Aug 14, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT
Goals, goals, and more goals. That’s why we watch the game, right?
Well, not always, but here we give love to the part of the game that returns the most glory for a player’s effort – and sometimes the most heat when things go bad.
Even with last year’s leading scorer Luis Suarez gone to the Spanish league, there’s still oodles of firepower in the English top flight and they are sure to dazzle crowds both in the stands and on the television.
Last year’s champions Manchester City have gobs of attackers, but we’ll spread the wealth around the league since there’s enough of it to go around.
1. Daniel Sturridge – Liverpool
Liverpool last year owned the league’s two highest goalscorers. With one of them shipped off to Barcelona, Daniel Sturridge is now the man at Liverpool. If you don’t think things will go well without Suarez, just look back to last season when the Uruguayan missed the first six matches of the year thanks to his 2nd biting suspension. Sturridge scored five goals in those six matches, including one in each of the first four. He’s entirely capable of not only taking over the Liverpool attack as the head man but also taking over the Premier League. This team is poised for another top-four finish, and the 24-year-old will lead the way.
2. Sergio Aguero – Manchester City
Kün Aguero would be the outright best striker in the Premier League if it weren’t for his spotty health. While Sturridge and Suarez were lighting up the back of the net at Anfield, Aguero cashed in a cool 17 times last year, good enough for third on the overall list and with a better goals-per-minute number than both the star Liverpool strikers. As skillful as he is, and benefiting for a Manchester City attack bursting at the seams with talent and pace, the 26-year-old is no use to his club on the sidelines. If he wants to be the best in the league, he has to do better than the 23 appearances he made last Premier League season. He also will want to make sure he’s on the pitch for a Champions League run, considering he missed the first leg of City’s eventual defeat to Barcelona.
3. Robin van Persie – Manchester United
Another one who struggled mightily with injuries last year, the former League top scorer is over the 31-year-old mark now and it’s showing. But when healthy, we were reminded in the World Cup just how dangerous he can be. Unfortunately, the biggest knock to van Persie’s game when he’s on the pitch is he requires service and struggles to create his own chances. But in the new Louis van Gaal system that promises to be heavy on the attacking play, the Flying Dutchman
will absolutely get his service, and it could more than likely lead to a rise back up the table for the Red Devils. If van Persie can keep his legs intact, United fans are sure to be delighted with his return.
4. Diego Costa – Chelsea
The lone new boy on the list, Diego Costa has arrived at Chelsea after a torrid season at Atletico Madrid. Making it all the way to the Champions League final and winning La Liga outright, Costa was on top of the world…until the World Cup, wherein he inexplicably came hurtling back down to Earth as Spain was eradicated from the tournament in the group stage.
Costa is now tasked with revitalizing the Chelsea attack, which last year featured plenty of midfield and wing play but was devoid of a true striker.
With Eden Hazard to his left, Andre Schurrle to his right, and the combination of Oscar, Willian, and Cesc Fabregas behind him, Costa has no excuses if he isn’t able to repeat his 27-goal tally from last year’s La Liga play.
Some have said he will fail, arguing that Chelsea plays more of Spain’s style of passing build-up rather than the free-flowing Atletico Madrid or Costa’s home country of Brazil. Time will tell, but as of now, he is one of the most dangerous finishers in the Premier League, able to create chances both on and off the ball, and finish with lethal accuracy.
5. Wayne Rooney – Manchester United
A Premier League staple since 2002, Wayne Rooney has a new accessory to add to his wardrobe this season – the captain’s armband. Newly dubbed the on-field skipper by incoming boss van Gaal, Rooney has arguably more pressure to succeed this season than he’s ever faced before. Tasked with captaining his side to a Champions League return, Rooney will have to lead by example. Last year he was Manchester United’s best player by far, and he’ll need much more help than he got from his teammates in the most recent campaign. But if he can put his mental lapses and occasional moping behind him and put the team on his back, he can be the star of the season. He’s good for at least a few highlight reels a year, so it’s almost a guarantee we’ll be seeing plenty of Mr. Rooney this campaign.
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