Wayne Rooney | Still one of the Premier League’s best | Stats Comparison

Wayne Rooney | Still one of the Premier League’s best | Stats Comparison

After Wayne Rooney started on the bench for the second leg of the last-16 Champions League tie against Real Madrid, a media frenzy ensued with transfer rumours aplenty. Sir Alex Ferguson was reported to have been unhappy with the striker’s form and although he has since quashed such claims, the press continue to speculate.

Of one thing there is no doubt, Rooney remains world class and a look at his stats shows just why. He stands up favourably to other strikers in the Premier League and here’s how:

Wayne Rooney Goal Statistics 2012/13

WRG

While Robin van Persie has received all the plaudits for his free-scoring start in a Manchester United shirt, a look at Rooney’s own goal statistics this season illustrates that he is equally deadly in front of goal.

Rooney is the equal tenth top goalscorer this season and with a goal every 137 mins, he is currently outperforming the likes of Theo Walcott (151 mins), Sergio Aguero (176 mins), Olivier Giroud (198 mins) and perhaps surprisingly, is matching the efforts of Gareth Bale (138 mins).

Moreover, of the aforementioned players, Rooney (53%) has one of the highest clear-cut chance conversion rates. Gareth Bale (55%) is the only player to exceed Rooney in this department, with Walcott (42%), Aguero (29%) and Giroud (20%) unable to attest to such clinical finishing.

It is worth noting that Rooney’s clear-cut chance conversion rate is also better than Demba Ba’s (47%), Jermain Defoe’s (40%) and his striking partner van Persie’s (36%). Luis Suarez, enjoying a rich vein of form, is leading the way of the strikers at the top clubs with a conversion rate of 58%.

Of course, compared to this season’s two top scorers, Rooney (11) hasn’t quite managed the number of goals that van Persie (19) and Suarez (22) have. With van Persie registering every 117 mins and Suarez every 114 mins, once more Rooney is not quite reaching the levels set by the Premier League’s two most potent strikers this season.

Wayne Rooney Creativity Statistics 2012/13

WRCThis is where Rooney comes into a class of his own because compared to his rival strikers, in this category the United frontman stands out.

With 9 assists this season, Rooney is the joint-top provider alongside Juan Mata, Lukas Podolski, Steven Gerrard and Walcott. Of course, assists can be misleading because they rely on the other player converting the chance created.

A look at chance creation overall, however, shows that Rooney is still comparing well to rival strikers in the Premier League.

Creating a chance every 40 mins, Rooney is ahead of strikers such as Walcott (57 mins), Podolski (53 mins), Aguero (51 mins) and once again, van Persie (45 mins).

For balance it is worth stating that there are a number of players who surpass Rooney in this regard.  It’s not surprising that Bale (35 mins) are Suarez (32 mins) are amongst those ahead of him, but the fact that Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez is creating a chance every 35 mins would shock most.

United are a different proposition when Rooney is in the team though, because he offers what most other strikers can’t in terms of vision and passing ability. He is arguably the most all-round striker, if not player, in the Premier League.

A closer look…

As we have seen, Rooney’s greatest trait is perhaps his versatility as he is effective in all areas of the pitch.

He is regularly contributing to the team and for a more in-depth look at Rooney’s Manchester United career in numbers, the following EPL Index article sums up the striker’s statistics perfectly: Why Sir Alex would be crazy to let Rooney go.

If ever there was a game to sum up Wayne Rooney at his best, the 4-0 home victory against Norwich is probably it. With 2 assists and a fantastic long-range strike to boot, Rooney was the central figure as United cruised to three points.

In that game Rooney didn’t lose possession once and won the ball back from the opposition every 15 mins. Being able to match his attacking prowess with such poise on the ball and tenacity to win it back is what Rooney is renowned for.

One criticism that is often levelled at Rooney – and unfairly so – is his lack of contribution in big games. Reflecting on last season alone, Rooney scored two goals against Tottenham, Everton and Liverpool. He also scored three against Chelsea and notched a hat-trick against Arsenal in the 8-2 drubbing at Old Trafford.

He’s continued his prolific scoring rate against the so-called bigger teams this season by scoring a brace in the 3-2 victory away from home against Manchester City.

Concluding Thoughts

The arrival of Robin van Persie at Old Trafford has ensured that United now have two genuinely world class strikers and the Dutchman’s natural role means Rooney is always going to play slightly deeper, something he usually does anyway.

When he reaches the latter stages of his career, Rooney may well find himself dropping towards a more central midfield role naturally. What the stats from this season show, however, is that he can be equally effective regardless of where he plays.

The fact that Rooney has a better chance conversion rate than van Persie and creates a chance more frequently demonstrates his importance in this current United team.

Still one of the best strikers in the world, never mind the Premier League, a Manchester United team without Rooney would be a much lesser team.

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