With the English Premier League season about halfway through already and few games left for the next week or so, most fans are gazing their eyes to the end of the season.
Some are gazing there for hopes of a championship and others are looking there to see if their side avoids relegation. Whatever the case, 2012 will provide the same cracking games and brilliant matchups that we've come to know and love in the Premier League.
However, despite knowing this, I for one can't wait until the end of the season, and need to make some predictions now for the end of the year, starting with the Golden Boot Award.
The Golden Boot goes every year to the player with the most goals for the season in the English Premier League since its establishment in 1992.
Unimportant trivia includes Thierry Henry winning the award four times and in the last two seasons, and 20 goals has been enough to win the award for Tevez and Berbatov in their respective seasons. Once again, the Golden Boot Award is up for grabs, and it looks like it's coming down to a four-man race.
Robin van Persie (Arsenal)
The Arsenal gun has had a stellar year once again, netting 17 goals already for the year and not showing any signs of relenting as he continues to terrorize defensive units throughout the league.
The problem for van Persie may be the fact that with Henry back, there is another offensive weapon to go to. It may work in favor for him (someone to work off and someone to feed good balls), but at the end of the day, it's another player to score Arsenal's goals. As a four-time Golden Boot winner, Henry is no surprise to scoring goals.
With Arsenal continuing to leak goals at the back (thus forcing them to find goals up front), expect van Persie to get plenty of work, and plenty more goals, before the season is out. Even with Henry, he should continue to flourish and will deservedly take home the Golden Boot Award.
Final prediction: 29 goals
Demba Ba (Newcastle United)
In my eyes, Demba Ba has been the revelation of the year, and Newcastle couldn't have been happier with the striker's play so far this year.
He has scored 15 goals for the year but has interestingly scored over 80 percent of Newcastle's total goals for the year. It is likely that after carrying the offense, Demba Ba is due for a down period sometime soon in the Premier League, especially when defenses simply stick two defenders on him all match.
Add into that the fact that Ba misses the next month with African commitments. He will fall short of picking up the Golden Boot Award, but not short of finding the back of the net several more times this year.
Final prediction: 26 goals
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
The Manchester City striker has had another year taking the profits of a quality attack, finding the back of the net on 14 occasions this year, 10 of which have come at home.
However, he will struggle to keep pace with the likes of van Persie and Ba because of the many weapons that City have in their side.
Alongside Aguero, Manchester City have Dzeko, Adebayor and Balotelli all in the top-ten goal scorers of the league, and these remain constant treats to take goals that Aguero could potentially score.
I think Aguero will continue his goal-scoring feats, and with an arguably weaker end to the year than City have started with, he will spearhead this City attack all the way to the championship title.
As for the Golden Boot Award? Agonizingly short.
Final prediction: 28 goals
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
Rooney is in a similar position to Aguero really—excellent striker with a number of goals under his belt already, but has too many weapons alongside him to truly dominate the league by himself.
One of the toughest things about United is their ability to find goals from somewhere, and with Hernandez, Nani and Berbatov all netting six goals for the year, Rooney will be hard-pressed to take home this award.
Still, the United front man will continue to have a strong year and will increase his goal total no doubt, but will it be enough to take home the Golden Boot Award? Probably not.
Final prediction: 25 goals
So there you have it: van Persie to take home the Golden Boot Award, followed by Aguero, Demba Ba and Wayne Rooney. The three-goal break he has on the rest of the group will be too much to overcome, and even with Henry coming home to steal some of his goals, van Persie will take home the Golden Boot Award for the 2012 season.
Read more articles by Dan Talintyre here or follow him on Twitter @dantalintyre.
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