When Manchester United’s Robin van Persie struck in first-half injury time against Everton this weekend, many pundits declared the Premier League title race over. What has seemingly escaped the public consciousness is that the Dutchman’s effort also means he now has one hand on the Golden Boot.
Having broken out of a three-game mini-slump with the second goal in Sunday’s win for United, RVP now has 19 league goals for 2012/13 and appears on track to break his single season best of 30.
Even if Sir Alex Ferguson shuffles his pack in between the upcoming Champions League two-legged clash with Real Madrid, with United’s next five league games against bottom-half sides (QPR, Norwich, West Ham, Reading and Sunderland) Van Persie will fancy his chances of getting on the scoresheet when he plays and this makes his current top scorer price of 4/6 look an absolute no-brainer.
Much as Manchester City’s recent slip-ups against QPR, Liverpool and Southampton have made Man Utd’s job easier, Van Persie’s grip on the Golden Boot has equally been strengthened by back-to-back blanks from 17-goal Luis Suarez (who remains 11/4 to be top scorer) and an injury to 14-goal Demba Ba (16/1).
But while outside hope Michu got back on the goalscorer trail with the opener against QPR and is now at 12/1, the biggest threat to Van Persie’s position at the top looks to be the fast-charging Gareth Bale.
Spurs’ Welsh wizard has been on fire of late, with his double against Newcastle his fourth in three games and his thirteenth of the season, as he seems to single-handledly be keeping Andre Villas Boas’ injury-hit side in Champions League contention.
With Jermain Defoe’s injury and Emmanuel Adebayor still recovering match fitness since returning from Africa, the scoring burden rests more heavily than ever on Bale but as he appears to be thriving on that situation.
Odds of 33/1 for the Welshman to become the first winger to be top scorer since Cristiano Ronaldo therefore look worth at least a small wager.
Despite missing out on the chance for more if they’d backed my call on Bale last week, new customers backing the Welshman with the free £20 bet they receive when registering with bwin still stand to win a very healthy £680 should the Spurs man manage to catch and overtake RVP.