Here we are, for the third time, a few days before February ends, checking up on the top scorers around Europe’s top soccer leagues.
Wayne Rooney, Manchester United – 23 Goals
Rooney is still red hot, scoring four goals in his last five matches, including a brace against West Ham two night ago. United are trailing Chelsea in the table with Chelsea still needing to play in Old Trafford before the season is over. Rooney is trailed by Chelsea’s Didier Drogba with 19, also pretty potent since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations, scoring five goals in February, and is the only one with a small chance to catch up with Rooney. Jermain Defoe (Tottenham) is third with 16, adding two goals in Spurs’ last four matches, and Darren Bent (Sunderland) is fourth with 15, scoring only one goal this month, looking bad, like the rest of the Black Cats.
Spanish La Liga
David Villa, Valencia, 17 Goals
A very tight race in Spain for the Pichichi, as Villa tops the list with 17 goals, scoring twice earlier this week in Valencia’s win over Getafe. Lionel Messi of Barcelona is right behind him with 16, but he hasn’t scored in the last three weeks and like Barcelona, isn’t looking at his best right now. Gonzalo Higuain of Real Madrid is trailing with 14, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo just behind with 12. Although you can never know with Messi, I find it hard to believe Villa will end up losing this one.
Stefan Kiessling, Bayer Leverkusen, 13 Goals
No impressive numbers here, as Kiessling remains on top, like his club, despite scoring only once since November, struggling with an injury but still playing. Kevin Kuranyi of Schalke is next with 12, scoring five goals in seven matches since returning from the winter break. Eren Derdiyok, Kiessling’s partner at Leverkusen, Albert Bunjaku, Nurnberg’s Swiss striker and Dortmund’s Lucas Barrios are next with 11. It’s too tight to tell in Germany, but according to current form, I’d give it to either Kuranyi or Mario Gomez of Bayern (10 goals), who just can’t seem to lose lately. With Robben and Ribery feeding you the ball, there’s a good chance you’ll end up with plenty of goals.
Italian Serie A
Antonio Di Natale, Udinese, 18 Goals
Back on the right rack and only leader of the Serie A scoring charts, Di Natale has scored five goals in February, including a hat-trick against Napoli on February 7. Despite his impressive performances, Udinese are only 15th, due to an awful away record, with no wins in 13 matches. Inter’s Diego Milito seems to be the only one close to him with 14 goals, but he hasn’t scored in his last three matches and seems to be losing pace with Di Natale. Giampaolo Pazzini of Sampdoria is third with 12, scoring against his former club two weeks ago, his only goal this month. Right now, despite Udinese’s erratic instability, I’ll have to go with Di Natale.
French Ligue 1
Mamadou Niang, Marseille, 14 Goals
Niang topples Nene’s rule of the scoring charts in France thanks to his hat-trick against Nancy on Sunday, and generally his fantastic form in February, scoring 5 goals in his last three matches. Marseille are fifth, 6 points behind leaders Bordeaux with the title race suddenly wide open again. Nene on the other hand has slowed down, last scoring in January, finishing goaless on his last three outings, all defeats for Monaco. Gervinho of Lille is third with 11, but his scoring touch hasn’t returned since going to the Africa Cup of Nations, with his last goal coming in December.