Can anyone challenge Costa for the Golden Boot?

As the Premier League heads into its second international break of the season, there’s no doubt as to who the big sensation has been. Chelsea’s Diego Costa arrived from Atletico Madrid in the summer and despite an excellent record that took his side to the La Liga title, some Stamford Bridge fans felt that their club were taking something of a gamble at a fee of around £32m.

Seven games into the campaign, the player has justified Chelsea’s faith with an incredible run of nine goals in those seven matches and already, he is firmly in charge of the race to finish as the Premiership’s leading scorer.

The man to beat

Those nine goals have cemented Costa’s position to win the Golden Boot but can anyone catch him? Injury has restricted other leading contenders such as Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge and Christian Benteke of Aston Villa but who is currently heading the chasing pack?

Chelsea’s number 19 leads the way by some margin but behind his total of nine, there are three players locked on five goals apiece. The main challenge here will surely come from Sergio Aguero who came off the bench in Manchester City’s first two matches to find the net against Newcastle United and Liverpool respectively.

The Argentinian was well placed to challenge for the Golden Boot in 2013-14 before injury struck but if Costa’s form were to dip, Aguero could be the man to take over at the top of the leaderboard.

Elsewhere, West Brom’s Saido Berahino and Leonardo Ulloa of Leicester City have also scored five times but it’s rare for a Golden Boot winner to come from teams outside of the top six. On that basis, you could also rule out Tottenham’s Nacer Chadli and Newcastle’s Papiss Cisse who have both scored on four separate occasions so who else will be in the mix at the end of the campaign?

Slow starters

Robin Van Persie won this award in two consecutive seasons, firstly for Arsenal and then with his new club Manchester United. 2014-15 has so far been a frustrating one for the Dutchman however, who was struggling to shake off an injury picked up in the recent World Cup.

Strike partner Wayne Rooney scored in United’s opening game with Swansea but he has also struggled for form, and his quest wasn’t helped by a red card against West Ham and a subsequent suspension. Perhaps the bigger threat will come from team mates Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao who have both found the net since arriving at Old Trafford in the summer.

External factors

It’s not just a dip in form that could affect Diego Costa’s chances of landing the major individual prize. There have been injury concerns since he arrived at Stamford Bridge and an almost weekly report over the state of his troublesome hamstring. We saw a similar problem derail Sergio Aguero’s quest for the Golden Boot at the end of the 2013-14 season and Costa has previously faced a lengthy spell on the sidelines after rupturing a cruciate ligament back in 2011.

But, if the Brazilian born centre forward can stay on the pitch then it’s tough to see past him in the race for the title as the Premiership’s leading scorer. He’s already proved that he strike against the so called weaker teams – a hat trick against Swansea proves that – while an important goal in the 2-0 win over Arsenal shows he can unlock the tightest of defences.

Aguero, Sturridge and Falcao may be among the challengers but there’s no doubt that Diego Costa is the man to beat.

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