Will Harry Kane end 2017 as the best striker in the world?
The competition to finish the calendar year as the top goal scorer is very tight.
The five best strikers in Europe’s top five leagues are separated by just three goals in the race to be crowned 2017’s top scorer.
Lionel Messi and Edinson Cavani are leading the way on 51 goals from 59 and 56 matches respectively; Robert Lewandowski is one behind on 50 from 49 games.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Kane aren’t far behind, level on 48 goals, but the England man has played seven games fewer than Ronaldo’s 54.
So far so good, the list is made of the world’s best strikers from the world’s top clubs… and Tottenham.
To be joint-fourth on this list and in with a chance of ending 2017 as top scorer firmly quashes any rumours that Kane is not world class.
But who is going to end the year lifting the crown?
First it’s important to take a look at the number of games played and who is scoring at the highest goal-to-game ratio.
Lewandowski has been the most clinical goal scorer on the planet this year alongside Kane with both scoring 1.02 goals per game, Cavani is next on 0.91 goals per game and surprisingly Ronaldo and Messi are fourth and fifth with 0.88 and 0.86 goals per game.
Ronaldo has been in woeful league form by his standards this season and Messi is enduring his worst scoring run in seven years.
Cavani has already scored 17 league goals this season in 13 games plus another six in five Champions League games as PSG continue to obliterate all before them in France and beyond.
The stars are aligning for Kane, I’m telling you.
This is where the Premier League’s choc-a-bloc festive schedule could play into Kane’s hands.
Messi, Lewandowski and Cavani have five games left before the clocks chime on new year’s eve, Ronaldo is three goals behind Messi and has just four games left to better the Barca man’s scoring.
However, Kane has a whopping eight games to score four more goals than Messi can in five.
It looks set to go down to the wire and the sides each striker is facing will play a huge role.
Let’s have a look at each player’s fixtures before you bring in another new year hungover.
Lionel Messi – 51 goals
The fixture list for the end of 2017 is a mixed bag for Messi and Barcelona.
Ninth-placed Celta Vigo visit the Nou Camp this weekend which could throw up a several opportunities to extend his lead in charts.
Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League come next and with Barcelona already through and Sporting Lisbon fighting for a place in the next round, this one might prove a little bit harder to find the net in.
A trip to the Estadio de la Ceramica against Villarreal is followed by Deportivo La Coruna at home in La Liga before Barcelona’s final game of 2017 – a Christmas El Clasico.
By this point Messi and Ronaldo could be neck and neck for the top scorer title and it could well be a straight shoot out between the two.
Edinson Cavani – 51 goals
The only thing that can stop Cavani scooping the award is his teammate Neymar.
While the Uruguayan is the spearhead of PSG’s frightening attack, the Brazil captain is on penalties and free kicks.
PSG’s next two league games are against Strasbourg and Lille who currently sit 19th and 17th in Ligue 1, you can expect goals aplenty from these fixtures.
Sandwiched in between is a juicy clash against Bayern Munich in the Champions League which looks tricky, but the Parisians did put three past the Bavarians in their first meeting of the season.
Cavani only needs to match Messi’s scoring rate seeing as he has played less matches, and with PSG’s utter dominance in the league El Matador will be making room on his mantelpiece for a new trophy.
Robert Lewandowski – 50 goals
The Polish striker finds the Bundesliga too easy.
Bayern have four relatively straightforward leagues fixtures before Christmas with a tasty Champions League tie in between.
Hannover at home, PSG away, Frankfurt away, Cologne at home and Stuttgart away round off the year for FC Hollywood.
13 goals in 13 games this season suggests Lewandowski could at least add another four goals to his tally this year and if he can put another past PSG in Europe we could be looking at the big dog right here.
Cristiano Ronaldo – 48 goals
Sorry Ronny this is not looking like it’s going to be your year.
Real Madrid’s main man was on excellent goal scoring form at the end of last season – crucial goals in the latter stages of the Champions League and six goals in the last five La Liga games.
Ronaldo has just two goals in the league but is the top scorer in Europe this term.
Los Blancos have a tough December schedule comprising Athletic Bilbao, Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla and Barcelona.
Harry Kane – 48 goals
It’s a big ask of Kane to scour four goals more than Messi before the year is out, but he does have three extra games to do it.
Spurs have got a favourable run of fixtures against struggling Premier League clubs and they host Cyprus’ Apoel Nicosia in the Champions League.
After Kane’s annual August famine he hit 13 goals in 10 games during September.
The 24-year-old could fill his boots at home to the Cypriots, Stoke, Brighton in December and after going to Man City Kane might yet be in position to become top scorer for 2017.
The final game sees David Moyes’ West Ham come to Wembley and Kane couldn’t ask for a better Christmas present if he still needs a few goals to get on top of the charts.
Let battle commence.