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Toney vs. Armstrong: The race for the Championship Golden Boot is neck and neck

Championship Top Scorer Betting: Who will claim the elusive Golden Boot when all is said and done?
Championship Top Scorer Betting: Who will claim the elusive Golden Boot when all is said and done?

This year, it's tighter than ever

For years the Championship has been lauded as one of the best league’s in world football, and this season it is again proving what a beautifully unpredictable division it can be with just seven points separating the top five teams at present. 

The title can go a number of ways from now until the end of the campaign in May, but who is destined to finish top of the pile is not the only race worthy of discussion. 

We here at BettingOdds.com absolutely love a fiercely-contested tussle between Golden Boot contenders, and today we are going to take a look into two of Europe’s most in-form strikers - Brentford’s Ivan Toney and Blackburn’s Adam Armstrong - to assess why each player has endured such a successful opening half to their season, and who has a better chance of finishing the season with the highest goal tally and will therefore lay claim to the second tier’s Golden Boot award in the spring. 

Toney V Armstrong

Ivan Toney, Brentford - 16 goals

Questions may well have been raised over whether or not Ivan Toney would cut it in the Championship, but the 24-year-old has certainly silenced any doubters with a scintillating start to life at Brentford. 

Toney made the switch to west London from Peterborough last summer for a fee rising up to £10million with add-ons and had been a standout performer in League One for Posh, finishing as the division’s leading marksman last term with 24 goals to his name. The season prior he notched 16, while 2017-18 saw him find the net 12 times while playing for Scunthorpe and then Wigan Athletic on loan. 

The former Newcastle trainee is one of the best natural finishers in the EFL and that has been proven by his extraordinary statistics this time out. 16 goals from 13 appearances is a return which has greatly helped Brentford charge towards the upper reaches of the Championship, just months after they came so close to finally escaping the division in last season's play-off final, where they were eventually defeated by Fulham in extra-time.

Championship betting

Averaging 0.76 goals per game, Toney has proved a worthy replacement for former goal-getter Ollie Watkins, who joined Aston Villa last summer and he is now hot-favourite to finish the campaign with more goals than any of his peers in the Championship, priced up at Evens with most firms.  

But why has he been so prolific in his new surroundings? Brentford have long been known for their ability to score goals - throughout the previous two seasons they have found the back of the net 153 times in the league - and this time out they are once again near the top of the chart for goals scored: 36, third only behind Bournemouth (37) and Blackburn (38) at the half-way point of this unprecedented campaign. 

This is down to the style of play implemented by Thomas Frank, one which focuses on a quick transition that catches opposing team’s on the counter-attack, before relying on a proven goal-poacher to finish the job in the final third. This season Brentford have scored 14 goals from counter-attack situations, second only behind Blackburn who have scored 16, so it comes as little surprise to see the main strikers from both these sides currently lead the way in the top scorer chart. 

Toney is relishing being the star of the show at a club whose style of play marries up perfectly with the strongest points of his game - 11 of the Englishman's 16 goals have fallen from inside the area which further highlights his role within the side. He is now the even-money favourite to continue with this form until the season is finished, and certainly a player who I expect to see playing in the top-flight before too long. 

Championship top scorer betting

Adam Armstrong, Blackburn - 16 goals

It feels like Blackburn’s devastating marksman Adam Armstrong has been around for decades now but somewhat amazingly he is still only 23 years of age. The England U21 international first burst onto the scene as a fresh-faced 17-year-old with boyhood club Newcastle United in 2014 but really made a name for himself whilst out on loan with Coventry City in 2015-16. 

Armstrong bagged an impressive 20 goals for the Sky Blues - then of League One - during that season and has since gone on to enjoy successful loan spells with Barnsley, Bolton and Blackburn before making the permanent move to Ewood Park in 2018, where he has so far netted 52 goals in all competitions for the Lancashire club. 

This season the 23-year-old has been the lifeblood of Tony Mowbray’s side, who currently sit 11th in the Championship but are just five points outside the play-off places as things stand. Most impressively, Armstrong’s 16 league goals have fallen in just 11 outings which means that he is averaging a goal every 118 minutes this season.

His stats so far prove just how much his game has changed this time out. Last season, Armstrong scored half of his 16 league goals from outside the box, whereas this term all 16 of his efforts have come from inside the penalty area, showing just how much Blackburn’s creative build-up play has changed in 2020-21. As touched on above, Rovers’ game is now very counter-attack-heavy, just like Brentford’s is and much like we have seen with Tottenham in this season’s Premier League.

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The Ewood Park outfit have scored more goals than any side in the division from a quick transition phase (16) while they are also the division’s leading goalscorers with 38 in total. While Armstrong has proven his ability from long range throughout the last five years, notably last season where he scored eight goals from distance, now he is showing the versatility in his positional play as well as his finishing capabilities from close quarters. 

Rovers manager Tony Mowbray hailed Armstrong’s maturity as a player following a 3-1 win over QPR back in November, saying: 

“Adam does (make a difference) as he has done all season. I think Adam has matured and he’s only 23.

“He’s a boy really, but his explosive pace at the top end of the pitch allows you to play both ways, to not be overly concerned if you’re pinned back around the edge of your box because one pass releases pressure to someone like (Harvey) Elliott to play the pass that he can hit just leaving it in the space for the speed and dynamic movement of Armstrong – it’s a devastating effect for the team.”

It is worth noting that the former Coventry loanee has scored the same amount of Championship goals as he did last season and it is only the beginning of January. While we can safely cite that Armstrong is just continuing to improve as a footballer, much of the plaudits have to be awarded to the creative influence of Liverpool loanee Harvey Elliott in midfield, who has supplied six assists and has averaged 2.1 key passes contributing to attacking chances per game in 20/21

With the exemplary talent of Bradley Dack now back from injury, Blackburn will have added firepower in midfield alongside Elliott to help support and assist the free-scoring Armstrong up-front, which will only serve to boost the 23-year-old in his quest to win the Championship Golden Boot award for the first time in his career. Currently second-favourite in the market behind Toney at 11/4, I think Armstrong’s price could hold good value with the aforementioned factors considered and would be inclined to get behind him in this market given just how impressive Blackburn have been going forward this term.

Championship top scorer odds

Ivan Toney
WIN PROB: 50%
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Adam Armstrong
WIN PROB: 25%
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Odds correct as of 2021-01-18 18:33 Odds subject to change.
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