With the Premier League season now at the halfway mark, there is one question which has been constantly asked. This question, asked by many, is who is the best striker in the England’s top flight?
Perhaps most people have their own idea about whom they believe to be the number one marksman in the Premiership but this article will look to explore the differences and similarities between Liverpool’s Luis Suarez and Manchester United’s Robin Van Persie. These two lead the way in terms of the scoring charts, with Suarez having 16 and Van Persie, 18, respectively.
Suarez, who is in his second season with the Merseyside club, is enjoying his best spell in front of goal since his move to England from Ajax. The Uruguayan has played a total of 30 games this season in all competitions, scoring 20 goals in the process. Comparing that to Robin Van Persie who has scored 22 goals in just 28 games, it is clear to see that the Dutchman has been somewhat better in relation to goal-scoring thus far this season. Taking the statistics into account, Van Persie has a conversion rate of 25% whilst Luis Suarez’s conversion rate stands at 16%.
When discussing the topic of Van Persie, many pundits and football experts have moved quickly to identify the fact that RVP has become a better player since his summer switch from Arsenal. Many also believe that Van Persie is scoring chances that last season he seemed to miss when in the red and white of The Gunners but has Sir Alex Ferguson made the striker a better player? Has he gone some way in perfecting the art of his finishing? Or has he simply built his team in a way that plays to Robin Van Persie’s strengths? It could even be a combination of all three.
Suarez is absolutely vital to Liverpool and without the goal-scoring exploits of the controversial striker; the club from Anfield may very well find themselves even further down the table. Something which Suarez has bettered Van Persie in is the assists which he has provided his team. The former Ajax and Groningen forward has been, in some cases, unselfish in front of goal, choosing to set up his team-mates for goals which have more often than not gained valuable points. However, it has been well documented that without the goals of Suarez, Liverpool would be sitting precariously inside the dreaded relegation zone. You see, whilst Van Persie has scored 18 for his new club, he has been heavily backed up by his team-mates at Old Trafford.
Mexican Javier Hernandez has scored an impressive 12 goals and Wayne Rooney has managed a solid 9 goals, even after a spell on the side-lines. Even those not used to scoring have gone a long way in aiding the team’s strikers, with defenders Patrice Evra and Jonny Evans both contributing a healthy 4 goals each.
On the other hand, it is a much different story at near rivals Liverpool where Luis Suarez has in fact scored half of the team’s goals this season. Steven Gerrard has scored a credible 5 goals from midfield and young starlet Raheem Sterling has hit 2 from his wide midfield position.
Italian Fabio Borini has struggled to score goals since his summer move from giants AS Roma, but his return to fitness has been met with glee by his manager Brendan Rodgers. The only other player to score regularly has been Daniel Sturridge; with the striker netting an impressive three goals in three games since his 12 million pound move from Chelsea.
One thing that Liverpool fans will argue in favour of Suarez about are his incredible dribbling skills that have seen him produce dazzling displays both home and away. The small striker has a knack of creating goals, when seemingly the chance to score is not there; something which has already made him a cult hero to those who grace the famous Kop. Suarez also boasts a contender for goal of the season, even with the campaign only being in January.
His goal against Newcastle United at Anfield was a stunning effort which saw him combine first touch control with sublime confidence, leading to the attacker rounding Magpies goalkeeper Tim Krul and finishing with precision.
Van Persie is arguably better known for his finishing from inside the 18 yard box and also through his set pieces. Evidence of this was shown in the game at local rivals Manchester City, where the Dutch striker’s free kick eluded City keeper Joe Hart, therefore giving United a deserved win. In his short time at the club, the signing of RVP has proven to be a masterstroke by Red Devils boss Ferguson, not that many are surprised by this.
With the season only halfway through it would be premature to choose who is better out of the two but when the statistics and figures are taken into account the one thing that is clear to see is there value to each of their respective teams. The two strikers add a different dimension within each team and also make them more dangerous in the process. Liverpool will hope to hang onto Suarez with many fellow big names in Europe chasing his signature and United will hope to deliver trophies to Van Persie; the key factor in his move from away from Arsenal.