How Many Goals Does It Take To Win The Premier League Golden Boot?

Football with Crown Against Grey BackgroundWhen a Premier League season gets underway, the most immediate thought of all concerned is about which team will win it, which sides will finish in the European places and which clubs will be relegated down to the Championship. What a lot of people might not think about is the numerous different mini-battles taking place around the division, such as which goalkeeper will end up with the Golden Gloves and which forward will win the Golden Boot. Both are important to the overall league winners whilst also being individual accolades.

Of course, it is not uncommon for the top goal scorer in the Premier League to play for a team that doesn’t win the title, such is the extent to which the title-winners need to be well-balanced all over the pitch. Equally, there have been a few occasions on which a player has scored enough goals to have won the Golden Boot in many other league seasons but didn’t that year because of the competitiveness of the competition. There have even been campaigns in which the Golden Boot has been shared between several players, as we’ll discover.

How Many Goals Are Needed to Win the Premier League Golden Boot?

Between the first Premier League season in 1992-93 and the 2020-21 season, the Premier League Golden Boot winner scored an average of 26 goals if rounded up to the nearest goal.

The average number of goals scored by the second highest scorer(s) was 23, if rounded up to the nearest full goal. This means the benchmark number of goals required to win a Premier League golden boot is 24 goals.

The Golden Boot Winners Over The Years

3D Football Against Net in Goal

First things first, let’s have a look at the Golden Boot winners over the years that the competition has been in play. It was introduced in 1992/1993, at the end of the inaugural season of the Premier League, which was founded when the top clubs from the First Division split away from the rest of the English Football League. The award itself has had numerous different titles over the years, largely thanks to sponsors of the top-flight. Players initially had 42 games to score goals in, until the league moved to having 20 teams instead of 22 in 1995.

Here’s a look at the Golden Boot winners, the team that they played for at the time that they won it and whether or not they managed to fire their side to the Premier League title:

Premier League Golden Boot Winners – 1993 to 2021

Season Winner Goals Team Title Winner?
2020-2021 Harry Kane 23 Tottenham Hotspur
2019-2020 Jamie Vardy 23 Leicester City
2018-2019 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 22 Arsenal
Sadio Mané 22 Liverpool
Mohamed Salah 22 Liverpool
2017-2018 Mohamed Salah 32 Liverpool
2016-2017 Harry Kane 29 Tottenham Hotspur
2015-2016 Harry Kane 25 Tottenham Hotspur
2014-2015 Sergio Agüero 26 Manchester City
2013-2014 Luis Suarez 31 Liverpool
2012-2013 Robin van Persie 26 Manchester United
2011-2012 Robin van Persie 30 Arsenal
2010-2011 Carlos Tevez 20 Manchester City
Dimitar Berbatov 20 Manchester United
2009-2010 Didier Drogba 29 Chelsea
2008-2009 Nicolas Anelka 19 Chelsea
2007-2008 Cristiano Ronaldo 31 Manchester United
2006-2007 Didier Drogba 20 Chelsea
2005-2006 Thierry Henry 27 Arsenal
2004-2005 Thierry Henry 25 Arsenal
2003-2004 Thierry Henry 30 Arsenal
2002-2003 Ruud van Nistelroy 25 Manchester United
2001-2002 Thierry Henry 24 Arsenal
2000-2001 Jimmy Floyd Hasselbank 23 Chelsea
1999-2000 Kevin Phillips 30 Sunderland
1998-1999 Dwight Yorke 18 Manchester United
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbank 18 Leeds United
Michael Owen 18 Liverpool
1997-1998 Chris Sutton 18 Blackburn Rovers
Dion Dublin 18 Coventry City
Michael Owen 18 Liverpool
1996-1997 Alan Shearer 25 Newcastle United
1995-1996 Alan Shearer 31 Blackburn Rovers
1994-1995 Alan Shearer 34 Blackburn Rovers
1993-1994 Andy Cole 34 Newcastle United
1992-1993 Teddy Sheringham 22 Tottenham Hotspur

There are a number of interesting things that stand out from that table, with the most obvious being the number of times that the Golden Boot winner did not play for the title-winning team that season. Indeed, out of the 29 seasons that we’ve been able to look at, the Golden Boot went on to be part of the title-winning celebrations just 9 times, with two of those being occasions on which the honour was shared between two or more players, so the Golden Boot winner wasn’t even exclusive that year.

The other point that stands out is how rare it is for a player to have won the honour on more than one occasion. It is common to assume that goalscorers will score goals regularly because that is what they are good at, yet only eight players have won the award more than once out of the 24 players that have taken home the Golden Boot at the end of a Premier League season. At the time of writing, Thierry Henry holds the record for Golden Boot wins, having claimed it on four occasions during his Arsenal career.

Chart That Shows the Footballers Who Have Won More Than One Premier League Golden Boots Between the 1992/93 and 2020/21 Seasons

The last thing worth mentioning is the vast difference between the number of goals scored by the winners of the title. From Andy Cole’s 34 in 40 games, at a rate of 0.85 goals per game, through to the six times that 18 goals has been enough, with that happening twice for Michael Owen, it is fair to say that how many goals you’ll need to score to win the Golden Boot is a moveable feast. Owen scored his first 18 in 36 games for a rate of 0.50 goals per game and his second 18 in 30 games for a rate of 0.60 goals per game.

