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Friday, 27 March 2009

Cristiano Ronaldo should still pip Steven Gerrard for the golden boot

On 19 February I looked at The Premier League top goalscoring market and suggested that Gabriel Agbonlahor and Fernando Torres offered the best value to break into the top three behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Nicolas Anelka. Bet365 was at that time offering each way odds on the first three (now on the top two only). Whilst Agbonlahor has faded badly in recent weeks, Torres remains a possibility. Although he is six goals behind Nicolas Anelka with just nine games left - suggesting that 20/1 is probably fair.

But with Nicolas Anelka out with a toe injury and Didier Drogba looking a bit more like his un-sulky version again there is no guarantee that Anelka will get much opportunity to add to his 15 goals, and given the low number of goals on offer this season I would reckon that if anyone can get to 18 league goals they will be the leading scorer.

Big movers in the last six weeks include Bolton's Kevin Davies who has 11 goals in his most prolific season in the top flight. Steven Gerrard who has scored four goals in the last two league games - three from the penalty spot - as the designated penalty taker for the form side in the division he must be a consideration. Gerrard was 66/1 just six weeks ago and is now at a barely backable 5/2. Frank Lampard is the other major late candidate, his odds have halved but 40/1 is probably right for a midfielder that is still five goals behind Anelka.

So who is in form and close enough to get to 18? I'd guess that no more than seven goals from the last nine or ten games is reasonable, which will discount players on less than 11 goals; I'm not sure that Anelka will get the time to score many more but as he is in possession he only needs one really good game to secure 18 for the season. Kevin Davies is in uncharted waters and won't get to 15 goals; Peter Crouch is in a struggling team and won't get the chances to get past 15 either, Robinho is talented but starting to look weary after a long, physical season.

Which leaves just Ronaldo and Gerrard who I think will contest the Premier League golden boot. Ronaldo is due a couple of goals and is experienced in finishing as leading scorer, he has course and distance. Gerrard has just scored his first Premier League hat-trick and has had three penalties awarded in two games - these things do even themselves out and he could have to rely on goals from open play from now on.

I would guess that Ronaldo will get 18 or 19 goals and Gerrard possibly one or two less, with Anelka's injury and selection an unknown I would suggest that Cristiano Ronaldo is rightly the favourite to get the golden boot.

Leading Goalscorers 2008/9

15 Anelka (Chelsea)
13 Gerrard (Liverpool), Ronaldo (Man United)
11 Crouch (Portsmouth), Davies (Bolton), Robinho (Man City)
10 Agbonlahor (Aston Villa), Bent (Tottenham), Lampard (Chelsea), Zaki (Wigan)
9 Cisse (Sunderland), Cole (West Ham), Defoe (Tottenham), Rooney (Man United), Torres (Liverpool)

Premier League Top Scorer Odds (Bet365 - E-W 1/3 odds for 1-2)
7/4 (from 15/8) Cristiano Ronaldo (Man Utd)
9/4 (9/4) Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea)
5/2 (66/1) Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
16/1 (10/1) Robinho (Man City)
20/1 (8/1) Fernando Torres (Liverpool)
25/1 (661/1) Peter Crouch (Portsmouth)
33/1 (20/1) Robin Van Persie (Arsenal)
40/1 (33/1) Darren Bent (Tottenham)
40/1 (20/1) Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa)
40/1 (80/1) Frank Lampard (Chelsea)
50/1 (20/1) Dimitar Berbatov (Man Utd)
50/1 (N/A) Kevin Davies (Bolton)
66/1 (40/1) Wayne Rooney (Man Utd)
80/1 (20/1) Amr Zaki (Wigan)
100/1 (33/1) Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal)
150/1 (66/1) Djibril Cisse (Sunderland)

(19 Feb prices in brackets)

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