Robin van Persie goes into Euro 2012 as the favourite to be the tournament’s top goalscorer from the Premier League at 5/2, but it could be his new teammate at Arsenal Lukas Podolski who is the best bet to emerge as the English top flight’s leading hotshot.
Van Persie’s goalscoring record for Arsenal is not in doubt here – 30 league goals in 38 appearances is good by anyone’s standards.
Indeed, in this department the Dutch striker outstrips his new colleague at the Emirates, with Podolski scoring a meagre 18 goals in 29 appearances in the Bundesliga for former side Cologne last season.
However, it is the two players’ respective records at international record which suggests the advantage lies with the German player in the race to be the Premier League’s top scorer in Poland and Ukraine, making him a particularly good bet at odds of 7/1.
It is very much a case of cometh the tournament, cometh the man for Podolski.
Although both players have similar strike rates when playing for their national teams (0.43 goals a game for Van Persie and 0.44 goals a game for Podolski), only one has managed to shine when playing at an international tournament.
Indeed, it is very much a case of cometh the tournament, cometh the man for Podolski, who was named best young player at the 2006 World Cup ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi after scoring three goals in seven appearances for Germany.
He followed this up with three goals in six appearances at Euro 2008 and two in six at World Cup 2010.
This means that he has scored eight goals in 19 appearances in his last three tournaments at a strike rate of 0.42 goals a game.
Van Persie, meanwhile, has been far less prolific at tournament level, with just four goals in 15 appearances at a strike rate of 0.27 goals a game.
It should also be noted that, while he scored six goals in six starts for Holland in their Euro 2012 qualification campaign, four of those strikes came against minnows San Marino.
Not only that, but the recent goalscoring form of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in orange means Van Persie, while assured of a place in the team, is not guaranteed to start as Holland’s main striker when the Dutch begin their Euro 2012 campaign against Denmark on Saturday, June 9th.
So while Van Persie might be favourite, the smart money could be on Podolski at 7/1, with a successful £25 free bet on the German to be the top-scoring Premier League player at Euro 2012 set to return £200.
Of course, there are candidates other than Van Persie and Podolski, with Fernando Torres heading the queue of viable alternatives.
Like his rivals at Arsenal, Torres also plays a team tipped for an extended run in the tournament, and one that scores plenty of goals at that.
However, although it looks increasingly likely that he will start up front, Torres’ place in the Spain starting XI is far from certain.
The same can be said for Italy’s Mario Balotelli (9/1), England’s Andy Carroll (14/1) and Danny Welbeck (16/1), while the Three Lions’ Wayne Rooney (16/1) is hampered by a two-game suspension.
Outsiders include Croatia’s Nikica Jelavic (14/1), who showed his goalscoring prowess for Everton last season after signing for the club in the January transfer window, and Spain’s David Silva (18/1), who has scored five goals in his last six games for the reigning world and European champions.
However, with Podolski’s tournament reputation to consider and the fact he is playing for the attack-minded Germans, he looks set to give Arsenal fans reason to believe ahead of the new Premier League season.
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