Welbeck vs. van Persie: Statistical Analysis – Did Man Utd Sell The Wrong Striker?


Back in the day Robin van Persie was a key striker for Arsenal before moving to Manchester United in 2012. Though incomparable to Thierry Henry, van Persie scored 96 goals in his 194 appearances for Arsenal. The current captain of the Dutch national side van Persie has earned 94 caps for the senior team and scored a total of 48 goals. Danny Welbeck, by comparison, has 30 caps for England (senior team) and has scored 11 goals.

In this article I attempt to take a look at the statistical analysis of Danny Welbeck compared to Robin van Persie in the English Premier League.

Aged just 23, Danny Welbeck is almost 8 years younger than Robin van Persie; but according to these Squawka stats experience counts for nothing, or at least not a lot this current season. Welbeck, despite having played one less game than van Persie, has managed to equal van Persie on goals scored but it’s Welbeck’s overall performance far exceeds that of his former team-mate.

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Although van Persie has a marginally higher average shot and pass accuracy than Welbeck, the latter excels in the percentage of duels won. They have slightly different styles of play. Whilst Welbeck prefers short passes, van Persie likes to play long balls.

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Having picked up only one yellow card, compared to van Persie’s two yellow cards, Welbeck has managed to create seven chances against van Persie’s six. They both have good passing and finishing skills but Welbeck is definitely the stronger when it comes to defensive action.

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Overall, looking at the Squawka total performance scores for forwards in the English Premier League Welbeck is currently sitting in fourth place (oh yes, Arsenal’s beloved and favourite fourth). Where is van Persie? Sitting all the way down at number 42! He’s positioned even lower than Olivier Giroud who, due to injury, has only made two appearances for Arsenal in the EPL this season.

The above stats show what a mistake Manchester United made in letting Danny Welbeck go. How lucky are we that Arsenal signed him? Very lucky I’d say. Wenger remarked that he wouldn’t have signed Welbeck had he been in the UK on the last day of the summer transfer window. I think we should thank our lucky stars Wenger was off coaching the Pope, or wherever he happened to be that day. Welbeck may not have been the star signing but he’s certainly made a positive impact so far this season. Van Persie may have once been a force to reckon with but it looks like we’ve finally found a fitting replacement in Welbeck.

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