Predicting the EPL's Top 10 Goalscorers for This Season
The weekend is almost here, and that means it's nearly time for Premier League football once again.
For some, it may seem like last season ended only a couple weeks ago. For me, it feels like it's been an eternity, not helped by the lack of transfer activity by my beloved Spurs (but that's for another time and place that allows expletives and crude grammar).
That being said, each club has high hopes for the season to come, ranging from maintaining their lives in the Premier League, battling for European places or contesting for the title.
Of course, the only way clubs can win and climb the table is by scoring goals.
Taking into account last season's tallies, preseason form and the latest transfers for each club, here are the players who I believe will plunder the most goals this season.
Honorable Mentions (i.e. Players Who Could Surprise)
If I had enough title space, I would call this slide: "Players Who Could Possibly Score 10+, But Will Most Likely Bag a Solid, Single Number of Goals."
Therefore, here are a few players who will turn heads but may not be at the top of the leader board come season's end:
Salomon Kalou, Daniel Sturridge - Chelsea
Stephen Fletcher, Jamie O'Hara - Wolves
Edin Dzeko - Manchester City
Clint Dempsey - Fulham
Gervinho - Arsenal
Grant Holt - Norwich City
DJ Campbell, Adel Taarabt, Jay Bothroyd - QPR
Lastly, before the rankings commence, I admit that I will go out on a limb on a few of these choices. In other words, there should be a few surprising names in this top 10, as well as a surprising few left out (see if you can guess the trend).
So bring on the list. And once you're finished reading, bring on the harsh criticism.
10. Dirk Kuyt, Liverpool
The Dutch-international was a given on this list for me. He always seems to find the net, whether it be through cleaning up the work of others, converting penalties or providing a calm side-footed finish inside the box.
Plus, he's good for at least one poacher's hat-trick this season.
Expected final tally: 12
9. Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, Manchester United
I have little doubt that this Mexican phenom will become a Manchester United legend.
The "Little Pea" has all the makings of a top class striker, even with his slight frame. After scoring almost a goal every two appearances for United last term, the striker seems set to rekindle his form this season.
One little problem: Chicharito could miss significant time at the beginning due to a concussion. Nevertheless, this setback should not inhibit his goalscoring touch on his return.
Expected final tally: 14
8. Jermain Defoe, Tottenham
Here's the first major wildcard.
A bounce back season must be on the cards for JD. After scoring 18 in the 2009/10 campaign, Defoe only managed a paltry four last season, possibly due to injury, but more likely a loss of form and confidence.
From his most recent comments, Defoe feels he is rediscovering his best form, and his preseason has backed up the talk.
Sure, he may not provide the exact magic of season's past, like putting five past Wigan, but he will become a household name again.
Expected final tally: 14
7. Demba Ba, Newcastle United
And here's the second.
A striker who has a definite knack for goal, Ba's short stint at West Ham proved he can handle the trials of the Premier League. An astonishing seven goals in 12 post-January transfer appearances made the Senegalese man the top scorer for the relegated East London side.
During the preseason, Ba has been a fixture in the Newcastle side and will surely maintain his place for the imminent season. With the added help of Gabriel Obertan and the ever-present Jonas Gutierrez on the wings, Ba should have constant service to aid his clever heading and finishing abilities.
Though Newcastle will most likely struggle again this year and finish mid-table, supporters should have high confidence in the man acquired on a free transfer.
Expected final tally: 15
6. Asamoah Gyan, Sunderland
The Ghanaian is a physical, pacey and clinical striker with all the makings of a top Premier League player.
Gyan definitely showed his class in his first season in English football, scoring 10 in 31 appearances. With the added experience part of his game, I think Gyan will be the top scorer for what looks to be a capable and willing Sunderland side.
Expected final tally: 15
5. Sergio Aguero, Manchester City
The most high-profile signing of the summer will be in one of the most crowded squads in the Premier League. Because the transfer sagas of Emmanuel Adebayor and Carlos Tevez have yet to be solved, Agureo joins Edin Dzeko, Mario Balotelli and the forgotten Roque Santa Cruz in a battle for starting XI places at City.
Any one of those strikers could be the first name on the team sheet for the other Premiership clubs. But as is the rich situation at City, only they can be so lucky.
Either way, I can see Aguero struggling in his first month or so, for both playing time and goals. That being said, he will discover his form in England and will be leading the City front line at the end of the season.
Expected final tally: 16
4. Darren Bent, Aston Villa
Though his finishing skills were once likened to a certain manager's missus, Darren Bent has shown his adept qualities in front of goal since leaving Tottenham for greener pastures.
After scoring a third-best 24 in the 2009/10 season, Bent added another 17 between two clubs, Sunderland and Aston Villa, last season. That total was good enough for fourth best.
Now firmly the Villans' first-choice striker, Bent will be expected to fulfill the wishes of new manager Alex McLeish. Capello even has his eye on the striker again, as he is constantly looking for someone to pair with Wayne Rooney for England.
Don't be surprised if Bent leads a strong Villa side and quickly vaults up the goalscoring table this season.
Expected final tally: 18
3. Robin Van Persie, Arsenal
There is little doubt about the class this Dutchman possesses. If he could steer clear from injury for just one full season, van Persie would be my pick for top scorer, no questions asked.
Unfortunately, for Arsenal fans that is, this situation is almost one of fairytales. There is no way I see the striker playing a full, 38-match season for Arsenal this year, and he may struggle to make 38 appearances in all competitions.
But there is no doubt the Dutchman is a lethal striker and can score in every way imaginable. Thus, he should compete for the Golden Boot this season.
Expected final tally: 21
2. Wayne Rooney, Manchester United
Time and time again, Wayne Rooney has shown he is an all-worldly striker. Even when his focus and form were questioned last season, Rooney still managed 11 in a season blighted by injuries and contract rifts.
Since the 2004/05 season, Rooney has scored no less than 11 goals per season, managing a personal best 26 two seasons ago.
I can see the England-international being nearly as productive this season, especially now that he has a few "new" hair follicles on his head.
Expected final tally: 22
1. Luis Suarez, Liverpool
Liverpool fans will certainly see more celebrations like this from their Uruguayan this season.
In his short time on Merseyside, Suarez instilled himself as a major threat for any Premier League defender. He carved apart Manchester United during Liverpool's 3-1 romp at Anfield and was unlucky not to score.
After quickly acclimating to English football and scoring at a blistering pace for his country this summer, Suarez should finish the upcoming campaign holding the Golden Boot.
Look for the Uruguayan striker to get a bit more selfish in front of goal and become the most clinical finisher in this Premiership season.
Expected final tally: 25