Predicting the Top 10 Goal Scorers in the Premier League This Season
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Last season the Golden Boot was shared between former Manchester United teammates Dimitar Berbatov and Carlos Tevez.
With a strong possibility that one or even both of these players may depart the Premier League before the transfer window closes, here are my predictions for who will be the top 10 goal scorers for the 2011-12 Premier League season.
10. Kenwyne Jones
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I think Stoke will really progress this season; they have made some good signings and are likely to make more before the transfer window closes.
On his day Kenwyne Jones is unstoppable; he as all the attributes to be a success but his attitude has occasionally come into question.
He scored nine league goals in 34 league appearances last season. At 26, he is approaching his peak as a player and I think he will finally fulfill his potential this year and surpass his previous goal scoring records.
9. Demba Ba
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Demba Ba hasn't yet settled into a Newcastle team who have had a turbulent summer. However, he had an excellent record with West Ham (better than a goal every other game) and has scored goals everywhere he has been.
Newcastle have a very creative midfield and I'm confident Ba will start finding the net on a regular basis.
While his injury record will be a concern, when he is fit he will almost certainly be first choice in a team desperately lacking quality striking options.
8. Andy Carroll
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Andy Carroll may not have impressed much since his move from Newcastle but it is only a matter of time before he starts to reproduce the form that saw his value soar to £35 million.
The team is now better suited to provide ammunition for the giant Geordie; with Downing, Adam, Gerrard and Enrique in the squad Andy Carroll will definitely score a lot of goals.
Carroll managed 13 EPL goals in 24 appearances last season. If he stays fit, he will surely manage at least 20 for Liverpool before next summer.
7. Robin van Persie
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With the departure of Fabregas and Nasri's impending exit, Arsenal need a big season from Robin van Persie.
Van Persie is without doubt one of the best forwards in the division but unfortunately for Arsenal, he has all too often been unavailable through injury.
He managed to score an amazing 18 goals in 25 EPL games last season. If he can stay fit and maintain anywhere near that kind of form, he could top the goal-scoring charts come May.
6. Daniel Sturridge
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I have placed Daniel Sturridge at No. 6 due to uncertainty as to where his future lies. If he gets a loan or permanent move to another EPL club, he way well be in contention for the Golden Boot; he managed a very impressive eight goals in 12 games for Bolton last season.
If he stays at Chelsea, his opportunities may be more limited. That said, there is a chance that, with Anelka and Drogba coming to the end of their careers, Villas-Boas may give Sturridge the opportunity to form a partnership with Fernando Torres.
It will be easier to make a call on just how many goals Sturridge is likely to score this season when the transfer window closes. If he gets games, he will score goals.
5. Darren Bent
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Darren Bent will be the main man for Aston Villa this season. Alex McLeish couldn't find a goal scorer at Birmingham and that cost them relegation, so he will have been ecstatic to inherit Bent at Villa.
Bent scored nine goals in 17 games for a poor Villa side last season and while he will miss the supply line from Downing and Young, I believe McLeish will tailor his tactics to suit Bent's style.
Bent will always score goals and has no real competition for places. If he stays fit and Villa have a good season, he could be the league's top scorer.
4. Wayne Rooney
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Alex Ferguson has reinvigorated his squad this summer and I think the new additions will help Rooney recapture the form he showed in 2009-10.
Rooney appears to have settled down after his personal problems and the contract/transfer issues last year. He is off the mark already for this season and I expect Rooney to be in a rich vein of form going into the European Championships in the summer.
He always seems to pick up an injury at some point and this may prevent him from winning the Golden Boot but I think he will come close.
3. Javier Hernandez
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Javier Hernandez was arguably the signing of the year last season as Alex Ferguson unearthed another gem.
Chicharito scored 20 goals in 45 appearances last season and has also scored 10 goals in nine games for Mexico in 2011.
Having settled in so quickly last year, I expect Hernandez to excel this season. He is a natural goal scorer and with Manchester United looking a very good bet to win the league, I think he will score a lot of goals.
The only thing I think may prove a problem for him is competition for places. With Rooney, Berbatov and Welbeck all available, Hernandez isn't likely to feature in as many league games as the likes of Bent or Ba.
2. Luis Suarez
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Luis Suarez has looked sensational since joining Liverpool and at just 24 years old, the Uruguayan still has his best years ahead of him.
If the Carroll-and-Suarez partnership can gel, it could be reminiscent of Toshack-and-Keegan and with a supply line featuring the likes of Adam and Downing, they will certainly get plenty of goal-scoring opportunities.
Suarez only got four goals in 13 games for Liverpool last season but having settled in, I think we will see him find the net a lot more regularly this season. He scored 49 goals in 48 games for Ajax in 2009-10 and while it may be impossible to emulate that in England, I fully expect him to be at the top end of the scoring charts in May.
1. Sergio Aguero
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Sergio Aguero is the most exciting Premier League signing of the summer (so far at least).
While some players take time to settle into English football, I don't think Aguero will have that problem; he is simply too talented.
Two goals and an assist during a 30-minute cameo against Swansea showed just what he is capable of and I believe the Premier League will finally have a superstar to rival the likes of Messi and Ronaldo.
Aguero managed to score 20 goals in 32 league appearances for Atletico Madrid last season; I'd expect him to easily surpass that total at City this term. He might just have the talent to turn Manchester City into league champions.