota in recent years, Liverpool have failed to adequately replenish the squad that won the Champions League in 2019 and the Premier League in 2020, while their strength in-depth could again prove to be a problem.

The Egyptian forward will surpass the 100 Premier League goal mark next season, but he could finish some way off in the race for the Golden Boot.

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Dark Horse: Mason Greenwood

If Mason Greenwood can pick up where he left off at the end of last campaign, there is nothing to stop him challenging for the Premier League tops scorer award. Greenwood was devastating during last season’s run-in, scoring six goals in his last six league starts before the end of the season.

The 19-year-old forward endured a difficult start to last season’s campaign due to a combination of off-the-field issues and bad luck, but he showed excellent character to rebound and finish so strongly.

With Marcus Rashford missing the first two months of the season through injury and Edinson Cavani pushing 35, Greenwood will get plenty of opportunities over the 38-game league season and could easily challenge for the Golden Boot if he builds up a head of steam.

He is the best finisher at Manchester United and could benefit from the significant improvements that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made over the summer. Greenwood would probably need the race for the Golden Boot to finish in the high teens or low 20s to be in with a chance, but there is nothing to stop him challenging if he hits the ground running. He should also benefit from a badly-needed summer off.

Several other dark horses will also be looking to challenge this season, including Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Patrick Bamford of Leeds United, who will both be looking to build on impressive goalscoring campaigns last season.

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