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Which striker will end up as the top scorer in the Premier League this season? Goal.com analyses those who are in contention

By Chris Davie

Strikers across the Premier League are starting to emerge as strong contenders in the Golden Boot race and surprisingly, a few outsiders remain in the running.

Manchester United's Robin van Persie and Newcastle United forward Demba Ba are currently tied at the top of the Premier League's scoring charts with seven goals this season, while Liverpool's Luis Suarez and Swansea City forward Michu follow closely behind with six strikes each.

Here's Goal.com's rundown of the players who are in with a chance of scooping the Golden Boot this season.

THE FRONTRUNNERS


Robin van Persie looks to have picked up where he left off last season as he currently stands on seven goals in the Premier League. The Dutchman was on target last Sunday against Chelsea and also netted during Manchester United's 4-2 victory against Stoke City last month. The 29-year-old looks set to spearhead Sir Alex Ferguson's attack for the season, with Wayne Rooney, who's netted twice in six league appearances this term, playing in a supporting role.

Also tied with Van Persie on seven Premier League goals this season is Newcastle United forward Demba Ba. Despite his side winning just two of their last six league games, the Senegal international has managed to keep pace with the Manchester United forward in front of goal, although his partnership with Papiss Cisse has been disrupted due to his countryman's stuttering form.

Luis Suarez looks set to beat last season's return of 11 league goals as he currently stands on six for the campaign so far. The Uruguayan is currently Brendan Rodgers' only senior striker who's not on the injury list and after netting in the Merseyside derby last Sunday, the 25-year-old is likely to maintain his place at the front of Liverpool's attack at least until January. Suarez has also averaged the most shots per game out of any player in the Premier League this term.

THE DARK HORSES


Michu has emerged as a possible outsider to scoop the Premier League's Golden Boot this season after an impressive start in front of goal for Swansea City. Playing primarily as a support striker behind Danny Graham, the 26-year-old has six goals in nine appearances this term and has averaged the most shots per game out of his team-mates at the Liberty Stadium.
PREMIER LEAGUE TOP SCORERS
Player

Ba
Van Persie
Suarez
Michu
Fletcher
Defoe
Dzeko
Club

Newcastle
Man Utd
Liverpool
Swansea
Sunderland
Tottenham
Man City
Goals

7
7
6
6
5
5
5
Odds

12/1
2/1
7/1
50/1
33/1
16/1
33/1

The pressure is on Steven Fletcher to deliver for Sunderland this season after the striker's £14 million arrival from Wolves in August. So far, the Scotland international has an impressive return of five goals in seven league games, but Martin O'Neill's side are struggling to create chances and that could scupper Fletcher's chances of securing the Golden Boot this term.

Also on five goals this season is Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe. The England international has been Andre Villas-Boas' first-choice forward as Emmanuel Adebayor's opening to the campaign has been plagued with injury. Defoe is likely to spearhead Spurs' attack at least until January, but competition from Adebayor and Clint Dempsey, as well as Villas-Boas possibly signing a new striker in January, are all reasons as to why Defoe may fall short in the Golden Boot race.

He's only started two Premier League games this season but Edin Dzeko has five goals to his name. The 26-year-old has struggled to displace Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero in Manchester City's starting side this term but having scored twice to secure Roberto Mancini's side three points against West Brom last month, the Bosnian is likely to be pushing for more playing time, especially in the build-up to the congested fixture list in December.

Tevez, meanwhile, has put past differences with Mancini aside this season and has netted four times in nine league appearances this season. Aguero's campaign has been hampered by a knee injury but the Argentine has scored twice in six outings and could be on course to beat the 23 goal tally he recorded in his debut season with City.

Chelsea are finding the back of the with ease this season, while Fernando Torres continues in the lone role in Roberto Di Matteo's attack. The Spaniard has four goals to his name this season but it's his countryman, Juan Mata, who shone the brightest last month as the midfielder struck three times in as many league appearances.

THE OUTSIDERS


Nikica Jelavic has made a solid start to the campaign with Everton and has netted four times in eight league games this season. The Croatia international scored in his side's 2-2 draw against Wigan Athletic last month but failed to hit the target against QPR, and, most recently, in the Merseyside derby last Sunday.

Peter Crouch looks on course to be Stoke City's top scorer for a second season running as the forward has struck four times already this term. However, having failed to find the net in his last three league games, inconsistency is likely to rule the 31-year-old out of the Golden Boot race.

Dimitar Berbatov's October was disrupted with a hip injury which meant the forward featured in just two league games for Fulham last month. In his last outing, the Bulgarian netted in the 3-3 draw against Reading which took his tally to three for the season, although Martin Jol confirmed after the match that his star striker was suffering from a suspected broken rib.

Southampton have struggled in the early stages of the Premier League as Nigel Adkins' side have secured just one win all season in the competition. Rickie Lambert, however, has been the club's shining light so far after scoring four goals in nine appearances.

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