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Premier League: Can Erling Haaland back up huge expectations in the hunt for Golden Boot?

Is the Premier League witnessing the tactical reemergence of the normal No 9? 

After a lot of years wherein groups have opted for extra fluid ahead strains, influenced vastly by the early to mid-2010s obsession with the false 9, there have been indicators this summer time that groups are able to revert to sort. 

Soccer shouldn’t be a stagnant sport and it was all the time probably that the normal centre ahead would return to elite soccer in some type, and indicators – at the least from the likes of Liverpool and Manchester Metropolis – recommend that that would be the case within the Premier League this season.

Harry Kane is likely to challenge at the top of the scoring charts once again this campaign

Harry Kane is more likely to problem on the prime of the scoring charts as soon as once more this marketing campaign


Erling Haaland: 13/5

Mohamed Salah: 9/2

Harry Kane: 5/1

Gabriel Jesus: 11/1

Heung-min Son: 13/1

Darwin Nunez: 13/1

Cristiano Ronaldo: 17/1

Raheem Sterling: 22/1

Odds supplied by Betfair 

The league’s two foremost golf equipment, Liverpool and Metropolis, have each misplaced outstanding forwards this summer time and have determined to exchange them with out-and-out centre forwards in Darwin Nunez and Erling Haaland, respectively. 

In the meantime, Arsenal have signed Gabriel Jesus from Metropolis and he seems set to be their figurehead this season centrally, if proof from pre-season is something to go by. 

One of many first main tactical alterations Antonio Conte made at Tottenham final season was making certain that Harry Kane performed larger up the pitch, it seemingly aided Son Heung-min, additionally, who went on to share the golden boot with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.

All of this factors to the race for the Golden Boot being one of the fiercely aggressive in years, with Cristiano Ronaldo additionally more likely to need to have a say ought to he determine to stay at Manchester United this season. 

Exterior possibilities, comparable to Jamie Vardy, Raheem Sterling and Diogo Jota must also not be discounted. 

Having assessed all the probably candidates, Sportsmail right here runs you thru the runners and riders for one of many many nice subplots to the quick approaching prime flight season. 

Gabriel Jesus joined Arsenal from Man City to be their figurehead at the apex of the team

Gabriel Jesus joined Arsenal from Man Metropolis to be their figurehead on the apex of the group 

DARWIN NUNEZ (Liverpool)

The Uruguayan arrives on Merseyside off the again of his breakthrough season wherein he scored 26 league targets in 28 appearances for Benfica final time period, placing him effectively away from the following most prolific participant within the Liga Portugal.  

Having been signed for a charge near £85million, Liverpool can be anticipating Nunez to hit the bottom working and never solely exchange the targets misplaced by means of Sadio Mane’s departure, but in addition add to them. 

The ahead is more likely to characterize one thing of a change stylistically, with Jurgen Klopp’s group now having an apparent figurehead centrally to whom they’ll play the ball brief or certainly lengthy. 

Nunez is succesful within the air and standing at a lofty 6ft 1in, is more likely to capitalise on the inviting balls swung in by Andy Robertson from the left and Trent Alexander-Arnold from the correct. 

Liverpool will be encouraged by what they saw in Darwin Nunez's Community Shield cameo

Liverpool can be inspired by what they noticed in Darwin Nunez’s Neighborhood Protect cameo

There have been instances final season when Liverpool’s lack of a centre ahead appeared to make sure they fell brief in some video games. Having reached three main cup finals final season, they failed to attain in any of them. Nunez’s impression within the Neighborhood Protect, when he got here on for the ultimate half-hour and scored, is more likely to encourage Liverpool supporters that they now have one other fairly distinct possibility this yr. 

His 4 targets in a bit of over half-hour in opposition to RB Leipzig final month additionally supplied encouraging indicators that he’ll gel together with his team-mates. Every of these targets required a definite sort of end.  

His contact map from the sport in opposition to Metropolis reveals that each one however two of his 11 touches within the sport got here down the center third of the pitch. Encouraging indicators for individuals who assume Nunez will do what no participant has finished since Salah in successful the prize of their debut season at a membership.

Might doubtlessly be undone by team-mates Salah and Jota additionally contributing vastly to the group’s tally. 

Golden Boot possibilities: 3/5 

ERLING HAALAND (Manchester Metropolis)

The bookies’ favorite. 

Haaland arrives within the Premier League amid an air of expectation that’s unlikely to have been bestowed on every other arrival, previous or current. 

The Norwegian’s file within the Bundesliga speaks for itself: 61 targets in 66 video games is a file solely bettered by Robert Lewandowski in that point. He greater than lived as much as the promise he confirmed at RB Salzburg earlier than leaving for Germany. 

