Two events that could shape this season’s battle to be Premier League top goalscorer take place in the north-west today.
One is whether Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney can justify their billing as potentially one of the all-time great strike partnerships in Manchester United’s season opener against Everton at Goodison Park tonight.
The other will be when United’s title rivals Manchester City find out the extent of the knee injury that forced Sergio Aguero off the pitch against Southampton yesterday.
With United’s capture of Van Persie highlighting the club’s commitment to playing attacking football, the settled Rooney looks to be the best bet to thrive in front of goal this season.
Should Van Persie and Rooney shine tonight, odds on either one of them becoming 2012/13 top goalscorer will surely be cut. The pair were top of the pack last season with 30 and 27 goals respectively.
With both priced at 8/1 to be top scorer this time around, my instinct would be to support Rooney.
Van Persie first needs to prove that he can avoid the curse of failing to adapt to a new club. Adjusting to a new style of play and no longer being the sole focal point of attack can sometimes take all the venom out of a deadly frontman.
Aguero’s billing as 8/1 joint favourite might end if scan results show that the Argentine faces a sustained spell on the sidelines. That could help the credentials of team-mate Carlos Tevez in the top scoring race, another 8/1 man, providing he avoids any more spats with Roberto Mancini.
Tevez is the only one of a pack of five favourites to have found the net so far.
Fernando Torres, who completes the quintet, couldn’t net as Chelsea won 2-0 at Wigan. The rejuvenated Spaniard could become a strong contender though now he is the lead striker at the club after Didier Drogba’s move to China.
Looking down the field for value, Demba Ba’s 25/1 odds forget that he was up at the top of the goalscorer’s chart last season before departing for the Africa Cup of Nations. The Newcastle striker also opened his account on Saturday with a stunning curler against Tottenham.
Arsene Wenger put a downer on Arsenal’s hopes when admitting that Van Persie would have scored a chance that fell to replacement striker Olivier Giroud against Sunderland.
But given the Gunners have added Santi Cazorla to the midfield that helped RVP to the top scorer’s accolade last season, Giroud’s odds of 25/1, along with the 33/1 for fellow new signing Lukas Podolski, could look extremely generous if they and Arsenal fulfil their potential.
However, with United’s capture of Van Persie highlighting the club’s commitment to playing attacking football, the settled Rooney looks to be the best bet to thrive in front of goal this season.
Recommended bet: Wayne Rooney to be Premier League top scorer @ 8/1
New customers can register here to claim a free £20 bet or click here to see all our Premier League odds.
Follow us on Twitter @bwin