Free-scoring golden shoe contenders mean if EPL is marathon, it’s at WR pace

By Jonathan White Source:Global Times Published: 2017/9/26 22:43:41

We're a mere six weeks into the English Premier League (EPL) season, but three men have already set their stalls out when it comes to the race for this campaign's golden boot. Sergio Aguero of Manchester City, Romelu Lukaku of Manchester United and Chelsea's Alvaro Morata all have six goals in as many games.

It's a good remarkable return from each of them when put into the context of the campaign.

Aguero was not expected to play that much at Manchester City this season, let alone average better than a goal a game. He has one every 78 minutes so far, the best in the Premier League, based on his minutes on the pitch. What would you expect from a man who has hit over 20 league goals in four of his six seasons with City and double figures in the other two?

For Lukaku, the jury was out following his move from Everton to ­Manchester United but, much as he did when he swapped West Bromwich Albion for Goodison Park, the Belgian has simply gone about his business. Last season was the first time he scored more than 20 times in the league, but he ­managed double figures in each of the four seasons prior despite playing in struggling Everton and West Brom sides.

In spite of the goals that the 24-year-old has already scored at this level, there was a feeling by some that he may be found out at Old Trafford. Instead, he has scored in five of his side's six Premier League games - only Leicester City have kept him out - and matched Louis Saha's record of six goals in his first six league games for United. Based on this start he might yet top his best of 25 last season and make the 75 million pound ($101 million) transfer fee look a snip.

If Lukaku was doubted, then ­Morata was viewed with similar skepticism based on the fact that he had not played in the Premier League before moving to Chelsea. He has done much to quiet the naysayers with his start - and he started the first game on the bench. Last weekend's treble against Stoke City was an indication of his talents in front of goal, and he has kept pace with Lukaku and Aguero without the supply of Eden ­Hazard, who is still out injured.

It's early days, and we're not even a quarter of the way into the season and the weather has not yet turned in England. But based on the starts that these players and their teams have made, it would not be outlandish to say that the player who wins the race for the Premier League golden boot may also have a shiny league winner's medal at the end of the season.

Certainly, if Aguero or Morata can grab the winning goal when their sides meet at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening, then the points - and that goal - might prove vital come May.

But before they meet, Lukaku will be hoping to fill his size 13.5 boots against the goalless, pointless Crystal Palace when they visit Old Trafford earlier in the afternoon. Goals from him would take United top and move him ahead in the scoring standings. It might still be September but the race is afoot.

The author is a Shanghai-based freelance writer. jmawhite@gmail.com

Posted in: SOCCER,EXTRA TIME

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