Loads has been stated about his efficiency within the Neighborhood Protect and for good purpose, the ahead was not superb and he, and certainly Metropolis, can be anticipating much more, beginning this weekend away at West Ham. 

Haaland seemed nervous each passing to team-mates and in entrance of objective, failing to seek out his fellow attackers when the alternatives arose and lacking two very presentable possibilities on a troublesome afternoon for the centre ahead on the King Energy. 

Like his counterpart Nunez, Haaland’s arrival at Metropolis will characterize a change in model for the champions. 

Erling Haaland is the bookies favourite to win the award - despite his so-so performance at the King Power Stadium on Saturday

Erling Haaland is the bookies favorite to win the award – regardless of his so-so efficiency on the King Energy Stadium on Saturday

Pep Guardiola has chosen to play for a lot of the previous two seasons with out a recognised No 9, with a lot of gamers filling within the false 9 position throughout that point, together with Jack Grealish, Phil Foden, Kevin De Bruyne and Sterling.

The pursuit of Kane did present final summer time that the Catalan did desire a centre ahead however that they have been ready for the correct one. Haaland is a really completely different mould of striker to Kane and that’s mirrored in one thing fascinating Rodri stated throughout pre-season.   

‘We have been enjoying three years with type of a false 9, which it appears introduced success,’ he stated.

‘I feel we’re going to change a bit of bit, however let’s have a look at how.’ 

All of Haaland’s touches in the course of the Neighborhood Protect got here down the centre of the pitch, with the ahead hardly ever drifting into extensive areas. His lack of menace in that sport is unlikely to develop into a theme this season with Metropolis commonly going to be seeking to their new figurehead to attain them their targets. 

Golden Boot possibilities: 4/5

SON HEUNG-MIN (Tottenham)

‘It is unbelievable to have this award. I can not imagine it. I received actually emotional. I dreamed of it as a toddler. Actually it is my in fingers. I can not imagine it,’ the South Korean stated of successful the golden boot – alongside Salah – final season. 

The South Korean Son Heung-min spoke of his pride at winning the award last season - he will hope to replicate his stunning form again

The South Korean Son Heung-min spoke of his pleasure at successful the award final season – he’ll hope to copy his gorgeous type once more

These will not be the phrases of a person who is not going to attempt his utmost to win it once more this season. 

The exclusion of Son from final season’s PFA Workforce of the 12 months, least the PFA Participant of the 12 months nominee checklist, was surprising and the participant can be seeking to avenge that oversight this season. 

The extensive participant thrived underneath Conte final time period, exhibiting himself as soon as once more to one among Tottenham’s foremost gamers and key to their late run to get into the Champions League. 

A bit extra is anticipated of Tottenham this season and any probability they may have of difficult Liverpool or Metropolis rests on Son – and Kane – discovering the again of the web commonly. 

A fear for Son could be that final season was by far and away his most prolific league marketing campaign of his profession up to now, having by no means scored greater than 17 over the course of a league season earlier than. 

His partnership with Kane and Conte’s insistence that the Englishman performs larger up the pitch may make sure that the England captain overcomes his South Korean teammate within the scoring stakes this yr. 

Golden Boot possibilities: 2/5

Son shared last season's award with Mohamed Salah, with both finishing on 23 goals

Son shared final season’s award with Mohamed Salah, with each ending on 23 targets

HARRY KANE (Tottenham)

What let Kane down final season in his pursuit of his fourth Golden Boot was his begin to the season. His 4 league targets earlier than the flip of the yr is unlikely to win anybody a golden boot. By that stage, Salah had 15 and Son seven. 

Kane returned to pre-season at Tottenham's training ground appearing as though he had piled on muscle this summer

Kane returned to pre-season at Tottenham’s coaching floor showing as if he had piled on muscle this summer time

Kane’s turnaround in fortunes after Conte took over, although, has him proper again on the prime of the bookies predictions for the golden boot race. Having received three of them already in his profession, most just lately solely the season earlier than final, it’s inconceivable to low cost Kane. 

The Englishman has returned from Tottenham’s pre-season tour to South Korea trying extra muscular an element that would assist him offset his historically gradual begin in August. 

Having been inspired sufficient by what he noticed final season underneath Conte, and having seemed a way more centered participant in pursuit of the fourth Champions League spot final time period, Kane comes into the season a way more pushed model of himself than  the one which began 2021-22. 

There was no switch saga following him round this summer time, regardless of having not penned a brand new cope with Tottenham and as such Spurs followers can count on their talisman to hit the bottom working. 

