Manchester United are known around the world for many a reason and having two clinical strikers up front is just one of many. Yorke and Cole, Saha and Van Nistelrooy, Tevez and Rooney, just some of the greats that have led the line for United. Now though however, it seems as if a striking partnership eludes the Red Devils. So who should actually start up front?
Strikers are judged first and foremost on goals scored, so lets see how Falcao, Rooney, Van Persie and James Wilson compare. Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney both lead the goalscoring record with 8 goals, followed by Radamel Falcao on 3 and Wilson is yet to score a single goal for United. Appearances, however, must also be taken into account. Van Persie has featured the most on 20 in the Premier League, Rooney 17 times, Falcao 12 and Wilson 9.
Strikers must also be able to support one another, so how do they compare on assists? Perhaps unsurprisingly so, Rooney leads the way with 4 assists, Falcao has 3 assists, Van persie 2 and Wilson hasn’t recorded a single assist. This is somewhat reflected also in terms of pass completition, with Falcao on 86% with the best passing and Wilson again with the worst stat on 73%.
Recently, United have come under fire for a lack of creativity and creating chances. This is shown with the amount of shots the strikers have taken, a combined low of 116 shots between the four of them. The shot accuracy has also been quite low. Falcao has the highest with 65%, Van Persie second on 56%, followed by Rooney’s 50% and James Wilson’s 25%.
All in all, the stats are just numbers. Judging a striker, especially in the modern day, is actually quite difficult. It is no longer just based on goals alone, but rather passing, pressing, holding the ball up etc. A lot of components are involved. In terms of United, Van Persie and Falcao may seem like the best option, but Rooney is the captain and so therefore must play, so that leaves the question of who supports him. This debate can go on forever, but at the end of the day Louis Van Gaal is the man to make the decision and hopefully he makes the right one. Here’s to no more Fellaini up front and route one football(!)