Inside Edge: The race is on as Calvert-Lewin chases the golden boot

Nick Haynes from Form Labs – a division of Bettorlogic – rounds off the week by giving a breakdown of this week’s sporting activity. In this edition, goalscoring runs are at the top of the agenda, as Haynes considers whether Dominic Calvert-Lewin can match a record set by Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero.

As the Premier League slowly begins to take shape, lots of interest has cast onto the Everton setup, and more specifically, striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The Englishman currently leads the Golden Boot race with seven goals, while he also scored on his international debut in the most recent break. 

In fact, he’s looking to match Sergio Aguero’s record of scoring in each of his side’s opening six Premier League matches, a record the Argentine set just last season, though how often does this milestone get reached, and when do goalscoring runs tend to come to an end?

Jamie Vardy set the record of scoring in the most consecutive games during his side’s title winning campaign, breaking Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of 10. The Dutchman also went on a separate eight game run that was matched by Daniel Sturridge when he was at Liverpool in the 2013/14 season, though him and Vardy are the only two to have completed more than six since Emmanuel Adebayor in 2007/08, with modern Premier League strikers struggling for consistency.

Harry Kane has been one of the most prolific strikers in the league over the past few years, though since the 2016/17 season England’s talisman has only converted on 46% of his opportunities to extend a scoring run. Jamie Vardy has only a slightly worse conversion rate of 45.8% over the same period. Mo Salah has extended his scoring run 40.7% of the time since his return to the Premier League, while Liverpool’s other winger Sadio Mane has just a 32.7% return in that time frame. 

Dominic Calvert-Lewin then stands in good stead to carry on his run, as he returns a 42.9% conversion rate since the 2018/19 season, which increases to 60% since the beginning of last season. The Englishman has shown no signs of slowing down, and is a strong 6/4 to match Aguero’s record against Saints this weekend.

That brings us onto the first big game of the weekend between Man Utd (23/15) and Chelsea (15/8). Five of United’s last six matches across all competitions have come on the road, though they won five of them and scored at least three times on four occasions. Even if the exception was a 6-1 humiliation by Tottenham, the manner of their triumph midweek against PSG will have eased concerns. 

Moreover, that win in Paris saw them earn their 10th consecutive victory on the road for the first time when including extra time, while they rarely fail to score at Old Trafford and since the start of last season, they’ve found the net in 10 of 11 matches when facing the top eight finishers at home or at Wembley, as both teams scored in over half of these.

Chelsea’s current form isn’t so great and they’ve only won two of seven matches in all competitions since an opening day win at Brighton, while even one of those came against Championship strugglers Barnsley. 

Their recent record against the top sides hasn’t been fantastic either as they’ve lost three of five winless matches with Arsenal, Bayern, Liverpool, Spurs and Sevilla since August. With that in mind, United look the team worth getting onside as Lampard’s squad continue to find their feet.

That isn’t the only heavyweight clash being played out in Europe this weekend either. Real Madrid (5/2) travel to Barcelona (11/10) for the first El Clasico fixture of the season, and their 245th competitive meeting to date.

It’s difficult to oppose Barca at the Camp Nou, especially after the week Real Madrid have endured, but we’d want them at a bigger price in the outright. Against the best sides they’ve faced on home turf since December they’ve drawn with Spanish outfits Real Madrid, Atletico and Sevilla, as Napoli were the only side they beat. 

Given ter Stegen is absent in goal and key man Ramos is back for the visitors, Los Blancos look a tastier price to get something from this game having lost just once in seven at this venue since 2015/16. 

We’ve become accustomed to explosive head to heads with at least three goals in 23 of 26 clashes from the 2011/12 season to the end of 2018. However, only one of five subsequent matches have seen three strikes and at least one team has failed to score in each of the past four meetings. 

Given nine of Real Madrid’s 13 league matches since late June have featured no more than two goals, including four of five this season, as well as how damaging a defeat for either side would be, we can see this one falling a bit flat. 

 Elsewhere, an eight-month delay in the finishing of the Six Nations has certainly been frustrating, but it certainly won’t take away from the spectacle with England (4/11), France (16/1) and Ireland (7/2) all in with a realistic chance of lifting the title. Ireland take on an Italian outfit in their game in hand, who have lost 25 straight matches in this competition dating back over a five-year period and a bonus point will surely be on the way for them this weekend, and in doing so would put them one point clear at the head of the table. They do face France in the concluding weekend though, while current leaders England travel to Italy, putting Eddie Jones’ men in pole position to claim their seventh Six Nations title.

Over the pond the World Series began this week and evenly poised at 1-1, though the Dodgers remain heavy odds on favourites to take the title with most bookies having them at 1/2 (-200) on the outright, and rightly so. The Dodgers had by far the best winning percentage of any team during the regular season at 71.7%

The average of the best team over the past 18 seasons has been 62.4%, with the highest registered during this period being the Boston Red Sox with 66.7% in 2018. Although Tampa Bay doesn’t live up to that record, this is only the fourth time in the Wild-Card era (last 25 years) that the sides with the best record from each league have met in the World Series. Going in as favourite hasn’t exactly done wonders for teams in the past, with seven of the last 10 World Series winners entering as underdogs, so the Rays might be worth keeping an eye on at 17/10 (170)

Stat of the day

The Italian rugby team has won just two of their 52 away games in the Six Nations (since 2000), being behind at the break in 45, while they’ve failed to score a second half point against Ireland in eight of their 12 meetings since October 2011. 

Form Labs delivers bespoke editorial covering a variety of sports to a number of sportsbooks. Click here for more information or contact Nick Haynes on [email protected].

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