Ranking every Premier League Golden Boot-winning season

Coveted by attacking players for over three decades, the Premier League Golden Boot award has been presented to the highest goal scorer in the English top flight at the end of each campaign since 1992-93, but no one has won it as emphatically as Manchester City‘s Erling Haaland.

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Haaland’s 36-goal haul this season is the highest total ever reached in the Premier League, surpassing the previous record of 34 set by Alan Shearer and Andy Cole in the mid-1990s, when teams played 42 games instead of 38. The lowest Golden Boot-winning goal tally is 18, the total in each of the two consecutive seasons that the award was shared between three players (1997-98, 1998-99.)

Thierry Henry has claimed more Golden Boot awards than any other player, with the Arsenal legend winning four times in the space of five seasons (2001-02, 2003-04, 2004-05, 2005-06.)

Shearer, the Premier League’s all-time top scorer with 260 goals, is the only other player to have won three consecutive Golden Boots (1994-95, 1995-96, 1996-97). Shearer, Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah are the players to have won three times overall — though two of Salah’s awards were shared (2018-19, 2021-22).

As for clubs, Liverpool players have won the Golden Boot on more occasions (seven) than any other Premier League side with Michael Owen, Luis Suarez, Salah and Sadio Mane all sharing the spoils between them.

In all, there have been 26 different players to win the Golden Boot in the 31 years of the Premier League’s existence. Here’s how each of those campaigns rank, from least impressive to best.

Note: The first three Golden Boots (1992-93, 1993-94, 1994-95) were awarded for 42-game seasons. The Premier League was then reduced from 22 teams to 20 from 1995-96 onwards. All Golden Boots thereafter were awarded for 38-game seasons.


31. 1997-98 (18 goals): Dion Dublin (Coventry City, 6 penalties), Michael Owen (Liverpool, 2 pens), Chris Sutton (Blackburn Rovers, 2 pens)

The lowest goal tally required to win a Premier League Golden Boot is 18, which resulted in two three-way splits in as many years. The first instance came 25 years ago as Dublin, Owen and Sutton shared the award. None of the teams represented were anywhere close to being champions, and both Coventry and Blackburn finished in mid-table.

Having both amassed 18 goals in 36 games, Dublin and Owen also have the joint-lowest goal-per-game rate (0.50) of any Golden Boot winner, while Sutton’s average was slightly better (0.51) by virtue of him playing one game fewer. Dublin also required six penalties to keep pace.

30. 2008-09 (19 goals): Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea, 0 pens)

In a tumultuous season in which Chelsea burned through three managers, Anelka was one of only two Blues players to reach double figures. But that trend extended well beyond Stamford Bridge; this was the lowest-scoring Premier League season on record, with a total of 942 goals between all 20 clubs.

As such, France striker Anelka registered the lowest individual goal tally needed to secure an outright Golden Boot win with 19 goals in 36 games, which also constitutes the second-lowest goal-per-game rate (0.53) of any winner — though, in mitigation, he didn’t pad out his stats with any penalties.

29. 1998-99 (18 goals): Michael Owen (Liverpool, 0 pens), Dwight Yorke (Manchester United, 0 pens), Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Leeds United, 0 pens)

Owen’s second successive Premier League Golden Boot once again had the prestige somewhat diminished having to share it with two other players, as both Hasselbaink and Yorke matched his tally.

The award did see the latter duo break new ground by becoming the Premier League’s first non-English Golden Boot winners, with Yorke also the first non-European to claim the award.

Forever securing his status as a pub quiz staple, Sheringham was the Premier League’s top scorer in its inaugural season. He is also the only player to have won a Golden Boot while playing for two different teams in the same season.

Sheringham scored one goal for Forest on the opening day (a 1-0 win vs. Liverpool on Aug. 16, 1992 — the Premier League’s first live televised goal) before transferring to Tottenham the following week, where he added a further 21 goals to finish as top scorer.