The Players That Came Close But Missed Out

There have been a number of times over the years when a player has scored enough goals to have won the Golden Boot in another season but missed out because of someone else scoring more. Indeed, it has happened in every season apart from the ones in which the Golden Boot winner scored 18 goals. Here’s a look at the players that missed out and finished in second place:

Premier League Golden Boot Runners-Up – 1993 to 2021

Season Player Goals (Winner) Team Title Winners?
2020-2021 Mohamed Salah 22 (23) Liverpool
2019-2020 Danny Ings 22 (23) Southampton
P-E Aubameyang 22 (23) Arsenal
2018-2019 Sergio Agüero 21 (22) Manchester City
2017-2018 Harry Kane 30 (32) Tottenham Hotspur
2016-2017 Romelu Lukaku 25 (29) Everton
2015-2016 Jamie Vardy 24 (25) Leicester City
Sergio Agüero 24 (25) Manchester City
2014-2015 Harry Kane 21 (26) Tottenham Hotspur
2013-2014 Daniel Sturridge 21 (31) Liverpool
2012-2013 Luis Suarez 23 (26) Liverpool
2011-2012 Wayne Rooney 27 (30) Manchester United
2010-2011 Robin van Persie 18 (20) Arsenal
2009-2010 Wayne Rooney 26 (29) Manchester United
2008-2009 Cristiano Ronaldo 18 (19) Manchester United
2007-2008 Emmanuel Adebayor 24 (31) Arsenal
Fernando Torres 24 (31) Liverpool
2006-2007 Benni McCarthy 18 (20) Blackburn Rovers
2005-2006 Ruud van Nistelrooy 21 (27) Manchester United
2004-2005 Andy Johnson 21 (25) Crystal Palace
2003-2004 Alan Shearer 22 (30) Newcastle United
2002-2003 Thierry Henry 24 (25) Arsenal
2001-2002 Alan Shearer 23 (24) Newcastle United
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbank 23 (24) Chelsea
Ruud van Nistelrooy 23 (24) Manchester United
2000-2001 Marcus Stewart 19 (23) Ipswich Town
1999-2000 Alan Shearer 23 (30) Newcastle United
1998-1999 Andy Cole 17 (18) Manchester United
Nicolas Anelka 17 (18) Arsenal
1997-1998 Dennis Bergkamp 16 (18) Arsenal
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink 16 (18) Leeds United
Kevin Gallacher 16 (18) Blackburn Rovers
1996-1997 Ian Wright 23 (25) Arsenal
1995-1996 Robbie Fowler 28 (31) Liverpool
1994-1995 Robbie Fowler 25 (34) Blackburn Rovers
1993-1994 Alan Shearer 31 (34) Blackburn Rovers
1992-1993 Les Ferdinand 20 (22) QPR

One of the first things that you notice when you look at the table is just how prolific Alan Shearer was during his career. Not only did he win the Golden Boot three times, he also narrowly missed out on four further occasions. He was one of the Premier League’s greatest ever forwards, he retired as the Premier League’s record goalscorer, having found the net 260 times in 441 appearances. The other thing that stands out is how rarely the Premier League winners boasted even the second-highest goalscorer.

Perhaps nothing points out just how much Premier League football is a team game, in which balance all over the pitch is the most important thing, quite like the eventual title-winners boasting either the Golden Boot winner or the closest runner-up 14 times in total out of the 29 seasons that there have been. That is nine Golden Boot winners and five second-placed players for the Premier League winners, in terms of the breakdown.

So How Many Goals Need To Be Scored To Win The Golden Boot?

Golden Boot IconAs you can tell, the actual specific amount of goals that need to be scored by a player hoping to win the Golden Boot is a moveable feast. It is fair to say that you’re probably talking mid-20s for most seasons, given that at least 20 goals were scored by the runners-up in 23 of the 29 campaigns that we’ve looked at.

If we take only the goals scored by one of the players when the Golden Boot was shared out between numerous footballers, that means that there were 684 goals scored by the Golden Boot winners since the Premier League began. That works out as an average of 23.59 goals scored by the winning player each season.

That average fits in with our general sense that you need to find the back of the net more than 20 times if you’re hoping to win the Golden Boot. As mentioned, this isn’t an exact science, but it does give us a good idea of the number of goals needed.

Chart That Shows the Average Number of Goals Scored by the Premier League Golden Boot Winners and Runners Up Between the 1992/93 and 2020/21 Seasons

One final thing worth mentioning is the fact that the Golden Boot in the Premier League is different from similar awards in other competitions in terms of betting. In the World Cup, for example, the Golden Boot goes to the player who scored the most goals and if there is a tie then the player with the fewest penalties wins. After that, it is about the player with the most assists. A bet on that will have a definitive winner, whereas a bet on the Premier League’s Golden Boot winner might still result in a dead-heat.