Conte’s insistence that the ahead ought to play larger up the pitch has not completely extinguished his need to get into the ‘quarter-back position’ as he sees it, however it did guarantee Kane discovered the again of the web extra commonly within the second half of final season. 

Below Nuno Espirito Santo, Kane averaged 4.3 touches per 90 minutes within the opposing group’s defensive sixth. Below Conte, that rose by over a contact a sport to five.4. 

The England captain has committed to Tottenham having been linked with a move away

The England captain has dedicated to Tottenham having been linked with a transfer away

The Italian has an excellent file of successful league titles with strikers who rating the vast majority of the group’s targets. Diego Costa scored 20 league targets in 2016-17 whereas Romelu Lukaku bagged 24 in Inter Milan’s 2020-21 Serie A triumph. 

In an enormous season for Kane wherein he’ll captain England on the World Cup for a second time, a feat not achieved by an Englishman since David Beckham in 2006, he ought to ship on his second half of the season promise underneath Conte. 

Penalties may even play an enormous half. 

Golden Boot possibilities: 5/5 


The Egyptian’s file since he arrived within the Premier League made Liverpool tying him down to a couple extra years at Anfield crucial.

On the again finish of final season, with the contract saga showing as if it had the potential gravitas to derail each membership and participant this coming marketing campaign, Salah appeared to go off the boil a bit. However, as it’s in soccer, the margins are fantastic. He was an outstanding Thibaut Courtois save away from scoring his second objective in a Champions League remaining. 

Mo Salah cut a slightly disappointed figure after Liverpool were pipped to the league by Manchester City... but still claimed the Golden Boot

Mo Salah reduce a barely dissatisfied determine after Liverpool have been pipped to the league by Manchester Metropolis… however nonetheless claimed the Golden Boot 

Having signed his new deal, very like Kane, Salah heads into the brand new season refreshed and ready to hit the bottom working. In every of Liverpool’s pre-season encounters he seemed sharp and on the ball, most notably in opposition to Leipzig in Leipzig. 

His efficiency within the Neighborhood Protect additional backed that up, inflicting Joao Cancelo a torrid time down Metropolis’s left hand aspect. The penalty late on capped an outstanding show.

Salah tends to start out season’s rapidly: he had 15 targets by the flip of the yr final season. It may be anticipated {that a} comparable destiny will befall these unfortunate sufficient to play Liverpool early on within the marketing campaign as has been the case previously 5 or so seasons. 

No player has scored more Premier League goals since Salah's arrival at the start of 2017-18

No participant has scored extra Premier League targets since Salah’s arrival at first of 2017-18

One concern for Salah would possibly effectively be the arrival of Nunez who’s more likely to dominate the central areas the Egyptian likes to float into in a approach that Roberto Firmino, and latterly, Mane merely didn’t. 

How Klopp appeases his talisman ought to Nunez be the one to seize the headlines by placing the ball within the internet can be an fascinating subplot this season. You count on Salah to not go quietly ought to play not undergo him. 

Like Kane, Salah takes penalties which can in fact play to his benefit. Nunez, regardless of having been given the ball on one event throughout pre-season, maybe to make sure he received off the mark for the membership, is not going to be afforded spot kick duties. 

No participant has scored extra targets within the Premier League than Salah since his arrival at first of 2017-18. He’s unlikely to be usurped in that specific statistic this season at the least. 

Golden Boot possibilities: 4/5 


The Brazilian has received his want. He has stepped out of the shadow of Metropolis wherein sport time on the apex of the group was a premium that he felt he all too irregularly was afforded. 

Jesus, on the again of a hefty price ticket for a participant with just one yr left on his deal, arrives at Arsenal with an inexpensive quantity of stress on his shoulders. Merely put, the rationale they did not attain the Champions League final season was as a result of they did not possess a centre ahead able to getting them there. 

Eddie Nketiah gave it an excellent go on the finish of the season, however his performances away at Tottenham and Newcastle certainly have been the nails within the coffin of the concept he was able to main the road for a whole marketing campaign. 

Gabriel Jesus will look to hit the ground running for Arsenal at Crystal Palace on Friday night

Gabriel Jesus will look to hit the bottom working for Arsenal at Crystal Palace on Friday night time

Having promised rather a lot at Metropolis, Jesus’s performances have been very often patchy. Nevertheless, a famously selfless participant, it’s probably he usually sacrificed himself and his personal private file in favour of the group underneath Guardiola. 

Necessary targets late within the marketing campaign in opposition to Liverpool, Watford and Leeds displayed his price on the essential moments. He additionally scored early on in Metropolis’s semi-final exit to Actual Madrid within the Champions League. 

