The fallout from yet another classic Manchester derby is bound to run on through the next few weeks, with long-term ramifications such as the arrested ‘fans’ and discussions of how to curtail the uglier parts of the beautiful game. Keeping a firm eye on the football, and not these unfortunate distractions led me to exploring an interesting debate: which of the Manchester clubs has the better four-man strike force?
This debate was mentioned on this week’s Soccer Saturday, nestled within the three-hour pre-match fluff pieces which tend to have a more relaxed look at some of football’s interesting topics. The fact that each team has a selection of four strikers who are each in their own right considered as strong additions within this discussion already demonstrates the strength in depth that both United and City have. All football fans can recognise the attacking quality available to the Premier League’s top two clubs and even the most die hard of Manchester fans, whether they be sky-blue or pillar-box red, can see the striking prowess each team have.
Looking at the stats of the United strikers, it is clear to see how clinical Van Persie has been in-front of goal. His return is almost double that of his closest teammate, a further irritant to rivals City, who had their summer offer for the Dutchman rejected. Coupled with Rooney, the two strikers have also shared eleven assists between them.
In comparison, City’s stats show a much more even goal return for their top strikers, with Tevez (7), Dzeko (6) and Aguero (5) all chipping in with a similar amount of goals. What is more interesting, however, is the importance of Tevez in scoring and setting up goals for his teammates. He leads both the goals scored and assists chart for City, re-affirming his position as one of City’s more potent attacking threats when utilised by Mancini.
On the other side of the spectrum is Mario Balotelli. It may seem like I am pandering to the current majority opinion regarding Balotelli’s poor attitude having too much of a negative impact on his game, but in this case, the popular viewpoint is one that seems to be true. Balotelli’s single goal and zero assists in the EPL is far from the return wanted from a striker in a team targeting domestic glory.
So, the question is: Rooney/Van Persie/Hernandez/Welbeck or Tevez/Aguero/Balotelli/Dzeko. Who would you rather have as your four-man strike force?