Is Sergio Aguero a certainty to win the Premier League Golden Boot?


Sergio Agüero is one of the Premier League’s most prolific strikers. He already has eight goals to his name this season, and looks set to once again be in the race for the Premier League Golden Boot.

110 of Agüero’s 150 goals at Manchester City have come in the Premier League. The 28-year-old from Buenos Aires has scored at a decent rate of about 21 goals a season in the Premier League. However, that hasn’t translated into regular Golden Boots for him.

Ever since he arrived at Manchester in the summer of 2011, Agüero has only once finished a season as the Premier League top scorer. His 26 goals in 2014/15 weren’t enough for Manchester City’s title defence, but handed him his first and, thus far, only Golden Boot in England.

Agüero last won the Golden Boot in 2014/15.
Agüero last won the Golden Boot in 2014/15.

Whether it’s been Robin van Persie or Luis Suárez or Harry Kane, Agüero has faced stiff competition in his bid for the Premier League Golden Boot over the years. This season as well, Diego Costa’s resurgence at Chelsea marks the Spaniard out as Agüero’s main rival for the top scorer gong.

Costa has scored nine goals this term, one more than Agüero. Unlike Agüero, none of Costa’s goals have come from penalties. Agüero has scored three penalties so far. As far as the Premier League Golden Boot race goes, Agüero and Costa are well set to be in contention come the season’s end.

We have seen Agüero score truckloads of goals in the past, but other strikers have scored more than him in four of his five Premier League campaigns. Costa may be the one who plays the role of denying Agüero the Golden Boot this season, a reason why we can’t just definitively conclude that Agüero could stroll his way to being the Premier League top scorer.

Another factor which might hamper Agüero’s pursuit of the Golden Boot is his manager Pep Guardiola’s eclectic choices. Guardiola is a managerial maverick, having already raised eyebrows during his short time in England.

If Guardiola’s decision to bench Agüero for City’s Champions League game at Barcelona is anything to go by, we might see more instances of the Argentinian striker cooling his heels on the bench this season. After all, Guardiola was the one who made the concept of “false nine” famous with his deployment of Lionel Messi as a free centre-forward at Barça.

It isn’t to say that Guardiola doesn’t prefer Agüero, as the other pure centre-forward at City is the Nigerian hot prospect Kelechi Iheanacho. Given Agüero’s experience and big game mentality, there is no reason to believe City are better off without him in the side.

City have created the second most chances in the Premier League this season, behind only Liverpool. Considering Liverpool don’t play a recognised centre-forward, the chances of Agüero finishing the season as the league’s top scorer is high as his team-mates behind him are very good at creating chances.

Also, the fact that Agüero is City’s designated penalty-taker makes it easier for him to score six or seven more goals than someone like Costa. Compared to open play goals, penalties are relatively easier opportunities for strikers to add to their goal tallies.

All those factors add up in Agüero’s favour as the best bet for the Golden Boot, but events of the past remind us of the fact that it isn’t the favourite that always wins.

Injuries have blighted Agüero’s career in the past. After his roof-blowing start to life in the Premier League in 2011/12, Agüero missed 28 games through various injuries in the last four seasons. In the 2012/13 and 2013/14 seasons combined, he didn’t feature in 17 league games through injury and ended with a measly return of 29 goals.

Agüero’s reputation of being injury-prone is another reason to not mark him as a certainty to win the Golden Boot. Last season too, he missed six games through injury, and finished runner-up to Kane in the top scorer’s race.

11 games into the 2016/17 Premier League season, Agüero has been one of the goalscoring pace-setters. But considering his knack for picking up injuries, as well as Guardiola’s penchant for making bold calls, it will be no surprise to see Agüero not win the Golden Boot this season. Nothing is a certainty at this stage of the season, which also includes the Golden Boot winner.

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