27. 2006-07 (20 goals): Didier Drogba (Chelsea, 0 pens)

Chelsea finished runners-up to Manchester United in the title race but could at least claim to have the Premier League’s top scorer as Drogba stuck away 20 goals in 36 games.

While one of the lowest tallies on record, Drogba’s output represented nearly one third of Chelsea’s total league haul of 64 goals, and was ultimately enough to land the Ivory Coast striker his first Golden Boot — fending off stiff competition from Blackburn’s Benni McCarthy.

26. 2010-11 (20 goals): Carlos Tevez (Manchester City, 5 pens), Dimitar Berbatov (Manchester United, 0 pens)

An underwhelming Golden Boot was shared across the Mancunian divide as Tevez scored 15 goals from open play for City, while Berbatov only managed to find the net in 11 league games all season for eventual champions United.

Indeed, the Bulgarian scored mainly in spurts, with hat tricks against Liverpool and Birmingham City and a sensational five-goal glut against Blackburn accounting for more than half his tally in three matches.

25. 2018-19 (22 goals): Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal, 4 pens), Sadio Mane (Liverpool, 0 pens), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool, 3 pens)

Another relatively low Golden Boot tally, this time with an all-African three-way split. However, the fact that two Liverpool players jointly topped the Premier League scoring chart emphasises the prolific strike partnership forged between Salah and Mane over the 2018-19 campaign, though it wasn’t enough to prevent Manchester City from winning their fourth title by a single point on the final day.

24. 2000-01 (23 goals): Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Chelsea, 4 pens)

Hasselbaink became the first player since Shearer to win the Golden Boot with two different clubs after claiming his first with Leeds as part of 1998-99’s trio of joint winners.

Admittedly, competition wasn’t particularly fierce. Marcus Stewart of Ipswich Town finished second in the running with 19 goals, ahead of Henry of Arsenal and Mark Viduka of Leeds United, who were level in third (both 17 goals.)

23. 2015-16 (25 goals): Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur, 5 pens)

Despite enjoying a marvellous individual season for Tottenham, in which he powered to the summit of the goal-scoring charts, Kane’s personal exploits were overshadowed by the fact that Leicester City defied 5,000-1 odds to lift the Premier League title.

22. 2019-20 (23 goals): Jamie Vardy (Leicester City, 4 pens)

Four years after scoring 24 goals to help propel Claudio Ranieri’s Foxes to an unlikely title, only to be pipped to the Golden Boot by Kane, Vardy surged back to claim the accolade that had evaded him in 2015-16. At the age of 33, the striker became the oldest player to win the award when he scored 23 goals for Leicester in this oft-forgotten COVID-disrupted campaign.

21. 2002-03 (25 goals): Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United, 7 pens)

A penalty box poacher par excellence, Van Nistelrooy was the second Manchester United player to win the Golden Boot after Yorke. The nature of the Netherlands striker’s game dictates that his 25-goal haul was largely comprised of tap-ins, close-range finishes and seven penalty kicks. However, his spontaneous 50-yard solo dash through the entire Fulham defence was a goal that any flair forward would have been proud to score.

20. 2021-22 (23 goals): Mohamed Salah (Liverpool, 5 pens), Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur, 0 pens)

Salah and Son shared the 2021-22 award with a joint tally that, while perfectly respectable, is still below the average for Golden Boot-winning yields. Tottenham forward Son did become the first Asian player to claim the accolade and did so without scoring any penalties, as opposed to Salah’s five. For his part, the Liverpool player became only the sixth player to claim consecutive Golden Boots.

Of the combined 46 goals scored by the two winners, the pick of the bunch was undoubtedly Son’s 90-yard solo special against Burnley which landed him the 2020 Puskas Award.

