The battle for the Premier League Golden Boot is an exciting, with only eight games to go (some with seven), five players are separated by just one goal.
Sergio Agüero is the man out in front with 18 goals and is Paddy’s 13/8 favourite, while Mo Salah (3/1) & Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (6/1), and Sadio Mané (10/1) have all hit the net 17 times and are hot on the Argentine’s heels. Red-hot Raheem Sterling (20/1) is three goals behind, while Eden Hazard (13) (66/1) and Alexandre Lacazette (66/1) are having decent seasons, but shouldn’t trouble the leaders of this table.
Using Infogol, which is a revolutionary new football product, which harnesses Opta data to power a proprietary Expected Goals (xG) model, we take a look to see who can be expected to finish the season strongly, and who might fizzle out.
Expected goals (xG) is a new tool that quantifies the quality of any given scoring opportunity, assigning each chance a probability of being scored. The higher the probability, the better the chance. So the more xG a player accumulates, the higher the chance of them scoring on a regular basis.
A look at the above graphic shows how the goals scored by each player compares to their xG totals, and more importantly their xG per 90 minute totals (penalties included).
All of the top three – Agüero, Salah and Aubameyang – are performing pretty much in-line with expected goals, which is a very positive thing, as it means they are scoring goals at a sustainable rate, meaning it is less likely that they will have a goal drought.
Kane is over-performing according to his xG total, but since his injury, is performing in-line with what would be expected (three goals, 2.84xG).
There is a serious buzz around Sadio Mané right now, and rightly so.
He has scored 17 goals this season – and not one of them from the penalty-spot.
However, the Senegalese forward has scored around five more than would be expected based on the chances he has been on the end of, so is running extremely hot, and this hot streak is unlikely to continue unless his xG/90 improves.
It is Manchester City’s Agüero that has the highest xG/90 of the lot (0.75 xG/90), which is no surprise given he plays up front for the best attacking team in the land, but this means that he gets on the end of more and better chances more regularly than his Golden Boot opponents.
He has a game in hand on both Salah and Mané, but a fixture pile-up could mean he gets rested from time-to-time during the run-in, but even so, with fixtures against Fulham, Cardiff, Burnley and Brighton, he should almost definitely add a fair few goals to his tally, and is rightly favourite to win the Golden Boot.
At a bigger price, Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is of interest, as again, he has a game in hand on both the Liverpool contenders, and Arsenal don’t face any top six sides in their run-in.
The Gabonese striker has the second highest xG/90 of the challengers for the top scorer gong, so will get on the end of more opportunities than Arsenal teammate Lacazette, so could prove to be Agüero’s main competition, though don’t write of Salah, as although he has been quiet of late (one goal in eight Premier League matches), he always poses a threat.
*Prices correct at time of posting