Another Serie A season is upon us, which means another fight to be the peninsula’s best prima punta has also arrived. With some expensive new arrivals leading the lines, the race to be crowned Capocannoniere is the hottest it has been for several years.
So, who can take home the revered title this season?
Joint winner of the Capocannoniere title last season alongside Luca Toni, Icardi seems the most logical candidate to defend his title this season in an improving Inter side. Having struck 22 goals last season, in an improved Inter side, it could be argued that Icardi should at least match if not improve his goals tally this season. However, the addition of multiple goal threats such as Stevan Jovetic and Ivan Perisic could lessen Inter’s reliance on Icardi’s goals, and therefore his goal output. It must also be said that Icardi is somewhat susceptible to soft tissue injuries, such as the thigh injury he is currently battling in order to be fit for the Milan derby.
After a break-out season at Juventus last year, the 22 year-old Spaniard is primed for a shot at the Capocannoniere crown. Scoring eight goals, Morata formed an efficient partnership with departed strike partner Carlos Tevez. Morata started eleven matches, and was used as a substitute in eighteen in Serie A last season matches last season. But with the arrival of both Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala, he sees his own place in the starting eleven under threat as he returns from injury. If he does find regular starts, a more free-flowing Juventus side this season may allow Morata to better his 2014/15 tally.
Already hailed in many parts as one of the signings of the mercato, Paulo Dybala made a name for himself last season after reaching double figures in both goals and assists at Palermo. However, like Morata, Dybala is not assured a place in Juventus’ starting XI; already coming off the bench twice in Serie A this season and scoring once. Playing in a four-in-a-row scudetto winning side though, one would expect that the Argentine should at least better his 2014/15 tally of 13 goals.
The new hope of the rossoneri, Carlos Bacca arrives at Milanello off the back of a 20 goal and Europa League winning season leading the line for Sevilla. A lone striker in Sevilla’s 4-3-3 though, Bacca will need to acclimatise to working in a frontline partnership with fellow newcomer Luiz Adriano in Sinisa Mihajlovic’s 4-3-1-2. In addition, with no European competition to partake in, the Colombian should (barring injury) be playing in all 38 of Milan’s matches this season. Bacca already has one goal after finding the net against Empoli.
A player with a similarly big reputation but a smaller price-tag than the aforementioned Bacca, Luiz Adriano’s claim to fame was a five goal Champions League game against BATE Borisov last season. But while he scored nine goals in seven Champions League games, he was restricted to just nine goals in 21 league games for Shakhtar Donestk. It remains to be seen whether he will play in a deeper role in Milan’s 4-3-1-2, playing as more of a provider for his Colombian strike-partner as they battle it out for the Capocannoniere crown.
The man expected to carry the burden of Roma’s quest for Serie A glory, Dzeko made headlines with a match-winning goal against Juventus that demonstrated his qualities as a strong and efficient prima punta. The former Manchester City striker fills a void in the Roma line-up that handicapped their tilt for the scudetto last season. If Roma can sort their attacking fluency issues from last season that saw them succumb to a series of 1-1 draws, expect Dzeko to feature near the top of the Capocannoniere charts come season’s end.
Since his arrival on the peninsula, Gonzalo Higuain has become renowned for his goalscoring exploits, but is still yet to claim Capocannoniere honours during his time in Naples. The Argentinian striker scored 18 goals last season as Napoli slumped to 5th place in Serie A. Higuain’s main strength is his consistency as a minimum 15-goal a season striker. Furthermore, his tally of 27 goals in the 2009/10 La Liga season while at Real Madrid suggests that there is unfilled potential still to be exploited in Naples.
A sentimental favourite for another Capocannoniere after his stunning season last time around, 38 year-old Luca Toni surely does not have it in him? Or does he? No one expected the evergreen Italian to score 22 times last season, but his track record suggests it was not a fluke and also suggests that people would be naïve to write him off from challenging again. One would argue that Toni’s hopes will rely heavily on Hellas Verona’s ability to stave off relegation, and repeat the 10th and 13th places of the previous two seasons.
Had this piece been written two weeks ago, it would not have included Eder. But one cannot deny the Sampdoria front-man a mention in this list after he struck braces in both Serie A matches so far this season. Because of this, his four goals have him at the top of the Capocannoniere charts after two games. Eder is benefitting greatly from a more open and attacking Sampdoria outfit after the departure of Sinisa Mihajlovic, and one would suggest, like Toni, Eder’s hopes will rest strongly on the success of his team. But with Sampdoria playing so well, Eder cannot be ignored.
Serie A’s impact signing so far, Stevan Jovetic has never been a purist goal-scorer, but his current Inter form suggests this might be about to change. Three fabulous goals in his first two matches for the nerazurri have the Montenegrin tucked just in behind Eder on the Capocannoniere leader board so far this season. Perhaps the key to his chances, is avoiding the soft tissue injuries that have so far plagued his so far inconsistent career to date. One also questions the 25 year-old’s pedigree, with his highest goals tally being the 14 he scored for Fiorentina in 2011/12.