19. 2001-02 (24 goals): Thierry Henry (Arsenal, 4 pens)

The first of Henry’s quadruple cache of Golden Boots came as the elegant France forward truly hit his stride for Arsenal, passing the 20-league goal mark for the first time. With the Henry/Robert Pires axis in full swing, the former scored 24 goals in 33 games as the Gunners were crowned champions before going onto secure the Double.

However it was arguably Dennis Bergkamp who scored all the most aesthetically pleasing goals for Arsenal in 2001-02, with the Dutchman reeling off a succession of classic strikes, notably his famous 180-degree spin and finish against Newcastle United.

18. 2005-06 (27 goals): Thierry Henry (Arsenal, 1 pen)

As Arsenal waved a fond farewell to their spiritual home of Highbury, 2005-06 turned out to be Henry’s last full, sharp and uninterrupted season with the club before injuries disrupted his form throughout 2006-07 and he departed for Barcelona shortly thereafter.

Also winning the Premier League Player of the Year plaudits, the talismanic Frenchman scored 27 goals in 32 games to register the highest goal-per-game rate (0.84) of any of his four Golden Boot winning tallies as the Gunners finished fourth.

17. 2014-15 (26 goals): Sergio Aguero (Manchester City, 5 pens)

In Aguero’s most prolific individual season for Manchester City, he scored 26 league goals and laid on another eight assists while playing as an out-and-out striker.

However, it’s unfortunate that his biggest Premier League goal return came during a season in which City finished runners-up behind Chelsea in the title race. As such, his attacking feats — including a brilliant one-man, four-goal demolition of Tottenham — went largely unrewarded.

16. 2020-21 (23 goals): Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur, 4 pens)

Kane became the first Premier League player to finish top of both the goal and assist charts in the same season for 22 years after once again carrying Tottenham through the 2020-21 season.

However, his third career Golden Boot and Playmaker Award-winning creative output of 14 assists couldn’t propel Spurs beyond an underwhelming seventh-place finish.

15. 1996-97 (25 goals): Alan Shearer (Newcastle United, 3 pens)

After establishing a new benchmark for Premier League goal scoring with Blackburn Rovers, Shearer returned to boyhood club Newcastle for the 1996-97 season in a then-world record £15 million transfer. The England captain did not disappoint, with 25 goals in 31 games (including a thunderous free kick against Leicester City that might just be the hardest any human being has ever kicked a football) as the Magpies finished runners-up behind champions Manchester United for the second successive season. Agony.

14. 2011-12 (30 goals): Robin van Persie (Arsenal, 2 pens)

Van Persie seized centre-stage at Arsenal in 2011-12 after years as a young understudy with ongoing injury issues, first by taking the captaincy from Barca-bound Cesc Fabregas and then by becoming only the sixth player ever to reach 30 Premier League goals in one season.

Unfortunately for him, it was the last-gasp heroics of Aguero that came to define the campaign as Man City plundered the most dramatic of title wins from under the noses of Manchester United. Still, the Gunners finished a respectable third in what was their 125th anniversary season, and Van Persie was firmly established as one of the league’s top strikers.

13. 2009-10 (29 goals): Didier Drogba (Chelsea, 0 pens)

Drogba’s best return for Chelsea came as the Blues successfully secured a league and cup Double under new coach Carlo Ancelotti. As the Ivorian led the line and caused havoc, Ancelotti’s side were in free-scoring form throughout the campaign and set new Premier League records for most goals scored overall (103) and most goals scored at home in a single season (68.)

Drogba scored his 100th goal for the club as he showcased the full range of his finishing ability, from cute dinks to towering headers, to 25-yard torpedoes, to sumptuous long-range free kicks.

12: 2004-05 (25 goals): Thierry Henry (Arsenal, 0 pens)

Without falling back on penalties to boost his numbers, Henry rattled in 25 goals (including two hat tricks) and 14 assists as his irresistible form helped to carry Arsenal to a second-place finish despite their talismanic forward missing six of the last nine games of the season.

