Hamstrung Chelsea striker Diego Costa was forced to take a spectators’ berth at the weekend as his Blues colleagues recorded a 1-0 win over Manchester United.
The victory moved Jose Mourinho’s men to within two wins of the Premier League title, but any post-match elation Costa savoured was undoubtedly diluted the following day when both of the Spanish striker’s Golden Boot rivals found the back of the net to move one goal clear of his tally.
Sergio Aguero and Harry Kane were tied with the former Atletico Madrid man on 19 strikes ahead of game 33, but the pair both registered in their respective matches against West Ham and Newcastle to move onto 20 for the campaign.
As a result, the former has moved into short-price, 7/10 favouritism to finish the season having outscored his contemporaries, while the latter weighs in at 6/5 to claim the laurels.
A consequence of the duo’s prices getting blasted with the shrink ray is Costa’s odds to be crowned Premier League top scorer have ballooned to an enormous 14/1.
These are numbers punters in the know can’t ignore, despite the Brazilian-born marksman’s injury concerns.
Such a sizeable price indicates the Chelsea star’s chances of landing the gong are barely existent, but this couldn’t be further from the case.
Scheduled to be sidelined for the remainder of the month, the 26-year-old will miss two more matches with Arsenal and Leicester set to face the Blues before May hits.
Even at this late stage missing two matches isn’t that big of a deal, for the latter fixture at the King Power Stadium is the game in-hand the west Londoners have following their involvement in the Capital One Cup final.
This means Costa’s adversaries in the Golden Boot battle will only play once more before he returns to action, where he’ll have three home matches to swell the coffers.
As far as his competitors are concerned, Aguero is forever one sharp direction-change away from a muscle tear, while Kane (who would be sat on three matches without a goal were it not for an injury-time finish against hapless Newcastle) must breach some of the division’s most stringent backlines if he wants to build on his total of 20 net bulges so far.
Tottenham’s final five opponents include Southampton, Manchester City, Stoke and Everton, all of whom the England youngster was unable to register against in the corresponding fixtures.