Football News

No Salah, no Vardy: Joe Cole predicts two-horse race between Ronaldo and Lukaku for Golden Boot

By Ben Green

Published: 12:18, 21 October 2021

Joe Cole believes this season’s Premier League Golden Boot race will be a two-way battle between Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku and Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

As it stands, two-time Golden Boot recipient Mohamed Salah and 2020 winner Jamie Vardy are the early pace-setters for top scorer after eight games, with the duo netting seven goals apiece, and the former creating headlines with some absolute pearlers.

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Michail Antonio and Sadio Mane are clinging to the coattails of the early chart-toppers with five goals each, while six players complete the top 10 after bagging four goals: Roberto Firmino, Son Heung-Min, Neal Maupay, Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes and Ismaila Sarr.

Despite neither Lukaku or Ronaldo making up the current top 10, with the former currently on a four-game scoring drought in the Premier League, and the latter firing a blank in each of his previous three matches in the competition, Cole has tipped them to find form soon.

Asked who will score the most this season between Lukaku and Ronaldo, Cole responded: “I think it could be either of them. I think they will be the number one and number two [in the league].

“Out of them two I think it’ll be the one who doesn’t pick up an injury. I think they will consistently score goals throughout, and they’ll be neck and neck.”

It may be a case that neither Lukaku or Ronaldo are currently in the top 10 for the Golden Boot as things stand, but based on their expected goals (xG) in 2021/22, they really should be, with the latter boasting the fifth-best xG this term (3.67), and the former having the sixth-best (3.37).

It should be noted, though, that each player has netted three goals, so their current standing in the scoring charts is largely dictated by other players outperforming their expected goals, chiefly Greenwood, Fernandes, Firmino and Son who have xGs of 1.48, 2.26, 2.34 and 2.41 respectively (all have scored four goals).

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