Talking Tactics

Golden Boot race: How the contenders compare

By Adrian Clarke 27 Mar 2021

Adrian Clarke analyses the stats for the players vying to be this season's top scorer

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Adrian Clarke analyses the leading contenders for the 2020/21 Premier League Golden Boot.

2020/21 Golden Boot contenders
Player Goals
Harry Kane 17
Mohamed Salah 17
Bruno Fernandes 16
Patrick Bamford 14
Dominic Calvert-Lewin 14
Harry Kane (TOT) 17 goals

Kane is the most complete striker in contention to land this season’s Golden Boot.

Tottenham Hotspur's talisman has been operating in a slightly deeper role this season and taken on added responsibilities, meaning he spends less time inside the box.

His tally of 13 assists so far is a testament to his all-round contribution.

Yet Kane has still enjoyed an exceptional campaign in front of goal, again showcasing his all-round finishing ability.

Harry Kane Total PL ranking
Goals outside box 4 =1st
Goals inside box 13 4th
Right-footed goals 11 2nd
Headed goals 4 =2nd

No player has scored from outside the box more often than Kane, who has four such strikes, level with Southampton’s free-kick specialist James Ward-Prowse.

And four of his 17 goals have been headers, with only Dominic Calvert-Lewin beating that figure.

Kane goal v Crystal Palace

Kane leads the way among the Golden Boot contenders for expected goals (xG) in open play, but he has also finished some very difficult chances this season.

Indeed, he has scored 5.27 more goals than expected according to the quality of the opportunities he has had.

Harry Kane
Open-play goals 13
Open-play xG 7.73
Difference 5.27
Mohamed Salah (LIV) 17 goals

Salah has been Liverpool’s away-day specialist this season, scoring 10 times on the road.

That tally represents a 38.4 per cent share of all the goals the Reds have struck away from Anfield.

No Premier League player has scored more often away from home, and Salah will hope that success continues when he visits Arsenal in Matchweek 30.

Most away goals Total Team share
Mohamed Salah 10 38.4%
Jamie Vardy 9 32.1%
Patrick Bamford 9 34.6%

While six of Salah’s strikes have been from the penalty spot, the Egyptian has still been Liverpool’s most consistent goal threat throughout a difficult campaign.

He has more touches inside the opposition box than any other PL player, and his left foot is the deadliest in the competition.

Salah has 16 left-footed goals to his name, with Patrick Bamford (10) and Riyad Mahrez (seven) his closest challengers in that department.

Salah goals v West Ham
Bruno Fernandes (MUN) 16 goals

Manchester United midfielder Fernandes is a surprise candidate to win this season’s Golden Boot.

Half of his 16 goals have been penalties, but he has also chipped in with some excellent efforts from open play.

While Fernandes has only scored from one of 56 shots from outside the box, a stunning chip at home against Everton. he tends to be clinical when he arrives in the danger zone.

His finishes after bursting runs into the box against West Bromwich Albion, Leicester City, Southampton and Everton have outlined his credentials as a goalscoring No 10 who generally makes his chances count.

Big chances comparison
Player Big chance conversion Big chances
Bruno Fernandes 64.71% 17
Harry Kane 55.0% 20
Mohamed Salah 50.0% 22
Dominic Calvert-Lewin 48.0% 25
Patrick Bamford 29.17% 24
Patrick Bamford (LEE) 14 goals 

Bamford is loving life at the top level with Leeds United, finding the net at a faster rate than he did in the Championship last season.

Indeed, he is yet to go more than four matches without scoring this term.

While he squanders more opportunities than some of the competition's other leading strikers, Bamford’s tally of 12 goals from open play is only bettered by Kane's 13.

Season comparison 
Patrick Bamford 2019/20 2020/21
Goals 16 14
Shot conversion (exc. blocks) 12.8% 18.7%
Minutes per goal 216.5 174.4

Bamford’s first two goals this season were right-footed finishes, but since then he has found the net with a series of classy left-footed strikes, 10 in total, including a hat-trick in a 3-0 win at Aston Villa.

In addition to close-range efforts, he has scored two excellent goals from outside the box and has also run in behind the opposition to convert on several occasions.

Bamford's hat-trick v Villa
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (EVE) 14 goals

The Everton forward has delivered key moments in big matches, hitting a winner on the opening weekend at Spurs and going on to score late equalisers against Liverpool and Man Utd.

While his strike-rate has slowed after a strong start to the campaign, Calvert-Lewin has still delivered 35 per cent of the Toffees’ league goals this term.

It is worth noting that none of his goals have been from the penalty spot either. In fact if you excluded spot-kicks, Calvert-Lewin would be the joint-top scorer in the league.

Non-penalty goals
Dominic Calvert-Lewin 14
Patrick Bamford 14
Harry Kane 14
Son Heung-min 13
Mohamed Salah 11
Ilkay Gundogan 11

Calvert-Lewin's six headed goals make him the most dangerous PL striker in the air, and indeed he is one of the most lethal finishers in general.

His 14 strikes have come from just 63 shots. By comparison, the other four contenders for the Golden Boot have each attempted between 87 and 102.

Given Calvert-Lewin plays for a team that do not create stacks of chances, his progress under Carlo Ancelotti this season has been exceptional.

Also in this series

Part 1: Golden Boot: Kane and Salah lead pack with an eye on treble
Part 3: Golden Glove: Ederson under pressure in pursuit of award
Part 4: Golden Glove battle: How the contenders compare
Part 5: Playmaker award: Kane targeting rare double
Part 6: Playmaker award: How the contenders compare

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