Football

Premier League’s race for Golden Boot assessed ahead of final-day showdowns


Jamie Vardy heads into the final weekend of the season in pole position for the Golden Boot, having scored 23 goals for Leicester this season.

The former England international will have Champions League qualification at the forefront of his mind when the Foxes face Manchester United on Sunday.

He has a tougher-looking fixture than closest rival Danny Ings, who is two goals shy of his tally ahead of Southampton’s home game against Sheffield United.

Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is on 20 for the campaign, so a hat-trick against Watford could be enough to share the award for a second year in a row.

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling trail on 19 apiece.

Here’s how the contenders have fared this season…

Jamie Vardy netted 13 goals in a blistering 10-game run through the autumn

Jamie Vardy (23)

The hero of Leicester’s stunning 2016 title victory enjoyed an outstanding first half of the season, netting 13 goals in a blistering 10-game run through the autumn.

His form has dipped a little since then, but he has still managed four goals for the Foxes since the restart as they push for a top four finish.

He was the Conference Premier’s top scorer in the 2011/12 campaign.

Danny Ings (21)

Danny Ings has enjoyed a consistent season at Southampton

His six goals since the restart have helped Southampton secure their Premier League status.

The 27-year-old has enjoyed a consistent season, adding a cutting edge to a side that made a slow start to the campaign.

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With less riding on his game than for Vardy in the Champions League showdown at Old Trafford, his team-mates might forgive him for going all out to score a brace.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (20)

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is keen to win the individual gong

Don’t rule out the Gunners skipper, who has a good record against Watford with three goals in their last two encounters.

Manager Mikel Arteta suggested his Gabonese striker has half an eye on the scoring charts, admitting he wants to start every game.

But besides their FA Cup semi-final triumph over Man City, he has been relatively quiet since his prolific first few months of the season.

Mohamed Salah celebrated lifting the Premier League trophy with Curtis Jones

Mohamed Salah (19)

Like Aubameyang, the Egyptian shared the honours with team-mate Sadio Mane 12 months ago.

With Liverpool home and dry and the trophy now safely at Anfield, scoring four at Newcastle is the only way this league campaign could get any better for him.

He is arguably the least selfish of his rivals, having also provided 10 assists this season.

Raheem Sterling has never scored four goals in one game in his senior career

Raheem Sterling (19)

The England attacker has had another successful scoring year with 31 goals in all competitions – but only around two-thirds of those have come in the top flight.

Man City are at home to already-relegated Norwich on the final day with the team’s focus already on their unfinished Champions League tie against Real Madrid.

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He has never scored four goals in one game in his senior career.





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