The golden boot race is taking shape after Manchester United’s Robin van Persie and Newcastle hitman Demba Ba became front-runners on seven strikes each as they bagged vital goals for their respective clubs on Sunday.
It is no surprise to see last year’s Premier League top scorer, Van Persie, with odds now as low as 2/1 to retain the title following his goal in the Red Devils’ thrilling 3-2 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
United are currently operating in almost constant all-out attack mode to make up for a lack of control in midfield and gaps in defence, and the Dutch master finisher is sure to have plenty more opportunities to net before the end of May.
However, the unpredictability of a long football season and its potential impact on both a club and an individual player is something that those odds neglect, giving some great value among Van Persie’s rivals for the golden boot.
Ba is chief among those and his price was cut from 16/1 to 14/1 after a sublime volley in the Magpies’ 2-1 win over West Brom placed him at the top of the pack with Van Persie.
Given that his club have generally struggled to recreate their form of last season thus far, Ba’s haul is arguably more impressive than the total notched by Van Persie and should things start to fall into place on Tyneside, taking that 14/1 could prove one of the bargain bets of the season.
One of the factors keeping Ba’s odds so long is that he was also at the front of the golden boot running at the halfway point last season before fading away with some miserable form in the new year.
That turnaround came after an arduous trip to the African Cup of Nations in January with Senegal, something Ba will not repeat this season after the ‘Lions of Teranga’ failed to qualify.
Punters registering with bwin can claim a free £20 bet and placing this on Ba to win the golden boot would return a cool £300 if the former West Ham man is top of the scoring charts come the end of the season.
Luis Suarez is just behind the top two goalscorers on six strikes, although the Uruguayan could have been locked in a three-way tie with Van Persie and Ba if his last-minute goal against Everton at Goodison Park had not been wrongly chalked off for offside.
Suarez, who had already got himself on the scoresheet earlier in Liverpool’s eventual 2-2 draw with their Merseyside rivals, is now a 8/1 chance to land the golden boot, having been 10/1 prior to the weekend.
Given that Brendan Rodgers’ Reds are showing signs of improving their supply to the front man and remain dependent on him to deliver the goals, he could prove a canny option at that price.