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Sunday, 08 January 2012

Robin Van Persie’s top bet to beat Aguero, Ba and Rooney to the Golden Boot

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Arsenal’s Robin Van Persie enjoyed the year of his life in 2011. He stayed out of the treatment room, became club captain and broke Thierry Henry’s record of 34 goals in a calendar year. But can he end the 2011/12 season as the Premier League’s most prolific marksman?

The Flying Dutchman got his 35th goal on 2011 in the 1-0 win over QPR. That strike was his 17th in the Premier League, two more than Newcastle United’s Demba Ba, three more than Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and four more than Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney. With 18 games of the season left to play Van Persie is the bookies’ tip to clinch the Golden Boot.

Nobody has managed to score more than 30 in a Premier League season since Cristiano Ronaldo went goal crazy at Manchester United in 2007/08. The Real Madrid goal machine netted 31 times in 34 games for the Red Devils. In fact only five players have managed to score 30 goals plus in the Premier League; Andy Cole, Alan Shearer (twice), Kevin Phillips, Thierry Henry and Ronaldo. With 17 to his name already, Van Persie is well on his way to reaching more records.

Bet365 and William Hill are offering odds of 5/4 for Van Persie to outscore the rest, although Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero is his closest challenger with 5/2. The Argentine is playing his part in a free-flowing Manchester City side who have been steamrolling teams this season. They may have been thwarted in recent games by West Brom and Sunderland but Aguero earned his money with the opener against Liverpool.

Newcastle United’s Alan Pardew picked up the steal of the season by signing Demba Ba from West Ham United for nothing. However, the Senegalese international will miss most of January because of the African Nations Cup, but he remains Newcastle’s main goal threat. The 26-year-old has impressed the big clubs with his displays but the demands of the African Nations Cup can drain players. If you think he can pip RVP and Aguero to the title though, Bet365 and Victor Chandler are offering odds of 12/1.

Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney and Sir Alex Ferguson have denied rumours of a rift at Old Trafford and the England international is desperate to win his first Golden Boot. Rooney has been the top English striker three times in the past five seasons but he has never claimed the big one. If you think this season could be the year all of that changes, Victor Chandler and William Hill are the places for you with odds of 11/2.

Tottenham’s Emmanuel Adebayor has hit the back of the net nine times for Spurs this season and is 25/1 at Bet 365, followed by Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko at 33/1. The Bosnian striker has scored 10 times in this campaign, including four against Spurs at White Hart Lane in August, but he hasn’t scored since November 5. He will come good again in front of goal, but will he have enough in his locker to become the first German to win the Golden Boot?

Mad-capped Mario Balotelli is also 33/1 at Bet365 while Chelsea’s England striker Daniel Sturridge is 40/1 at Victor Chandler. Blackburn’s Yakubu has been a real lifesaver for Steve Kean this season with 12 goals to his name. If you think he can end the campaign as the league’s top scorer, Bet365 is offering odds of 50/1.

What about last season’s winners? Carlos Tevez and Dimitar Berbatov shared the accolade last season with 20 goals each, but there’s more chance of Tim Howard winning the award than Tevez following his antics in Munich. Berbatov though could be worth a cheeky punt. He has been in hot form since being drafted in from the cold and has scored six in his past four outings. At 100/1 at Bet365, Berbatov could be the answer to Fergie’s prayers.

Here are the top 10:

Robin Van Persie 5/4

Sergio Aguero 5/2

Wayne Rooney 11/2

Demba Ba 12/1

Emmanuel Adebayor 25/1

Edin Dzeko 33/1

Mario Balotelli 33/1

Daniel Sturridge 40/1

Yakubu 50/1

Dimitar Berbatov 100/1


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Colin Illingworth



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