EPL

Golden Boot, Golden Glove and De Bruyne's assist record bid - What's up for grabs on the Premier League's last day

By Sports Desk July 26, 2020

The Premier League season concludes on Sunday, with Liverpool completing their victory lap at Newcastle United.

A dominant campaign from Jurgen Klopp's men means the destination of the big prize has long been decided, although there are still the matters of Champions League qualification and relegation to address.

The remaining top-four berths will go to two of Chelsea, Leicester City and Manchester United – with the latter two playing each other at the King Power Stadium in Sunday's standout clash.

At the other end of the table, two of Aston Villa, Watford and Bournemouth will be joining Norwich City in the Championship next season.

However, as we examine below, there are individual awards and achievements still up for grabs.

 

Vardy leads the way in Golden Boot race

A goal from Jamie Vardy against United could represent a huge step towards Europe's elite competition for Leicester City, while it will almost certainly mean the Golden Boot for the former England striker.

Vardy is on 23 goals, in a landmark campaign that saw him being up 100 in the Premier League. Of the 29 players to have reached a century in the competition, only Ian Wright (28 years, 286 days) made his debut at an older age than Vardy (27 years, 232).

The main competition comes from Danny Ings, whose 21 goal makes him the third Southampton player to score 20 or more in a Premier League season, following Matt Le Tissier (25) in 1993-94 and James Beattie (23) in 2002-03.

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang is next in line on 20. The Gabon international has also enjoyed a landmark campaign, becoming the sixth fastest player to 50 Premier League goals in history as he did so on his 79th top-flight outing for Arsenal.

Liverpool superstar Mohamed Salah and Raheem Sterling are the outsiders on 19 apiece. If Sterling nets against Norwich, he will become the first Englishman to score 20 times in a top-division season for Manchester City since Brian Kidd – now a member of Pep Guardiola's backroom staff – did so in 1976-77.

 

De Bryune hunting Henry's assist record

One man in particular will be keen on Sterling adding to his haul – provided it comes from one of his passes!

Kevin De Bruyne has 19 assists in the Premier League this season, placing him one shy of Thierry Henry's competition record.

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil also assisted 19 times during 2015-16.

De Bruyne has been directly involved in 30 league goals this term, scoring 11 alongside his creative exploits. This is the most for a central midfield since Frank Lampard scored 22 and supplied 14 assists for Chelsea in 2009-10.

The efforts of Sterling and De Bruyne have gone a long way to placing City close to an impressive collective feat. If Guardiola's side score three times against Norwich, they will reach 100 goals for a third consecutive Premier League season.

 

Ederson and Pope battle it out for Golden Glove

Another City player looking after number one on Sunday is their number one. Ederson is on 15 clean sheets, putting him level in the Golden Glove standings with Burnley's Nick Pope.

The Clarets end another excellent season at home to Brighton and Hove Albion and if Ederson and Pope cannot be separated at full-time the award will be shared.

Both men have a similar save percentage, with Pope stopping 70.7 per cent of efforts sent his way compared to Ederson's 69.6, but the Englishman has been far busier.

Pope has made 118 saves from 164 shots faced, compared to Ederson's 64 from 92.

Although impressive, neither man has been flawless, with Ederson committing three errors leading to goals and Pope culpable for two.

Related items

  • Klopp tips 'cool' Reds recruit Jota to bring new dimension to Liverpool Klopp tips 'cool' Reds recruit Jota to bring new dimension to Liverpool

    Diogo Jota can step straight into the Liverpool team after his stunning move to Anfield, says a delighted Jurgen Klopp. 

    The Portuguese forward joined from Wolves in a reported £45million deal and Klopp believes the newcomer will add valuable and credible competition for places in the Premier League champions' attack. 

    Jota scored 16 goals in 67 Premier League games for Wolves and joins a group of forwards that includes Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Takumi Minamino at Anfield. 

    Manager Klopp said Jota gives him "so many options", with his ability to play anywhere across Liverpool's familiar front three or in a deeper role. 

    "He knows it's a step for him and he can give us things we don't have - that's why it's cool," Klopp said. 

    "The space for improvement is not what I like most, but it's there. He is now already ready to play for us but yes, I'm pretty sure there's something to come. 

    "And the way we play, the way we train and the way we treat people, I think will help him as well. 

    "And, of course, being in a team like this is good because [there are] good players around you, make yourself better. That's how it will be with him as well and what he will do with us." 

    Given the level of investment, Liverpool will expect Jota to deliver as they aim to back up such a successful 2019-20 campaign.

    Klopp always said Liverpool had the finances to spend if the right player came along, after criticism that they were slow to act in the transfer market, and the signing of Jota shows he was working behind the scenes.

    The German boss told Liverpool's website: "He's a player who gives us so many options to use him. He's 23 years old, still far away from being kind of a finished article, so much potential. He has the speed, he can combine, can defend, can press.

    "He has some natural things which we have in our game, like this desire and the greed and the direction.

    "Of course he has to adapt to a few things and has to learn a few things – what we do differently because there are, of course, differences – but a lot of things are already there. And so I'm really excited."

  • Bale to Tottenham: A spent force, or more to give? Bale to Tottenham: A spent force, or more to give?

    In 2013, Real Madrid paid a then world-record fee to secure Gareth Bale's signature.

    The flying winger had been sensational in the Premier League for Tottenham and, in his final season in north London, scored 26 goals and provided 11 assists across all competitions.

    Bale's form resulted in Madrid paying €100million (£85m) to take him to Santiago Bernabeu, as Florentino Perez attempted to usher in a new galactico era.

    Yet seven years later, Bale is heading back to Tottenham on a season-long loan, now as a 31-year-old whose best days are most likely behind him.

