The next in our end-of-week fixtures, the Friday Question is simple: Each of our writers takes a brief crack at one burning question. This week:
Which three players finish as top scorer in England, Spain and Italy and why?
I’m all in on Dzeko in England. It’s true that unlike Rooney, he’s not likely to take many of his squad’s set pieces, but Rooney’s not going to get to score three goals from dead-ball situations every game, and I think Manchester United’s fluid offense means the midfielders, particularly on the wings, as many prime scoring chances as it does the strikers. Dzeko though seems primed to reap the rewards of Nasri, Silva and Aguero’s hard work.
In Italy, I kind of like one of Juventus’ forwards, especially considering all reinforcements they’ve brought in (I love Elia and Vidal) but with all those forwards on the roster, I don’t know if Matri’s going to get the time he had at Cagliari to pad his total in the early months of the year. The same logic applies to Milan. I’ll go with Cavani, as I think the loss of the threat of Sanchez costs Di Natale more than the two goals that separated him from the Uruguayan.
As for Spain, I don’t really see the point in trying to be creative about it. If I had to really choose one, I’d guess Ronaldo will probably score more goals than Messi again. Instead, I’ll try a different strategy: Heads = Messi, Tails = Ronaldo. It came up heads.
In England? Who else but Wayne Rooney. I think it’s safe to say he’s rediscovered his form and he’s looking really dangerous again. Even as a (relative) EPL outsider, I love watching what this guy does in front of goal – especially with his head. Man City will produce several challengers (Dzeko and Aguero, for example), but I think they’ll cool down much like Chelsea did last season. Plus, the goals will be more spread out at City. That leaves Roonster with the title.
Italy? I’ll give it to Antonio di Natale. He’ll be 34 in a month, which is why it doesn’t make any sense that he’s on form like he is. But while Udinese will slip down the table a few spots, di Natale will continue to do what he does best – getting in behind defenders, putting shots on target, and heading in crosses. With Sanchez out of the picture, he may even be the benficiary of more chances than last year.
Spain, oh Spain. As much as it pains me to say it, Cristiano Ronaldo will win the Pichichi again this year. The fact is, Madrid will continue to look to him to score. Yes, he shoots…A LOT. But that translates to a lot of goals. Ronaldo will score one too many hat tricks against relegation sides, leaving him two or three goals ahead of Messi (who, by the way, will score more European goals). Overall, I doubt either of them will score fewer than 30 in Spain (barring injury).
Easy for La Liga. Cristiano Ronaldo. Let’s face it, the defenses in La Liga aren’t very good. That would be an understatement, actually. Cristiano is still peaking. You could say that as his hair goes, he goes (five years from now, he’ll have a shaved head). I don’t think he’ll score more than he did last year, but I can see another goal competition between him and Messi, with the little Argentine coming off slightly worse only because he will inevitably become disinterested in scoring goals per se, and more interested in being the guy who passes the ball to the guy who gets the assist for the goal.
EPL. I mean, I guess three weeks in it seems to be a three-horse race between Suarez, Dzeko, and Rooney. I’ll give Rooney the nod, if only because he’s got that Golden Boot pedigree the other two are seeking. Sure, both Dzeko and Suarez scored boatloads in other European leagues, but only Rooney has done it on a cold, wet, snowing, raining, sleeting December night in Stoke.
Serie A. Well, this is a bit tougher for me, only because I stopped paying attention to Italy when Pavel Nedved retired. AC Milan is ostensibly the best team at the moment with the best players, so I’ll just go ahead say Robinho. It’s completely ludicrous to think that silly man will come close to fulfilling his potential, but, no one else on O87 will put that, so, we’ll just go with it.
The Friday Predictions
Eric: Milan 4-1 Lazio. The Rossoneri prove they don’t need no stinking Mr. X.
Adams: Milan 2-0 Lazio. Okay, Lazio have bolstered their squad significantly, but new-look squads always take a while to gel (just ask Malaga). Milan steal the show. Ibra assists a Pato sitter.
Wes: AC Milan 3-1 Lazio. Three very tongue-in-cheek goals from Robinho.
The Friday Recommendations
Eric: Not had a lot of time to do much quality reading thanks to the wildfires in my backyard, but my cohorts had two really good pieces on our site this week, which you should definitiely check out here and here.
Adams: It’s a battle of Euro qualifiers in La Liga this weekend, with Villarreal/Sevilla and Valencia/Atletico featuring on Saturday, while Espanyol face Athletic Bilbao on Sunday. Take your pick – these should all be fine matches. Also, consider donating to the Eric & Natalie Betts Commemorative Fire-Retardant Moat Fund.
Wes: I’m in Virginia this weekend, and, spent a good amount of time on the road with nothing but my thoughts and about 30 podcasts. A large chunk of these were the WTF! Podcast with Mark Maron. Even though it’s not soccer, I really can’t recommend it highly enough. Maron sits down with other comedians and they talk about life for about an hour. In addition to being hilarious, it’s genuinely thought-provoking and interesting to see what motivates people like Joe Rogan, Conan O’Brian, Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, and many others. Check it out.