After Jesus scored 4 in opposition to Watford, his first Premier League hat-trick, Guardiola extolled the virtues of his centre-forward, talking about how selfless he was and the way he may do a job at right-back if known as upon. 

Jesus scored a number of important goals for City both last term and the season before

Jesus scored a lot of vital targets for Metropolis each final time period and the season earlier than

‘On this world of soccer, if there’s one particular person, one participant who deserves one of the best in life, it is Gabriel,’ he stated. ‘He fights for each single ball and helps the group on a regular basis. Sooner or later I will should ask him to play at right-back, and he will give completely every thing. 

‘It isn’t essential for him to attain 4 targets to know precisely how vital [he is], and what he means to all of us.’

The final season Arsenal have signed Jesus for is to deputise for Takehiro Tomiyasu at right-back. Jesus will play each sport by means of the center when match and such alternatives ought to present him an opportunity to have a crack at successful the golden boot. Stiff competitors would possibly make it a tall order, this marketing campaign at the least. 

Golden Boot possibilities: 2/5 

CRISTIANO RONALDO (Manchester United)

Ought to the Portuguese stay on the membership this summer time, he’ll discover himself on the higher echelons of the highest scorer standings by the top of the season. For all of the speak about how he impacts Manchester United’s model of play, the 37-year-old is aware of the place the objective is. 

His 18 targets within the Premier League final season ensured he completed eight away from the following finest performing United participant (Bruno Fernandes). 

The tumultuous nature of United’s marketing campaign final season underneath each Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick ensured it was a torrid marketing campaign for all concerned however Ronaldo emerged from it with some credit score in entrance of objective. 

Whether or not or not Erik ten Hag sees Ronaldo as infallible as these two coaches stays to be seen, nonetheless. 

Should Cristiano Ronaldo remain at the club this summer he could have a decisive say in the destination of the golden boot

Ought to Cristiano Ronaldo stay on the membership this summer time he may have a decisive say within the vacation spot of the golden boot

It might be an affront to additionally not contemplate what impression the circus of him making an attempt to go away the membership this summer time might need on his early season performances. How motivated is he to play for United? 

When Europe kicks again up once more in September, will he as soon as once more have these moments of introspection asking himself what on earth he is doing enjoying for a Europa League membership? 

Kane’s angling for a transfer away final time period impacted him enormously within the first half of the season and it’s exhausting to not see that very same destiny falling over Ronaldo. 

Rio Ferdinand, one of many Portuguese’s former team-mates throughout his first spell on the membership, on Tuesday stated that they need to kind out his future in order to keep away from a ‘hangover’ heading into the marketing campaign. 

United, taking a look at an formidable, long-term rebuild underneath supervisor Ten Hag, can unwell afford passengers. Because it stands, Ronaldo very a lot is one among them. However he was for big components of final season, too, and nonetheless managed to complete within the prime three. 

Golden Boot possibilities: 1/5 


Jamie Vardy: Might the Leicester centre ahead produce one thing of a revival of his late profession this season and spring a shock? With Leicester having made no signings up to now this summer time, it seems as if it’s going to relaxation on the shoulders of their present stars to haul themselves out of final season’s rut and produce for Brendan Rodgers this time period. 

Raheem Sterling: Like Jesus, a participant who has stepped out of the Metropolis mega-squad and right into a aspect the place he’s assured to start out each week. Sterling’s file for Metropolis was extraordinary, scoring 78 targets within the league since 2017-18. Thomas Tuchel has had points getting one of the best out of his forwards since arriving at Chelsea halfway by means of the 2020-21 season. The Englishman can be key to any Chelsea success this season. 

Diogo Jota: The Portuguese loved an outstanding marketing campaign for Liverpool final season and up till the emergence of Luis Diaz, appeared as if he would possibly end the season Liverpool’s most vital participant. His 15 targets nearly helped Liverpool to the title whereas his six assists vastly aided these round him. Recent off the again of a brand new deal, he’ll need to present Liverpool what they’re paying for. 

Jurgen Klopp (left) has said that Diogo Jota's new contract is brilliant news for Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp (left) has stated that Diogo Jota’s new contract is good information for Liverpool

Raheem Sterling chose to join Chelsea after growing disillusioned with his lack of first team chances at City over the past two seasons

Raheem Sterling selected to hitch Chelsea after rising disillusioned together with his lack of first group possibilities at Metropolis over the previous two seasons

Jamie Vardy endured a difficult campaign last season but it is always difficult to write him off

Jamie Vardy endured a troublesome marketing campaign final season however it’s all the time troublesome to put in writing him off

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