Premier League icon could stop Palmer being the lowest-finishing Golden Boot winner ever

Matt Stead
Liverpool forward Mo Salah, Chelsea player Cole Palmer, Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips and the Premier League Golden Boot
Long live the top scorers for rubbish teams

Cole Palmer is putting up the strongest Golden Boot resistance to Erling Haaland, as everyone fully expected. Could Chelsea help their hero make history?

Palmer is level with former Manchester City teammate Haaland in the Premier League top scorer stakes, with both on 20 goals so far this season.

While Haaland could become the first player to win the Golden Boot and Premier League title in consecutive seasons – and only the second after Thierry Henry to do it at all – Chelsea’s struggles open up a more enticing possibility: the top scorer finishing in the bottom half.

It has admittedly been made a little harder by Chelsea’s sudden competence and their abundant games in hand. They are ninth but within three points of Newcastle, Manchester United and West Ham, each of whom have played at least a game more.

Chelsea could even be looking at that ten-point gap to Spurs, who a) they have a game in hand on, b) they play at home on May 2 and c) still have to play all three of the title contenders. Mauricio Pochettino has the chance to do the funniest thing.

But Palmer being clearly quite brilliant for a team who still necessitate a scroll on some Premier League tables has us thinking: who are the lowest-finishing Golden Boot winners ever? And can the 21-year-old properly challenge them for what is undoubtedly such an incredible honour?


1st – ten players
It feels like it should perhaps happen more often, that the best team simultaneously harbours the best goalscorer, but only almost a quarter of Premier League Golden Boot winners have ended that same season as champions. The ridiculous Erling Haaland was the first to do it in a decade last campaign.

(Alan Shearer with Blackburn in 1994/95; Dwight Yorke with Manchester United in 1998/99; Thierry Henry with Arsenal in 2001/02; Ruud van Nistelrooy with Manchester United in 2002/03; Thierry Henry with Arsenal in 2003/04; Cristiano Ronaldo with Manchester United in 2007/08; Didier Drogba with Chelsea in 2009/10; Dimitar Berbatov with Manchester United in 2010/11; Robin van Persie with Manchester United in 2012/13; Erling Haaland with Manchester City in 2022/23)


2nd – nine players
The Premier League top scorer has finished second nearly as often as they have won the title. Mo Salah is the only player to have done it twice. That figure is slightly augmented by the Golden Boot that he shared with Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane in 2018/19; not sure what the weekend arrangement was there.

(Alan Shearer with Newcastle in 1996/97; Thierry Henry with Arsenal in 2004/05; Didier Drogba with Chelsea in 2006/07; Luis Suarez with Liverpool in 2013/14; Sergio Aguero with Manchester City in 2014/15; Harry Kane with Spurs in 2016/17; Mo Salah and Sadio Mane with Liverpool in 2018/19; Mo Salah with Liverpool in 2021/22)


3rd – six players
All for different clubs, no less. A pleasing statistical quirk at least. Kane’s 2015/16 effort really should belong to the previous list of Golden Boot winners who finished runners-up but Spurs.

(Andy Cole with Newcastle in 1993/94; Michael Owen with Liverpool in 1997/98; Nicolas Anelka with Chelsea in 2008/09; Carlos Tevez with Manchester City in 2010/11; Robin van Persie with Arsenal in 2011/12; Harry Kane with Spurs in 2015/16)


4th – four players
Two of the players who finished fourth while winning the Premier League Golden Boot also reached the Champions League final in the same season, losing in devastating fashion to Spanish clubs thanks to some German-goalkeeper-based ludicrousness. Jens and Loris have a lot to answer for.

(Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink with Leeds in 1998/99; Thierry Henry with Arsenal in 2005/06; Mo Salah with Liverpool in 2017/18; Heung-min Son with Spurs in 2021/22)


5th – two players
There was no more potent force during the lockdown era than Jamie Vardy, who still sought to wind up that one corner of The Hawthorns despite it being occupied by no actual supporters. Him winning the Golden Boot four years after becoming an unthinkable Premier League champion is a great bit. And remember when Arsenal had to build around Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang? They’ve come pretty far.

(Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with Arsenal in 2018/19; Jamie Vardy with Leicester in 2019/20)


6th – two players
The 18 goals Chris Sutton needed to share the 1997/98 Golden Boot with two other players remains the lowest mark set by a Premier League top scorer in a single season. Three players have already beaten it this campaign, including two who might similarly be harshly overlooked by England in a tournament year.

(Chris Sutton with Blackburn in 1997/98; Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink with Chelsea in 2000/01)


7th – four players
The 1997/98 and 1998/99 seasons were bleak for Golden Boot winners, as the thing was shared between five players who could only muster a risible 18 goals each time. Michael Owen helped split custody both times – and neither were even his best goalscoring season. The Liverpool forward hit 19 goals in 2001/02 and 2002/03; Palmer has quite ridiculously already surpassed that.

Two ridiculous campaigns are hidden in the list of those who finished seventh while winning the Golden Boot: Shearer’s 31 goals in 35 games for deposed reigning champions Blackburn; and Kevin Phillips slipping a European Golden Shoe on his other foot for Peter Reid’s Sunderland.

(Alan Shearer with Blackburn in 1995/96; Michael Owen with Liverpool in 1998/99; Kevin Phillips with Sunderland in 1999/2000; Harry Kane with Spurs in 2020/21)


8th – one player
Some phenomenal heritage with this one. It is wild enough that Teddy Sheringham won the Golden Boot while leading the line for a thoroughly middling pre-Ardiles Spurs side, but the oldest Premier League goalscorer at four different ages actually started that season netting the only goal in a season-opening win over Liverpool for Nottingham Forest, who finished rock bottom.

(Teddy Sheringham with Spurs in 1992/93)


11th – one player
How gloriously fitting that the only player to win the Golden Boot – regrettably shared in that late-90s haze but still – and finish in the bottom half is also the only one person capable of showing us the stairs leading up to the bedrooms.

(Dion Dublin with Coventry in 1997/98)


Manchester City’s remaining Premier League fixtures: Brighton (10th, a), Nottingham Forest (17th, a), Wolves (11th, h), Fulham (12th, a), Spurs (5th, a), West Ham (8th, h). Haaland scored six goals in the corresponding games this season.

Chelsea’s remaining Premier League fixtures: Arsenal (2nd, a), Aston Villa (4th, a), Spurs (5th, h), West Ham (8th, h), Nottingham Forest (17th, a), Brighton (10th, a), Bournemouth (13th, h). Palmer scored two goals in the corresponding games this season.