Obviously, the answer to whether two number 22s can win the Golden Boot is that they could – it’s possible for the award to be shared – but it’s unlikely.
It is of course an individual award, and it’s already beginning to look like it’s the mighty Sergio Agüero’s to lose in 2019-20 (though it’s still quite early). However, four match weeks into the campaign, we’re seeing an unusual concentration of goals scored by number 22s, which has prompted us to explore the idea that two of them combined could total more than the league’s top individual scorer by season’s end.
To be clear, 22 isn’t exactly a noteworthy jersey number in football history. If anything it’s recently been associated more with facilitators, and a TalkSport piece seeking to identify the best player to ever wear each number skipped 22 altogether. This is not where the goals traditionally pour in from. This season though, two men may be in the process of shifting perceptions.
The first is Teemu Pukki, the delightfully-named Finnish striker starring for newly-promoted Norwich City. Now, Norwich City has had a tough start to their EPL campaign. The defence allowed ten goals through four games, and the team is already settling into the relegation zone. It’s too early for a consensus to build among UK bookmakers as to which clubs are destined to be booted from the Premiership, but right now Norwich City certainly looks a good bet to drop right back out again. Having gotten those negatives out of the way though, we’ll note that Pukki – who was an electric scorer for Norwich City in the Championship last season – has been nothing short of special. The Finn has five goals in four matches, has been one of the most exciting players in the league, and shows no signs of slowing down. Even if his club can’t defend, he’s going to keep scoring.
The second number 22 to consider is Sébastien Haller, who’s gotten off to a very impressive start for West Ham. The 25-year-old striker is new to the Premier League, and was recently ranked as the top summer signing of the early going. His three goals through four matches would be impressive for anyone playing his first few games against the English top flight, and they’ve helped West Ham to a respectable 2-1-1 start. There’s not a whole lot of firepower on this club either, so while scoring in 75% of matches is likely unsustainable, Haller will continue to be relied upon for offense.
Now, it’s likely that a few more typical scorers who will separate themselves as the season progresses. Agüero is off to a predictably hot start, as mentioned, and teammate Raheem Sterling could be in the mix also. Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – who shared the award with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané last season – could make a run at the Golden Boot, and every fan of English football knows that Harry Kane and Salah are likely to pick up the pace. We’ll be watching these two number 22s anyway though, to see their talent on display (both are very enjoyable players), and to see if they can add up to a Golden Boot.