Premier League Top Scorers Week 30: Analysing Top Forwards in Title Chase

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Premier League Top Scorers Week 30: Analysing Top Forwards in Title Chase
Sang Tan/Associated Press
Power, pace, presence: How Week 30 will prove the week for forwards.

If Chelsea are to lose their seven-point lead on the chasing pack, it'll be the title challengers' strikers who will have to be primed and ready.

Second-placed Liverpool and Arsenal, occupying third, both have a game in hand on the league leaders and know they can both close the gap back to four points.

However, Manchester City could yet join Chelsea on 66 points if they can pick up wins in their three games in hand over the Londoners.

With goals needed, it'll be up to the forwards to ensure that title hopes are kept alive, so let's look at the top teams in the title chase and break down how each side's top line will fare in Week 30.

Premier League: Top 10 Goalscorers
Name Team Goals
Luis Suarez Liverpool 24
Daniel Sturridge Liverpool 18
Sergio Aguero Manchester City 15
Eden Hazard Chelsea 13
Loic Remy Newcastle 13
Yaya Toure Manchester City 13
Olivier Giroud Arsenal 12
Jay Rodriguez Southampton 11
Wayne Rooney Manchester United 11
Robin van Persie Manchester United 11

BBC Sport

Premier League Table: As it stands
Position Team Played Won Drawn Lost GD Points
1 Chelsea 29 20 6 3 34 66
2 Liverpool 28 18 5 5 38 59
3 Arsenal 28 18 5 5 24 59
4 Manchester City 26 18 3 5 42 57
5 Tottenham 29 16 5 8 0 53

BBC Sport

 

Chelsea

Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
Fernando Torres needs to start hitting more goals.

Sitting pretty at the top can seem like the perfect place to be, but with the chasing pack all sharpening their skills for the title run-in, the Blues' place in pole position will come under threat with nine fixtures left for Jose Mourinho's side to play.

Worryingly for Mourinho, three of his top five goalscorers occupy positions in midfield, with Eden Hazard topping the charts with 13 league goals and top-scoring striker Samuel Eto'o only hitting the Premier League net on seven occasions.

Scott Heavey/Getty Images
Frank Lampard has proved vital for Chelsea once again this season.

Oscar has netted six times, while Frank Lampard and Fernando Torres have both kept the side's title hopes on track with five and four strikes respectively; Demba Ba's double against Tottenham led him to three for the season.

This means that just 14 of Chelsea's 56 goals this season have come from forward play, with the onus largely on the Blues' attacking midfielders to bag the goals to keep the side in top spot.

Mourinho's side are desperately lacking a proven Premier League striker in the ranks, with rumours rife of a summer move for former City man Mario Balotelli, per Sky Sports:

For now, if Chelsea are to maintain their position in first place, they need Eto'o, Torres and Ba to increase their own goal tallies, not only to bring the title back to Stamford Bridge but also to prove why they deserve to stay at the club long after the season's end.

That mission must start in the Blues' next match at Aston Villa, with Paul Lambert's men hoping that a win can steer Villa further clear of the drop zone.

Chelsea won the same fixture last season thanks to two goals from Frank Lampard. Ba and Torres featured in that affair and failed to score.

They'll be hoping for better fortunes this time around.

 

Liverpool

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Red alert: Suarez and Sturridge have been first class this term.

Things are in stark contrast at Anfield, though, as Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge continue to see their partnership flourish under Brendan Rodgers.

The pair have netted 42 league goals between them this term, with at least one of them scoring in the side's last nine Premier League matches, highlighting the importance of not only their abilities in front of goal but also paying testimony to the hard work of the Reds' midfielders.

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher spoke of his admiration for Sturridge and the belief that he has earned his place in the World Cup squad, as he wrote on his Sky Sports blog:

Wednesday night was only Sturridge's 10th cap and considering he is 24 years of age that should probably be higher, but it is only since he joined Liverpool that he has been playing week in, week out and forced his way into England's plans.

He played quite wide against Denmark but he still got on the score sheet and I think his confidence is growing from playing and training every week with a world-class footballer in Suarez and then every now and again at international level with Wayne Rooney.

Sturridge is getting used to playing in a partnership, whereas before he almost went it alone, as he played on the right-hand side at Chelsea under Andre Villas-Boas and was only a bit-part player at Man City earlier in his career.

I think Daniel is now a definite England starter and we all know Wayne Rooney will go to the World Cup, too, so it will be interesting to see who else Roy Hodgson picks up front - and whether he takes three or four strikers.

The pair's strike rate has also gone some way to giving the Reds a plus-38 goal difference, which gives Rodgers' men a four-goal advantage over Mourinho's side, and they will be looking to extend that difference with a win at Old Trafford.

It's almost five years to the day since Liverpool went to United and recorded a 4-1 victory to move the side within four points of Sir Alex Ferguson's then leaders.

History has a habit of repeating itself in football, and with the same proposition this time around, Liverpool will have nothing but confidence of recording a similar victory over David Moyes' lacklustre side.

 

Arsenal

Paul Gilham/Getty Images
Giroud has overcome personal demons to continue firing for Arsenal.