Despite scoring 13 goals in his first 16 league outings, Henry was mocked by Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho for supposedly only scoring against weaker opponents ahead of a crunch clash between the two sides in mid-December. The Arsenal striker responded by scoring twice in a 2-2 draw, with his first coming after just 75 seconds and the second being the cheekiest of quick free kicks.

Chelsea had the last laugh by beating Arsenal to the title by 12 points, but Henry did at least finish a dozen goals ahead of the Blues’ top league scorer (Frank Lampard with 13 goals) in the Golden Boot race.

11. 1999-2000 (30 goals): Kevin Phillips (Sunderland, 6 pens)

Kevin Phillips’ remarkable 30-goal haul for Sunderland in 1999-00 remains the best return for any newly promoted striker in a 38-game Premier League season. His symbiotic “big man-little man” partnership with Niall Quinn produced 44 goals in total — more than Watford, Sheffield Wednesday and Bradford City mustered.

The Black Cats were challenging for European qualification throughout the campaign, only to finish seventh. Still, Phillips’ phenomenal goal tally won him the European Golden Shoe (the top scorer in the whole of Europe) ahead of Milan’s Andriy Shevchenko and PSV’s Van Nistelrooy. He remains the only Englishman to have ever won it.

10. 2012-13 (26 goals): Robin van Persie (Manchester United, 3 pens)

After Manchester United missed out on the title on goal difference the previous year, Sir Alex Ferguson signed Van Persie from Arsenal for £24m to help deliver the trophy in what was to be the Scot’s final season of his long and distinguished managerial reign at Old Trafford. Unsurprisingly, signing the previous season’s Golden Boot winner from a direct rival proved to be a sound decision, and Van Persie repeated the feat as United soared to the 2012-13 title.

The Dutchman pitched in with plenty of important goals in big games, including an injury-time winner against “noisy neighbours” Man City and a famous volley as part of a hat trick against Aston Villa — the 3-0 victory that sealed Fergie’s 13th title with four games to spare. Van Persie’s crashing finish against Villa was so good, in fact, that it was retrospectively named 2012-13’s Premier League Goal of the Season when in 2020, the Premier League decided to go through and backdate the award for every season since the division’s inception.

9. 1993-94 (34 goals): Andy Cole (Newcastle, 0 pens)

An electric finisher and constant threat inside the penalty area, Cole scored 34 goals in 40 games as newly promoted Newcastle galloped to an unexpected third-place finish and qualified for Europe as a result. The striker also weighed in with 14 assists to finish top of the assists chart, a feat not matched until Kane did likewise with Tottenham in 2020-21.

Cole was the first player to reach 100 Premier League goals without scoring a single penalty (there are now five other members of this club) though he had to wait until February 1999 to do so, reaching his league century after scoring a brace in Manchester United’s 8-1 evisceration of Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.

8. 1995-96 (31 goals): Alan Shearer (Blackburn Rovers, 3 pens)

Refusing to allow the shift from a 42-game season to a 38-game format hold him back, Shearer replicated his absurd goal-scoring prowess with Rovers, hammering in 31 goals in 35 games (including a league-record five hat tricks) despite the defending champions only managing a lowly seventh-place finish.

It was during the 1995-96 season that Shearer became the founding member of the Premier League’s “100 Club” as the first to score a century of goals in the competition. He also took just 124 games to reach three figures, which remains a record to this day. Kane is second-fastest, taking 141 games.

7. 2016-17 (29 goals): Harry Kane (Tottenham, 5 pens)

After winning the 2015-16 Golden Boot, Kane improved upon his goal-scoring output the following season to claim back-to-back awards, becoming the fifth player to do so. The England striker scored 29 goals in 30 games to end the season with the highest-ever Golden Boot-winning goal-per-game rate (0.97) on record and the best minutes-per-goal rate (87.3) of any player in this top 10.

