Week 34 of the Premier League saw drama unfold all over the division, with teams claiming important victories in the race for the title, European football and survival.
Twenty-six goals rattled in across the week’s fixtures, with the league’s leading scorers once again showing their top-class credentials in front of goal.
With just five weeks remaining, every goal is precious, and below we look at the players who have had enjoyed fruitful campaigns, with the week’s brightest stars analysed.
|Yaya Toure||Manchester City||18|
|Sergio Aguero||Manchester City||15|
|Wayne Rooney||Manchester United||15|
Romelu Lukaku, 13 goals
Everton’s on-loan striker, Romelu Lukaku, has been instrumental behind the club’s success this season, chalking up 13 goals so far.
On Sunday, Lukaku notched the second of Everton’s three during their 3-0 trouncing of Arsenal in the battle for fourth place, as the club’s official Twitter feed reported:
The big Belgian has been in the goalscoring form on his life since arriving on Merseyside, and OptaJoe revealed just how prolific he’s been via Twitter:
30 - Only 3 players (Suarez 52, Van Persie 37, Sturridge 31) have scored more league goals than Romelu Lukaku since August 2012. Presence.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 6, 2014
Over Everton’s last five seasons, the highest goalscorer has been Louis Saha with 15 in the 2009/10 season, and Lukaku needs just two more to match the Frenchman.
Lukaku’s performance put Everton on course to qualify for their first Champions League campaign since 2005/06, lying just one point behind the Gunners with a game in hand.
The Toffees must welcome both Manchester clubs to Goodison Park in the middle of some generous closing fixtures, and if they can keep Lukaku in red-hot form, they may just be in action among Europe’s elite next season.
Steven Gerrard, 13 goals
The Liverpool skipper is on the brink of orchestrating the most remarkable title-winning campaign in Premier League history.
Gerrard’s commanding performances in the heart of midfield have put the Reds top of the league with just five matches to go, and his season was epitomised by a superb display at West Ham on Sunday.
The England captain scored two penalties either side of a Guy Demel goal to give Liverpool a crucial victory. He’s found endless joy from the penalty spot this season, as OptaJoe revealed via Twitter:
10 - Steven Gerrard has now scored 10 penalties in the PL this season, only Andrew Johnson (11 in 2004-05) has ever hit more. Spot.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 6, 2014
Following the match, Gerrard spoke to BBC Sport and said that the players are focused on nothing else but taking the season week by week:
We want this really bad and we showed that in the second half. I'm not convinced that we will win the league yet. We have five games left and they are all huge. If we beat Man City next week then all that will give us is three more points.
Next week’s match against Manchester City is the very definition of a title-decider, with Liverpool the only team able to directly halt the progress of Manuel Pellegrini’s rampant side.
Liverpool strikers Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge have stolen the headlines for their goalscoring exploits this season, notching 49 league goals between them, but Gerrard’s contribution in front of goal shouldn’t go unnoticed.
It’s already Gerrard’s best goal haul since the 2008/09 season, and with his brace at West Ham, he’s fired himself into the league’s top 10.
With the 33-year-old more determined than ever to get his hands on the Premier League trophy, don’t be surprised to see a few more rattling in off of the Liverpudlian’s talented right boot.