In recent times a debate has arisen as to whom is the better player and striker in the English premier League this season between the mercurial Luis Suarez of Liverpool or the indefatigable Robin Van Persie of Manchester United.
To be honest one can never really compare players and come up with an accurate analysis. This is mainly because different players tend to adopt different playing patterns, they have different attributes and their performance on the pitch on any given day can be dictated by their positioning and tactical placement by their respective coaches. Van Persie for instance is an out and out striker whereas Suarez often drops deep and creates chances.
However on the basis of available data considered along with other attributes one can try to determine who between the two has the edge over the other.
Both players have been on red hot form this season.
Robin Van Persie has played a total of 28 games for Manchester United this season. In these games the Dutch striker has scored a total of 22 goals: 18 in the league, 2 in the FA Cup and two in Europe, he did not score any goals in the League Cup which is a tournament that the Red Devils are no longer participating in. He has an impressive return of almost a goal a game and a conversion rate of 25%.
On the hand Luis Suarez has played a total of 30 games with 20 goals: 16 league, 1 in the FA, 1 in the League Cup and 2 in Europe and has a conversion rate of 16%.
The players tally in respect of goals is almost similar though Suarez pips Van Persie with the number of total assists at 10 to Van Persie’s 8.
The important thing about Van Persie is his knack to score crucial goals. This is an art that he employed while at Arsenal and has perfected while at Manchester United.
Some of these goals come to mind: On 3rd of November last year Van Persie scored against his former club Arsenal to guide them to a 2-1 win. On the 9th of December 2012 he scored a spectacular goal from a free kick in the dying minutes as Man U beat their bitter rivals and neighbours Manchester City.
At Arsenal Van Persie was their top scorer for four consecutive seasons from 2006-2007 and is set to become the top scorer again at his new club.
Suarez is also an important player for Liverpool. In fact many would argue that Liverpool would be struggling in the relegation places were it not for his input. Just like Van Persie he has consistently been the top scorer at Liverpool since joining the club.
Van Persie has been instrumental in Manchester United’s success this season but unlike Liverpool, at least at the moment, Manchester United have the capacity to call on other players in the event he flounders in front of goal: Javier Hernandez with 12 goals, Wayne Rooney with 9 and even defenders like Patrice Evra and Johnny Evans with 4 each provide a constant source of goals.
Liverpool on the other hand have had a crisis in front of goal. Apart from Suarez and now Daniel Sturridge who already has three goals in three games to his credit the Reds barely have another striking option.
Fabio Borini is back from injury and both Steven Gerrard (5) and Raheem Sterling (2) have chipped in with goals but Suarez remains the main goal scorer. He has scored almost half of Liverpool’s 36 goals in the league. Interestingly Suarez has scored an equal number of goals both home and away in the league (8 each) therefore demonstrating his worth to the club.
Luis Suarez’s dribbling skills are the main factor that sets him apart from Van Persie. Whereas the Dutchman is clinical before goal much of which is as a result of his placement in the 18 yard area, Suarez has the ability to make goals out of nothing. His ability to nutmeg any defender creates a fear factor in any defensive set up that he relishes and thrives on.
Looking at the raw numbers Van Persie has a slight edge over Luis Suarez but if all factors were to be taken into consideration including the individual assists, the number of away goals scored, each player’s technical ability, the worth of the player to his club and so on Luis Suarez would in my view (controversy aside) have a slight edge over Van Persie.
The season is however only half done and the performances of the two players may vary as the season draws to a climax. The neutral however hopes that the two strikers will continue to entertain us as they have done until season end.
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