Could Jermain Defoe finish as top goalscorer?

By Online Editorial

Defoe has scored five League goals for Spurs already this season

The stats don’t lie and Jermain Defoe’s goalscoring record so far this season suggests he will come very close to ending the season as the Premier Leagues’ top goalscorer, writes Andrew Atherley.

Jermain Defoe is approaching the end of a calendar year that has seen him emerge as a leading candidate to spearhead the England attack, and there are two main ways in which backers can benefit if he continues his excellent form.

The first is by backing him to score every time he starts for Tottenham, as his true odds in that market should be even-money, or 2.0, based on his excellent scoring record since his return to Tottenham at the start of 2009.

Defoe has scored in 50% of his Premier League starts since teaming up again with Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp and his 16 goals in 20 starts give him a high average of 0.8 goals per game when he has started.

On those figures, the second way to profit from Defoe’s form is to back him at 4.8 in the Top Goalscorer 09/10 market, as his scoring average indicates he will finish on 29 goals if he starts all of Tottenham’s remaining Premier League games.

That will set a high standard for the other contenders. In the current market, Wayne Rooney, third in the scoring charts at the moment with 12 goals, is 4.7 favourite, with Defoe (joint-leader with 13 goals) one of a trio available to back at 4.8, alongside Didier Drogba (also 13 goals) and Fernando Torres (11 goals).

The market says the winner almost certainly will come from that quartet, and there is a strong case to be made for Defoe, who is trying to become the first winner from a non-big-four team since Kevin Phillips, of Sunderland, scored 30 goals in 1999/2000.

The seven strikers who have scored more than 12 goals before Christmas in the past 10 seasons have gone to secure first place four times and runner-up three times, which points to Defoe and Drogba being the front-runners and near-certainties to make the top four. In the Top Goalscorer-Top 4 market, Drogba is 1.45 to back and Defoe 1.62.

Defoe is more tempting in that market, and in the overall Top Goalscorer market, because he is likely to play more games than Drogba, who must overcome the handicap of going away for the African Nations Cup in January.

A negative against Defoe might be that he has scored in fewest matches among the main contenders, but he is on target to score in around 16 games, which is the norm for a top goalscorer. If he does that, his strike-rate indicates he is likely to reach the mid-20s at least and be very hard to beat.

Having only a two-day break between matches is unusual in modern-day football and, for the team forced to travel off a quick turnaround, it is often fatal.

That scenario crops up in the Premier League again this Christmas, with most teams playing on December 26 and 28 (or, in a couple of cases, on the 27th and 29th), and the away sides to be wary of are non-Big Four teams that have to travel further than a local derby for the second match.

In the past 10 seasons, the away team has won that type of match-up just five times out of 31 (16%) while the home win rate is a whopping 65%. The apparent tiredness factor faced by the away team is reflected in the fact that they have failed to score in just over half of those games, with 15 of the 20 home wins being to nil.

The teams most in peril off a quick turnaround this year are Sunderland (at Blackburn on Monday), Manchester City (at Wolves on Monday) and Hull (at Bolton on Tuesday).

Reproduced with permission from betting.betfair.com. © The Sporting Exchange Limited

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