You may have been forgiven for hearing Olivier Giroud's name a lot this season for Arsenal—mainly because he's their only real goal threat.

The Frenchman has scored 12 goals in the league so far this season, which stands as one goal higher than the combined total of Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski, Nicklas Bendtner and Yaya Sanogo.

There is the Gunners' problem this season, as they have relied largely on their midfield—much like Chelsea—to boost the side's hopes of their first Premier League title in 10 years.

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Much more needed from Lukas Podolski.

Sitting level with Liverpool and knowing that a victory in their game in hand will, like the Reds, place the side just four points behind Chelsea provides a welcome confidence lift for Wenger's men.

But with 11 games left to play, they will need to hope that Giroud continues his good form, as well as pray that Aaron Ramsey's recovery sees him return to the goalscoring midfielder who bagged eight goals in the season's first half.

The striker's off-field antics looked to have put a dent on hisand Arsenal'sseason, but Mirror's John Cross tweeted that Giroud had redeemed himself:

The small matter of a Champions League second leg at Bayern Munich greets Arsenal before they take on Tottenham in the North London derby in Week 30. That match could see Gunners close the gap with a win or, should Spurs pick up three points, see Tim Sherwood's men come within touching distance of leapfrogging Arsenal's Champions League place.

Wenger's men then travel to Chelsea in Week 31, so the pressure is on Giroud to keep leading the line for his side and, with a bit of luck, see his striking partners also start to weigh in with their fair share of goals.

All it takes is one, very unfortunate, injury and Arsenal's season could effectively be over. Let's hope that's not the case.

 

Manchester City

Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
Aguero and Dzeko have been in excellent scoring form this year.

Three games in hand and with a real possibility of returning to the top of the league is exactly why Jose Mourinho believes that Manuel Pellegrini's side are still favourites for the title.

The Citizens currently sit in fourth place with a nine-point gap between them and Chelsea, with matches against Aston Villa, Manchester United and Sunderland postponed due to cup commitments.

This has allowed Pellegrini's side now to see exactly what they must do to regain top spot, and for Mourinho, who spoke with BBC Sport following the side's 4-0 win over Spurs, this holds the key to the title race:

I would prefer to be in City's position. They have three matches in hand. If they win them all, they are top. We don't have control of our destiny - if we win all our matches then maybe we are not champions. If City win their games, they are champions.

City's strikeforce has been one of the more impressive of the top four this season, with Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo, Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic scoring 32 goals across their 26 matches.

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A relatively equal spread of goals amongst Aguero, Negredo and Dzeko has also allowed injuries not to derail the club's hopes of regaining the title from neighbours Manchester United in a win that would please the Red Devils' fierce rivals.

The strikers have also been able to maintain their constant stream of goals, too, despite remaining in four competitions as they challenge for the FA Cup and Champions League, with the Capital One Cup already sewn up.

Next time out, City travel to struggling Hull City as they look to make every point count on their jaunt back to the top, knowing that a win at the KC Stadium will provide an excellent return to Premier League life after not playing league football since the 1-0 win at Stoke on Feb. 22.

With a plethora of striking ability still available and with it all to play for, you've got to fancy the City forwards to reach at least 50 goals by themselves this season.

 

Tottenham

Sang Tan/Associated Press
Spurs need Adebayor to keep grafting from the front.

With Champions League qualification still on the lips of many at Tottenham, the side's 4-0 defeat at Chelsea would have provided little confidence that they'd muster the points to overtake Arsenal.

Spurs sit just four points outside of the top four, but with City still holding all of the top-four cards with three games in hand, Tim Sherwood's men need to realistically look at Arsenal as their main competitors for Europe's major tournament.

The side's front line have a relatively fair share of the goals this season, with Emmanuel Adebayor leading the Premier League scorers' table with eight goals, and Roberto Soldado chipping in with six strikes of his own.

Matt Dunham/Associated Press
Long gone: Defoe seeking pastures new in the MLS.

However, Jermain Defoe's move to the MLS without scoring a goal means that the aforementioned strike duo are the only regular starting forwards left on the club's books, with Harry Kane playing a bit-part as and when required.

Kane's inexperience in the top flight won't see him surpassing Adebayor or Soldado's tally, so it'll be key for Spurs that the pair remain fit and putting themselves in goal-scoring opportunities as they take on Arsenal.

Speaking with Sky Sports, Soldado told of his admiration for his Togolese team-mate after being drafted back into the squad:

I think he's a great player for us and ever since he's come to the club and more especially when he's got into the team and started playing regularly, he's really given us a lot out there on the field. He frees me up a little bit, gives me more freedom to play as well because it's a lot easier working together and you can share the hard work up front. I am looking forward to combining with him as well.

Per Mertesacker and Thomas Vermaelen started Arsenal's FA Cup win over Everton and will be stiff competition for Spurs, as a defence that will be hard to break down and even harder to pass the ball around, given the pair's athleticism.

So if Tottenham are to profit at White Hart Lane, and if their strike partnership are to flourish, it's going to have to be a patient, calm and collected performance from all, with little room for error when an opportunity does present itself.

 

Follow me @DanBrett90 for more insight and analysis from the beautiful game.

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