Sometimes it’s hard work being stood on the terraces, especially at this time of year. Stood cheering on your side, freezing cold. Knees numb, fingers as icy as Pierluigi Collina’s eyes, feet feeling like they’d want to escape and rest themselves in the warm stands of Malaga.
Except, whilst February might be approaching the minuses in the crowd, the pitch has its own micro-climate, because the Premier League is hotting up, none more so than in the race for the Golden Boot.
There have been some ruthless finishers in the top flight this season, with Diego Costa scoring seven goals in his first four games. It looked like that was the race over with 34 games still to play, but with 19 of those taken up, the tortoise is certainly approaching the hair, well if you can call Sergio Aguero and Alexi Sanchez tortoises.
We take a look at who might be crossing the line to win Gold come May…
With 17 in 19 so far this season – his first in the Premier League – it’s fair to say Diego Costa has taken the league by storm. The former Atletico Madrid man is odds- on favourite with Bet Fred and doesn’t show any sign of letting up on the goals.
His partnership with Cesc Fabregas has already become one of the most lethal in Premier League history, and hats can certainly be tipped towards Jose Mourinho for his work in the market this summer.
Pressure will be on the man from Aguero, particularly with Costa’s recent three match ban which will see him miss further games against Aston Villa, and Everton, but if he continues in this vein of form, it’ll be incredibly tight.
And speaking of a rich vein of form, Harry Kane is propelling himself up the Golden Boot table quicker than he’s putting them in the back of the net. The 21-year-old has put in some stellar performances this season bagging 10 goals in only 13 starts including an impressive brace and man of the match performance in Tottenham’s 5-3 win over Chelsea.
It’ll take some catching up for Kane but if Aguero’s knee problems continue and Costa’s ill-discipline and injury issues continue then he’s in with a chance and could become the first Englishman to top score in 15 years when Kevin Phillips banged in 30.
One man looking to join the likes of Phillips, Cole, Owen, and Shearer will be QPR’s Charlie Austin. He’s contributed over half of the R’s goals this season, netting 13 times, including a hat-trick in their 3-2 win over West Brom.
He will of course be more focussed on getting his side out of the bottom three and remaining in the Premier League, but the more goals he scores the more likely that will happen. No pressure Charlie…
Perhaps one of the signings of the season, Alexis Sanchez has been a revelation scoring 12 and laying on 7 in just 20 Premier League starts.
When started in attacking midfield positions he’s been phenomenal hitting home 10 in nine games and has been a major part in the Gunners winning seven of their last eight. The Chilean will have a major part to play in Arsene Wenger’s men finishing inside the top four, and with Giroud, Walcott, and Ozil back in the frame, they’ll be plenty of talent to play him through.
With 14 goals in 15 games and four assists, Aguero may have the edge on Diego Costa, despite his flying start. Just three goals behind the Spaniard, the Argentinian is right on the Chelsea man’s heels and will be instrumental in City’s attempts to retain the title.
His lethal finishing has played a huge part on City remaining only five points behind Jose Mourinho’s men and following 2012’s dramatic finale, he fights to the very end.
Surprisingly, Aguero has yet to win the Golden Boot with third being his highest placed finish. Surely it’s only a matter of time?