    While Bale has certainly had his injury issues, his lack of game time at Madrid in recent seasons – he featured just 20 times in all competitions last term – seems to have been due to a breakdown in his relationship with Zinedine Zidane, more than any doubt over the quality he can offer.

    Back at his former club, Bale will aim to lift Spurs and get his career back on track, but can his seven-year stint at Madrid be considered a success – he did after all win four Champions League trophies, one Copa del Rey and two LaLiga titles – or a failure?

    Using Opta data, we take a look at his season by season stats.

     

    2013-14

    In his final season at Tottenham, Bale was involved in 37 goals in all competitions – only Robin van Persie (39) and Juan Mata (49) were involved in more for a Premier League club in 2012-13. Bale maintained that form in his maiden season in Spain, scoring 22 times and providing 16 assists across 44 appearances. Of his Madrid team-mates, only the imperious Cristiano Ronaldo managed more direct goal involvements (65).

    He capped his first season in Madrid with a brilliant goal against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final, which Los Blancos won, before scoring in extra-time to put Carlo Ancelotti's side 2-1 up against Atletico Madrid in the 2014 Champions League Final.

    2014-15

    Having averaged a goal every 0.56 LaLiga matches in his first season at Madrid, Bale's output dropped in his second campaign, with the Welshman managing 13 goals from 31 league appearances, at an average of 0.42.

    In total across all competitions, he registered 17 goals and 12 assists, despite playing four games more than in 2013-14. On average, he attempted five dribbles per 90 minutes, down from 5.8 the previous season, while he had 51.8 touches per 90 – the fewest amount of any season from 2007-08 onwards.

    2015-16

    Bale managed just 31 appearances in an injury-hit third campaign, though his goal statistics improved. While providing 12 assists, he scored 19 times in all competitions, including netting four in a 10–2 victory over Rayo Vallecano. In Zinedine Zidane's first match in charge – in January 2016 – he netted a hat-trick to help crush Deportivo La Coruna 5-0.

    On March 23, Bale scored his 43rd LaLiga goal to overtake Gary Lineker as the highest scoring British player in the competition's history. While his dribbles attempted again decreased, he threatened the goal more regularly with 4.2 shots per 90, while he averaged 58.4 touches.

    2016-17

    It was in Bale's fourth season in the Spanish capital that things began to turn. Having only signed a new contract in October, Bale suffered an ankle injury in November that kept him out for four months. His injury troubles plagued him throughout the campaign – he was forced off in his 100th LaLiga appearance for the club, which ended in a 3-2 defeat to Barca.

    Madrid nevertheless won their 33rd LaLiga title and the Champions League, with Bale managing 27 appearances in total, scoring nine goals and setting up a further three.

    2017-18

    Despite an injury-hit 2016-17, Bale enjoyed one of his most productive seasons at Madrid in the next campaign. He created six goals and scored 21 himself – his highest total since 2013-14, with 16 of those goals coming from 26 LaLiga appearances, at an average of 0.62 per 90 and a conversion rate of 20.78 per cent.

    Bale managed this despite averaging only 53.4 touches – his second-lowest total from 2007-08  – and 3.8 shots per game. His season ended in fantastic fashion, as he came on to score a remarkable overhead kick goal to put Madrid 2-1 up against Liverpool in the Champions League final, before he netted a second to put the result beyond doubt.

    2018-19

    With Ronaldo having left for Juventus, Bale played 42 times in 2018-19, though his total goal involvements dipped from 27 to 20 (14 goals, six assists). On December 19, Bale scored a hat-trick in a 3–1 win over Kashima Antlers in the semi-finals of the FIFA Club World Cup, becoming the third player to net three goals in a match in the tournament after Ronaldo and Luis Suarez.

    In February, Bale scored his 100th Madrid goal, making him one of only 21 players to have scored 100+ goals for the club in all competitions.

    2019-20

    The writing seemed to be on the wall for Bale at Madrid as speculation over a big-money move to Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning grew, but a transfer failed to materialise and the forward stayed at Santiago Bernabeu.

    However, in a season elongated by the coronavirus pandemic, Bale was used just 20 times by Zidane. He managed three goals and two assists, taking his respective tallies to 105 and 57, with a total of 162 goal involvements across seven seasons – only Ronaldo (318) and Karim Benzema (235) have been involved in more for Madrid in the same timeframe.

  • Liverpool confirm Jota signing for reported £45m Liverpool confirm Jota signing for reported £45m

    Liverpool have strengthened further with the signing of Wolves forward Diogo Jota for a reported £45million.

    Jota, 23, has signed a long-term deal with the Premier League champions, who confirmed the arrival of Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich on Friday.

    The Portugal international adds further depth to Jurgen Klopp's attack, although he is set be a back-up for Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

    Jota arrives at Anfield after three seasons at Wolves, the club he joined, initially on loan, from Atletico Madrid in 2017.

    "It's just a really exciting moment for me and my family," Jota told Liverpool's official website.

    "All of my path since I was a kid and now, to join a club like Liverpool - the world champions - is just unbelievable. I just want to get started.

    "It is one of the best teams in the world - the best at the moment because they are world champions. When you look at the Premier League, you always see Liverpool as one of the biggest teams in the country, so it's impossible to say no."

    Jota – signed permanently by Wolves in 2018 – scored 16 goals in 48 games in all competitions in 2019-20, including seven in 34 in the Premier League.

    He joins Thiago and Kostas Tsimikas as new arrivals at Liverpool for the 2020-21 season.

    Meanwhile, Ki-Jana Hoever has moved in the opposite direction, the 18-year-old defender joining Wolves for a reported £10m fee.

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