The race to be the Premier League’s top goalscorer, winning the coveted golden boot, proved to be as close as the title race itself. For the first time since the 1998/99 season three players shared the award, finishing on 22 goals each. Braces on the final day from Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Liverpool’s Sadio Mane saw them join Mane’s team-mate Mo Salah on top of the pile. With all three African players, it was a very good reminder of the talent coming from this continent.
For Mo Salah it is back to back golden boots, a fine achievement for a player who we kept hearing was not firing on all cylinders this season. True, last season he won it outright with 32 goals, an exceptional amount by any normal standard, yet the 10 fewer he notched this season was more than made up for by Sane, who increased his tally by 12 this time round.
This might be explained by looking at where the service came from. The Liverpool fullbacks, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson provided 23 assists this season, a huge increase on last year. Sane and Roberto Firmino, who chipped in with 12 goals, are better suited to these early crosses whipped in at pace.
Sane and Aubameyang’s doubles saw them leapfrog ahead of Mr Consistent, Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero. For the second season running his Premier League tally was 21, helping to cement his place in the side after an initial challenge from the young Brazilian striker, Gabriel Jesus. In a season so dominated by the top two, Aubayemang has performed exceptionally well for Arsenal to be amongst them. Surely he too will be hoping the Gunners finally get round to working on their defensive frailties so that his goals might push them in to a Champions League place.
The top English goalscorers were once again Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling. In any other year Kane’s 30 goals for Tottenham in the 2017/18 season would have been enough for the top prize, yet in an injury plagued season he still managed a useful 17 this time, on a par with Manchester City’s Sterling and one behind Vardy. It would be fair to say Vardy did not quite see footballing eye to eye with former Leicester manager Claude Puel who was not adverse to leaving him out. Yet 18 goals was only two less than last year’s tally and it will be interesting to see how he progresses under Brendan Rodgers.
A special mention should go to Glenn Murray who scored 13 goals in a struggling Brighton side, one more than last season. When you see relegated Cardiff’s top scorer Victor Camarasa only notched 5, and Huddersfield’s Karlan Grant just four, you can appreciate his value to the Brighton faithful.
Not your typical modern day centre forward maybe, but priority number one to me of a striker is knowing where the net is, and a regular goalscorer is a prized commodity at any level of football.