Napoli's Gonzalo Higuain continues to top the standings in the race for the 2015-16 Golden Shoe as he scored past both Lazio and Carpi in the Partenopei's last two games to take his points tally to 48 points.
A brace against Belenenses saw Benfica forward Jonas climb the rankings to second, while Leicester City's Jamie Vardy made similar gains as he entered the top 10 with two goals in the Foxes' win over Liverpool in midweek.
Karim Benzema's goal against Granada on Sunday pulled him level with Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo.
Here are the full standings:
|Position||Player||Team||Goals x Factor||Points|
|1||Gonzalo Higuain||Napoli||24 x 2||48.0|
|2||Jonas||Benfica||23 x 2||46.0|
|T3||Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang||Borussia Dortmund||20 x 2||40.0|
|T3||Luis Suarez||Barcelona||20 x 2||40.0|
|T4||Robert Lewandowski||Bayern Munich||19 x 2||38.0|
|T4||Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid||19 x 2||38.0|
|T4||Karim Benzema||Real Madrid||19 x 2||38.0|
|T5||Jamie Vardy||Leicester City||18 x 2||36.0|
|T5||Eran Zahavi||Maccabi Tel Aviv||24 x 1.5||36.0|
|T6||Alex Teixeira||Shakhtar Donetsk||22 x 1.5||33.0|
Each league is given a difficulty ranking between one and two based on UEFA's coefficients—which is then multiplied by the number of goals scored to achieve a player's overall points tally.
For example, the likes of the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga and the Bundesliga are all among Europe's top leagues, and so their players' goal tallies are doubled thanks to a difficulty ranking of two. Meanwhile, Alex Teixeira's 22 goals are multiplied by a constant of 1.5 as they were scored in the Ukrainian top flight.
Benzema Shines While Ronaldo Struggles Again
Benzema netted for the 19th time in La Liga this season on Sunday night as Los Blancos travelled to the Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes in a bid to keep pace with title rivals Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
The Frenchman found the net after half an hour when Dani Carvajal found himself in acres of space on the right flank, and the Spaniard made no mistake in picking out the striker at the near post to tap in with consummate ease.
Football journalist Dermot Corrigan revealed the extent of his impressive form, while fellow journalist Ben Hayward noted the forward has been one of Zinedine Zidane's most reliable performers upon taking the hot seat at the Santiago Bernabeu:
Benzema has scored in six consecutive games - 16 goals in his last 11, 23 goals in 22 in all. Opened scoring 11 times this term too.— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) February 7, 2016
Benzema maintains record of scoring in every game for Zidane so far. Seven goals in those five for Karim and first scorer in four of them.— Ben Hayward (@bghayward) February 7, 2016
By contrast, Ronaldo had a night to forget as he contributed little up front, either in the build-up or as a goal threat.
Corrigan noted it is not the first time the Portuguese has struggled on the road this season, while Agence France-Presse's Kieran Canning gave a strong and blunt assessment:
Ronaldo having another very difficult game away from Bernabeu. Struggling to get involved at all.— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) February 7, 2016
Ronaldo has been atrocious— Kieran Canning (@KieranCanning) February 7, 2016
Indeed, perhaps his most notable contribution came in the first half when Luka Modric set him away on the left, but the 31-year-old could not even find the target when he had a fairly strong chance to score.
As Sky Sports Statto revealed, he did not have his shooting boots on:
Cristiano Ronaldo failed to register an attempt on target for only the 3rd time in 23 La Liga apps this season pic.twitter.com/mznqGmGGU6— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) February 7, 2016
Despite netting 19 goals in La Liga this season, Madridistas may have cause for concern as Spanish football expert Sergi Dominguez revealed:
Ronaldo has scored 50% of his goals this season vs Espanyol & Malmö. And 0% vs Barça, Athletic, Atleti, PSG, Sevilla, Valencia & Villarreal.— Sergi Domínguez (@FutbolSergi) February 1, 2016
With Athletic Bilbao, Malaga and Atletico Madrid all to come in February, Ronaldo will need to rediscover his ability to make the difference in key games.
Higuain Continues to Lead
As the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Luis Suarez—not to mention Jamie Vardy—continue to prove, it's been a great campaign for strikers around Europe.
None more so than Higuain when it comes to league games, and the Argentinian has added two more to his haul in the last week.
First, he scored from close range against Lazio after playing a neat one-two with Jose Callejon. BeIN Sport's Matteo Bonetti captured the moment:
Higuain. 23 goals in 23 matches— Matteo Bonetti (@TheCalcioGuy) February 3, 2016
Then, after Carpi's Fabio Daprela scythed down Kalidou Koulibaly inside the area, there was only one man to step up and convert the resulting spot-kick, per Squawka Football:
Gonzalo Higuain scores his 24th goal in his 24th Serie A game of the season.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 7, 2016
Can't stop scoring right now. pic.twitter.com/8Qp2dcf24Q
Higuain has now scored in six successive games in Serie A, netting eight goals in that time.
Dominguez heaped praise on the striker, though journalist Gabriele Marcotti was unsurprised at Higuain's form:
Higuain has now scored against every Serie A team he has faced. Credit where it's due, been terrific for Napoli this season.— Sergi Domínguez (@FutbolSergi) February 7, 2016
Higuain for you... https://t.co/9kj0eXflbG— Gabriele Marcotti (@Marcotti) February 7, 2016
Meanwhile, writer David Amoyal noted the 28-year-old is just one of several Napoli players to improve under Maurizio Sarri:
So many Napoli players vastly improved under Sarri including Koulibaly, Jorginho, Insigne, Higuain and Hamsik— David Amoyal (@DavidAmoyal) February 3, 2016
Table-topping Napoli face second-placed Juventus in their next Serie A match—one that won't yet decide the title but could serious implications.
The Bianconeri have conceded just 15 goals all season, but with Higuain in red-hot form, they may find themselves unable to stop him.