Goals define games, it’s as simple as that. Hardly a truer statement has been made when it comes to English football and a good striker can be the difference between a team gaining promotion and suffering relegation — especially in the Championship. With the new season on the horizon, Watford, Norwich City and Burnley bundle down to the second tier following Premier League relegation, and with a season interrupted by the World Cup, it will be interesting to see if they can score enough goals to make their way back to the promised land at the first time of asking.

You only need to look at Fulham’s side last year to see how crucial finding the back of the net is in the Championship. Games come thick and fast so being able to kill a game off as quickly as possible to move onto the next one is imperative. Marco Silva will be thanking Aleksandar Mitrović for his contribution, with the Serbian bagging 43 league goals to break the record for most goals scored in a single league campaign, destroying Ivan Toney’s previous feat from the season before at Brentford.

Fulham’s promotion means the race for the Golden Boot is back underway and perhaps a more even affair on the surface. Obviously the recently relegated teams will command respect in the early weeks of the season, and the Championship predictions with windrawwin back them to win their opening games with relative ease. The pressure is on strikers from the rest of the division to chip in with their own goals, and with that in mind, read on as we take a look at some of the candidates for the Golden Boot in the second tier this season. 

Ismaïla Sarr

While injuries and a lack of form at Watford meant IsmaïlaSarr suffered a difficult season, his high price tag means it’s likely he’ll remain at Vicarage Roadfor the coming year, and will surely be one of the most talented players in the division. Once a target for Liverpool and Manchester United, the Senegal international struggled in front of goal last term, but demonstrated his ability in the second tier in 2020-21 when he helped the Hornets finish second and gain automatic promotion. Expect him to play a more advanced role in a 4-3-3, using his pace and trickery to find the back of the net in Hertfordshire throughout the season. 

Teemu Pukki

There was so much hype in the 2018-19 season when TeemuPukki helped Norwich gain promotion to the Premier League. The Finnish striker was in the form of his life, scoring 29 league goals, but failed to rekindle that form in the top flight. While he had a brief stint at Celtic, he still arrived in England as something of an unknown entity, arriving from Bröndbyand setting the league alight. Now 32 years old, his pace might have diminished but Pukki has still demonstrated he can score goals at this level, and you wouldn’t put it past him to be in the race for the Golden Boot, especially if he can form a proper relationship with strike partner Josh Sargent

Andreas Weimann

Another player perhaps too good for the Championship but not good enough for the Premier League, Andreas Weimannhas been a stalwart in the English game, bouncing around Aston Villa and Derby County in the Midlands before establishing himself as Bristol City’s main man. The Robins are quietly going about their business and building a good team, with Antoine Semenyo likely to stay put at Ashton Gate, and the Austrian will be looking to add to the 22 league goals he bagged last season. Bristol showed good form towards the end of the last campaign, winning four of the last five to beat the drop, and the experience they gained, combined with a style that suits Weimann’s physicality, sets the 30-year-old up nicely to find the back of the net.

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