While Tottenham once again ended the campaign empty handed, they did equal their highest top-flight finish as runners-up behind champions Chelsea. Kane ended with a flourish, scoring eight goals in his final three league appearances to fly past Romelu Lukaku in the Golden Boot race. Indeed, with four goals against Leicester in Spurs’ penultimate outing and then three more against Hull City on the final day, Kane took his season hat trick tally to a career-best four — and all despite missing nine games through injury.

He also etched his name into another bit of Tottenham history as the last Spurs player to score a goal at White Hart Lane, in a 2-1 win over Manchester United. The club ended their last season without losing a single home game.

6. 2017-18 (32 goals): Mohamed Salah (Liverpool, 1 pen)

After being dismissed as an inconsistent young winger by Chelsea, Salah returned to the English top flight after spells with Fiorentina and Roma in Italy with a major point to prove. He did so in emphatic fashion, winning the Golden Boot by scoring 32 league goals in his maiden campaign at Liverpool to set a new Premier League record for most goals scored in a 38-game season.

The Reds were way off title pace and finished fourth, but they did reach the Champions League final — in which Salah was taken off injured after 30 minutes against Real Madrid. The Reds were back the following season, with Salah scoring as they were crowned European champions.

The Egypt international did however manage to cap off a fine individual campaign by beating Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale to claim FIFA’s Puskas Award for best goal of the year. He won for the twisting solo goal he scored against Everton in the Merseyside derby in mid-December, although teammate James Milner joked that it was only his seventh best of the season.

5. 2013-14 (31 goals): Luis Suarez (Liverpool, 0 pens)

By scoring 31 goals in 34 games and laying on 17 assists, Suarez produced one of the best individual season performances in the Premier League. As well as cranking out the second-highest goal-per-game rate (0.94) of any Golden Boot winner without scoring a single penalty, Suarez also became the fourth (and the most recent) top goal-scorer in the Premier League to claim the European Golden Shoe.

After missing the first five games of the season as he completed his 10-match suspension for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic suspension, Suarez scored 19 goals in his first 12 league outings, including a four-goal flurry against Norwich City in early December.

The Uruguay international scored an impressive variety of goals, including seven from outside the penalty area. No wonder he won both the PFA Player of the Year and Premier League Player of the Season awards. However, it wasn’t enough to prevent the Reds’ campaign drawing to a heart-breaking climax as Brendan Rodgers’ side agonisingly let the title slip away in the final two weeks of the season.

4. 1994-95 (34 goals): Alan Shearer (Blackburn Rovers, 10 pens)

The Premier League’s all-time top goal scorer enjoyed his finest season in 1994-95. Shearer spent the campaign in unstoppable form, scoring 34 goals and three hat tricks as Blackburn upset the order and romped to an unlikely title — the Lancashire club’s first top flight championship in 81 years.

Shearer finished nine goals ahead of Robbie Fowler in the Golden Boot race while also providing 13 assists (the third-highest tally in the division) as his “SAS” partnership with target man Sutton produced 49 goals and 23 assists in total.

With three hat tricks, Shearer also scored vital goals in crunch late-season victories over Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton and Newcastle that saw Rovers lead the table into the final day, needing to beat Liverpool to stave off second-place Manchester United and sew up the title. Shearer scored in a 2-1 loss at Anfield but United could only manage a 1-1 draw at West Ham and fluffed their chances of overturning Kenny Dalglish’s side.

The fact that Shearer topped off his tally with 10 penalties is something of a blemish from the purist’s perspective (being roughly 30% of his overall total) but the fact his 34-goal windfall stood as the Premier League single-season record for almost three decades until Haaland showed up is testament to its sheer magnitude.

3. 2003-04 (30 goals): Thierry Henry (Arsenal, 7 pens)

Henry is one of only two players (Aguero being the other) to have scored 20+ goals in five consecutive Premier League seasons, the third of which saw him score 30 goals for Arsenal’s fabled “Invincibles” title-winning team.

