While slightly later than its usual mid-August start, there is a great deal of excitement for the upcoming campaign, even with continued uncertainty over when fans will be allowed back into stadiums.
With Fulham and Arsenal getting the new season underway at Craven Cottage in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off, Reach PLC’s regional sports writers, who cover Premier League clubs, were asked to pen their pre-season predictions.
When it came down to picking a Golden Boot winner, Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang emerged as a strong contender.
The 31-year-old shared the accolade with Liverpool pair Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane in 2019, but fell one shy of Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy last season.
Aubameyang finished last season in excellent form with impressive doubles in the FA Cup semi-final and final wins over Manchester City and Chelsea, respectively.
There has been plenty of speculation surrounding his future, but if he stays, there is a clear consensus that he will continue to provide goals on a regular basis.
With the new season dawning, here is a round-up of the Reach reporters backing Aubameyang to reclaim the Golden Boot.
Alex James, Burnley
If he stays then Aubameyang. He plays every week and finished last season in fine form. Harry Kane will run him close if injury free while Mo Salah and Sadio Mane will again be in the shakeup. As a dark horse and with some Burnley bias, Chris Wood could get 20 goals.
Joe Doyle, Crystal Palace
It’s difficult to look past the regular candidates, and I think Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the standout choice. Arsenal are suited completely to his style of play under Mikel Arteta, and he rarely seems to have injury problems. The main competition will likely be from Jamie Vardy and Sadio Mane, but I wouldn’t rule out Anthony Martial as an outside bet. United were free-flowing in the Premier League comeback, and if they can continue that form he’ll score a lot.
Nathan Hemmingham, Sheffield United
Aubameyang – was unlucky to miss out last season and I think now that Arsenal look to be having a clear plan and clear direction under Arteta, think he will thrive this season and could well take the boot.
Jordan Blackwell, Leicester City
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is just extremely good at scoring goals. Even last season with Arsenal underperforming, he fashioned enough opportunities for himself to find the net more than 20 times. With the Gunners likely to improve on last term, more chances should come his way.
Daniel Murphy, Manchester City
It’s hard to look past Pierre Emerick Aubameyang. Even when Arsenal haven’t been playing remotely well in recent years he has remained a potent goal scorer and is always challenging for the awards, now that Arsenal appear to have finally got their things together this could be his best campaign yet.
Adam Jones, Everton
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. OK. So I’m not predicting Arsenal to get into the top four, but that won’t stop Aubameyang having a great season. He’s the focal point of Mikel Arteta’s side and he just knows how to score goals in the Premier League, I can’t see that changing any time soon.
Like any elite goalscorer, Aubameyang has repeatedly shown his ability to lift Arsenal when the team is under-performing.
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The Gunners have had plenty of ups-and-downs since the forward’s arrival in January 2018, yet his clinical streak has remained constant with 54 goals in 85 league games.
While challenging for the title may be beyond Arsenal so soon into Mikel Arteta’s project, Aubameyang is poised to have another prolific season in north London provided he puts pen to paper on a new contract.