TOP SCORER

Luis Suárez wins Pichichi award beating Cristiano Ronaldo

Luis Suárez scored a hat-trick to finish the 2015/16 LaLiga campaign on 40 goals, five ahead of his closest rival Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo.

Luis Suarez, LaLiga top scorer with one game to play.
Miguel Ángel Molina EFE

Luis Suárez wins Pichichi award: 14 May 2016

Barcelona's Luis Suárez finished his campaign in blistering style, knocking in a hat-trick against Granada to win Barcelona their 24th LaLiga title. And his three goals put him onto 40 in total in the league campaign and gave him the Pichichi title for 2015/16.

His nearest rival, Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, scored two in the first half against Deportivo. He was clearly keen to get as many as he could, and twice hit the post as he looked for his hat-trick. Any faint hopes he might have had of scoring a barrel-load and pushing Suárez for the title disappeared though when he took a knock to his foot just before the break and didn't come back out. Ronaldo finished on 35 goals.

Messi, who had a subdued season in terms of goal-scoring (on his stellar terms!) as he dropped deeper to help Barcelona, finished on 26. Benzema and Neymar bagged 24 goals.

Congratulations to Luis Suárez!

Here's how the challenge for the trophy unfolded:

Updated: 8 May 2016

What an afternoon of football. Something that we don't often see is all LaLiga games kicking off at the same time but with plenty at stake both at the top and the bottom of the table, that is exactly what happened. Five o'clock local time was the cue for whistles being blown across the country.

To see how things panned out for the teams click here. In terms of the top scorer table there were several changes to it...however the headline message is "as you were".

Cristiano, back in the starting line-up after missing last week, was again amongst the goals getting another brace. This was the 97th time in which Ronaldo has scored two or more in a game for Real Madrid. Messi and Neymar were also both of the scoresheet in the 5-0 romp against Espanyol, Messi with a sublime free-kick in the seventh minute. But it was Luis Suárez who maintained his gap at the top of the table with his own brace that means we go into the final round of games with only a Cristiano masterclass at Depo and a Suárez shut-out by Granada preventing the Uruguayan from claiming the goal-scoring title.

 


Updated: 1 May 2016

Another game down and now only two to play for those chasing the goals. Bale is managing to keep a Real Madrid side - with possibly more than one eye on the Champions League - in the title race while the top scorers in the team, Cristiano and Benzema are out. Griezmann is still doing the business for second placed Atlético, and took only 35 seconds, after coming on at half-time, to affect the points for his side on Matchday 36.

But Bale on 19 (there's no prize for top headerer...other than maybe a new shampoo advertising contract) and Griezmann on 22 are far too far behind the other goalscorer from the three (no, we've not forgotten you Rakitic!), Luis Suárez to threaten his title. With his finish against Betis in the second half he moved onto 35 league goals for the season and unless Cristiano gets a) fit again and b) fills his boots in the final two games, then the Uruguayan can already look out a place on his mantlepiece for the trophy.

Here's the updated table, showing the top five and how they scored their goals. Of course, we'll be following the developments right until the end...


Updated: 25 April 2016

Well, Luis Suárez, eh? What a way to change the mood in the camp not only for his own kudos but also for that of his apparently "in crisis" team. We saw the Uruguayan striker knock in four goals against Deportivo last week to get him one onion away from Cristiano's tally and he repeated that feat on Saturday while the Portugal star sat out the Madrid win in Vallecas.

In the analysis looked at previously we compared the penalty ratio of the two Pichichi front-runners and Suárez's two penalties against Sporting at the weekend made it three for the season - still behind Cristiano's six. As suggested previously, this may be something we see more of if the Catalan side are looking to help Luis to the top scorer title (including the European Golden Shoe). Next up for the hungry goal-getter is Real Betis in Seville, while Ronaldo will be trying to make some ground back away to Sociedad - but that is sandwiched between the two Champions League games so there is always a chance that he'll be rested. If it came down to a choice between individual goals glory or team victory in the Champions League, which would Cristiano go for?


With the season very much at the business end and LaLiga title race up for grabs for the three big boys, the runners in the individual race for the Pichichi title are also getting their sights set. Four goals for Luis Suarez midweek edged him back into the reckoning, now just one behind leader Cristiano, and although Lionel Messi - the man who has shared the last six top scorer titles - is seven off the Portuguese goal-machine, few people would completely rule him out of the run-in after what he's shown he is capable of before. It's very unlikely that anyone else will impact on this mini-competition (even though Borja Bastón, Aduríz and Greizmann looked like having a shot earlier in the campaign) and with the top dogs having the ability to make such a difference in a single game, thanks in part to the gulf between their teams and some of the others in the league, only a fool would look to predict how this battle is going to end...so we asked AS Oracle to have a go!

Before we do, if you’d like to know where the name Pichichi came from and some of the history behind it, including previous winners, then click here.

Cristiano looking for back-to-back victories 

Back to the current season’s competition. As you can see from the table, Cristiano leads the way on the key measurement for the title, goals. But we wanted to delve into this a little further before making our predictions.

Six of Ronaldo's goals, for example, have come from penalties (19%) whereas Suarez, just one goal behind, has scored only one from the spot (3%). Of course, at this point we must remind ourselves of 'that' Messi penalty. The Madrid marksman also has a goal direct from a free-kick which the Uruguayan doesn't. Looking at the others in the top five table what else can we determine? Messi scores from set-pieces (3 pens, 3 free-kicks) but doesn't with his head unlike Benzema - and Ronaldo - although this is as much, or more, to do with the teams' and players' styles of play than anything else. See Neymar's stats to back this up further.

With the last six Pichichi trophies going to either Messi or Cristiano, few would have betted against one of them winning it at the beginning, or mid-point, of this season. However, in Luis Suaréz, Barcelona have a goal-scorer that could break the duopoly and whereas Madrid's main challenger is already taking most of the set-plays, Messi may decide to hand over the repsonsibility if it was to help his team-mate over his nemesis in the final few games. On the other hand, the little Argentine has the genius in his own boots to, as some fans may sing, "score when he wants," and take the title himself. He's got a significant bit of ground to make up now though with only four games remaining. Across in the capital we’ve seen it before when, as the season peters out, Cristiano’s chums start laying on more and more for him, even if they are in a good scoring position. This may have been more likely a couple of weeks ago when it looked as though Madrid had little to play for in the league, but it has all changed and surely the team goal trumps that of CR7. Also, could the Champions League focus impact on league efforts?

So, looking at the remaining fixtures for the players/teams involved in this individual battle, and the potential opportunities to influence the outcome within the groups AS Oracle believes that Luis Suarez will indeed take the trophy come May with Cristiano a close second. It may actually be shared but we don't like to sit on the fence!

We'll be keeping a close eye on this for the remainder of the season and no doubt we’ll be thinking up our excuses for when our prediction turns out to be wrong.