The Gunners were crowned champions without losing a single game (despite a momentary wobble against Leicester City on the final day of the season) as Henry scored 41% of their Premier League goals along the way before being named Premier League Player of the Year, PFA Players’ Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year. He was so good that we’re even willing to overlook the high amount of penalties involved.

Perhaps the defining moment of Henry’s brilliant individual season came against Liverpool at the beginning of April when, following a disastrous period that had seen Arsenal suffer exits from the Champions League and FA Cup in the space of six days, the Gunners found themselves 1-0 down at home against Liverpool with their unbeaten league status in serious threat.

A nervous Highbury crowd was soon put at ease as they watched their superstar striker respond with a sublime hat trick in a resounding 4-2 comeback victory. And Henry’s second goal — an immaculate solo dribble and inch-perfect curling finish — will go down as a classic example of his undeniable grace, composure, athleticism and skill.

In addition, no Premier League Golden Boot winner in this top 10 scored more goals with his “wrong” foot than Henry did in 2003-04, netting seven of his 30 goals with his left foot.

2. 2022-23 (36 goals): Erling Haaland (Manchester City, 7 pens)

Few players have made as profound an impact in their debut Premier League season as Haaland, who has made it his business to lay waste to defences right across Europe.

After kicking off with a brace against West Ham United on his league debut, Haaland found the net 15 times in his next 10 games — a wild spree that included three hat tricks against Crystal Palace, Nottingham Forest and Manchester United. That last treble, in City’s 6-3 derby rampage at the Etihad in early October, was part of a stellar individual performance in which the Norway international also registered two assists.

Haaland’s eight assists ensured that, as well as winning the 2022-23 Golden Boot (finishing six goals clear of his closest challenger), he also finished in the top 10 assist makers. Indeed, he supplied at least one goal contribution (either a goal and/or an assist) in 27 of the 35 games he played in and never went more than two games without finding the net.

What’s more, it took him only 29 games to break Salah’s record for a 38-game season (32 goals) when he scored his 33rd of the campaign against Arsenal in April. Two games and two more goals later, Haaland then broke the long-standing Premier League single-season record (34 goals), jointly held by Shearer and Cole since the mid-1990s.

The 22-year-old’s colossal return has been instrumental in City outlasting early pace-setters Arsenal, who spent 248 days at the top of the table before being pipped in the final weeks of the campaign. Pep Guardiola’s side were eight points adrift of the high-flying Gunners on Jan. 18 but after a strong second half of the season they dropped five points as their ever-dependable striker chipped in with another 15 goals in 18 games on his way to lifting the Premier League trophy in his first year.

1. 2007-08 (31 goals): Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United, 4 pens)

Otherwise remembered as the season in which Ronaldo went stratospheric, the Portugal international was the sharp end of a fearsome United attacking trident — along with Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez — that scored 79 combined goals in all competitions.

Ronaldo accounted for an incredible 42 of those goals as United stormed to a first Premier League title in four years before adding the Champions League. The fleet-footed forward scored 31 goals in 34 appearances in the top flight along the way — an astounding rate of one goal every 88.61 minutes, only just behind Harry Kane’s 2016-17 best.

He had to pack the goals in after not opening his league account until Sept. 29 — almost two full months into the season. Ronaldo drew a blank in his first four appearances, while also missing three games through suspension after he was sent off for violent conduct in a 1-1 draw at Portsmouth. The 23-year-old returned to the fray in a more mature, focused frame of mind and made it his business to make up for lost time, scoring 19 goals in the next 18 games.

Ronaldo was in truly irrepressible form as he scored thumping free kicks, high-speed breakaways and five headers (more in one Golden Boot-winning season than any other player in this top 10) as he won the Premier League, the Champions League, the Golden Boot, the European Golden Shoe, the PFA Player of the Year and Premier League Player of the Season award. He then landed the 2008 Ballon d’Or, the first of five in his career, to complete the cleanest of clean sweeps.