Premier League preview: 50/1 Firmino to give Fernandes run for his money in goal contributor market

Matt Whiley casts his eye over the goals plus assists betting and fancies Sancho to improve Fernandes’ output and Firmino to boost his tally now he knows where the net is.

Harry Kane was the leading Premier League goal contributor last season with 23 goals and 14 assists and is favourite with Planet Sport Bet to follow up in 2021/22.

However, a turbulent pre-season has hardly been the ideal preparation and with uncertainty surrounding his future - even at this late stage in proceedings - I can give the Tottenham striker a swerve at 4/1.

Partner in crime Son Heung-min is worth a look having weighed in with 17 goals and 10 assists last time out. But, with a new man in charge at Spurs in Nuno Espirito Santo, this could well be a season of transition at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium - not the basis for a confident wager.

So instead of looking towards London, I feel Manchester is the way to go when selecting the top-flight's top goal contributor.

Jack Grealish (Manchester City)

Jack Grealish Manchester City unveiling Aug 2021

City have scarcely been renowned for their frugality in the market in recent years, but even they would have to be utterly convinced to pay £100million for a player.

In Grealish, however, they have found a player who surpasses all expectations and could yet drive the defending champions to new heights.

He had 16 goal contributions last season and was involved in almost a third of Aston Villa's total. With Riyad MahrezRaheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus in front of him at City, it would be reasonable to assume he will improve on that figure.

Jadon Sancho (Manchester United)

Jadon Sancho England training July 2021

Across the city, there is much excitement over the signing of Sancho who fills a real need for United on the right flank.

He is a sizeable investment for United, signing a five-year deal after transferring from Germany for a fee in excess of £73million.

He joins from Borussia Dortmund after making 19 goal contributions last season. He is still only 21, but has demonstrated precocious brilliance beyond his years.

Both he and the club will be keen for him to justify his huge price tag and as a newcomer to the Premier League, he may be able to feast on underprepared defences early on.

Best bet: Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)

Bruno Fernandes penalty Man Utd v Aston Villa May 2021

However, someone who is already doing that is Sancho's new team-mate Fernandes.

Something of a revelation since joining United in January 2020, Fernandes has fitted seamlessly into the Old Trafford midfield. He netted 18 goals last season and laid on 12 assists, making his goal contributions second only to Kane.

The arrival of Sancho is another reason I feel Fernandes is the man to follow. His finishing ability has the potential to positively impact Fernandes' assists, while his tricky feet may provide the Portuguese an opportunity to increase the nine goals he scored from the spot last term.

Long shots

Jamie Vardy profile Leicester City Aug 2021

Jamie Vardy has established himself as a proven Premier League goalscorer, with 118 since Leicester City's promotion in 2014.

Despite being 34, Vardy has shown no signs of slowing down, adding a Golden Boot to his impressive trophy cabinet in 2020, and making 24 goal contributions last season.

The Foxes have strengthened up front, and Vardy could form quite the strike partnership with new man Patson Daka.

However, with Kelechi Iheanacho having finished last season in rip-roaring form, Vardy may not be an automatic choice.

Similarly Ollie Watkins finds himself with a rival for the main frontman role at Aston Villa.

And while there are suggestions that Danny Ings will be used in tandem with Watkins, Dean Smith would be a brave man to stick with 4-4-2 home and away.

Watkins netted 14 times last season, which when combined with his five assists, gave him a very handsome return in his first Premier League season.

But with competition up front as well as for the penalty-taking role, I do not see him improving on those numbers.

Patrick Bamford wave Leeds United May 2021

Leeds United's Patrick Bamford was very much the surprise package last season.

Bamford had played just 27 Premier League games before promotion with Leeds in 2020, scoring only once.

However, he quickly became the Whites' lynchpin last term, netting 17 goals and providing seven assists, putting him joint-fifth in this market.

With Leeds having invested in their left flank to provide the 6ft 1in Bamford with more opportunities from out wide, he has a real opportunity to prove his naysayers wrong for the second season in succession.

However, when it comes to looking outside the fancied contenders, I have to put my faith in Firmino.

Comfortably one of the most hard-working players in the Premier League, Roberto Firmino's huffing and puffing hasn't always translated into goals for Liverpool.

Given his position in the middle of Liverpool's front three, his poor goal return makes him an easy target.

However, his integral role in Jurgen Klopp's side is not in question, providing seven assists last season, which was the joint-sixth most of any player.

What makes Firmino interesting in this market, however, is that he finally does seem to have found his shooting boots, netting twice in the Reds' final pre-season game.

With Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota converting his assists, plus his own rediscovered goalscoring form, at odds of around 50/1, Firmino is just too good to resist.

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