Arsenal relying on van Persie and midfield strength to beat Manchester United

In August Manchester United and Wayne Rooney inflicted a resounding 8-2 defeat on Arsenal, with Rooney netting a hat-trick. However, since then it is Robin van Persie who has lit up the Premier League. The division’s top scorer has found the net 18 times in 21 appearances with a rate of 97 minutes per goal and 23% chance conversion, compared with Rooney’s 13 goals at a still impressive 114 minutes per goal and 19% chance conversion.

Robin van Persie vs Wayne Rooney in Premier League 2011-12

Robin van Persie Premier League 2011/12 Wayne Rooney
Arsenal Team Manchester United
21 Appearances 19
1752 Minutes On Pitch 1486
Goal Attempts
18 Goals 13
97 Mins per goal 114
17 Goals inside box 8
1 Goals outside box 5
97 Total shots (including blocked) 90
58% Shooting Accuracy 56%
23% Chance Conversion 19%
Passing
992 Touches 1218
47 Touches per game 64
5 Goal Assists 3
48 Chances created 31
575 Total Passes 946
78% Pass Completion % 82%
69% Pass Completion in final third % 75%
Crossing
115 Total Crosses 17
24% Cross Completion % 24%
Dribbling
42 Dribbles 33
60% Dribble Completion % 64%

In terms of adding to all-round team play, the Dutchman has also been more influential to his team’s attacking play, with more assists (5), crosses (115) and chances created (48). However, Rooney sees more of the ball during a match with more touches and passes per game, reflecting his slightly deeper lying position for Manchester United. Rooney also boasts better pass (82%) and dribble (64%) completion rates.

MIDFIELD BATTLE VITAL FOR ARSENAL BUT UNITED HAVE THE EDGE

With the departures of Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas in the summer, and the loss of Jack Wilshere to injury, much of Arsenal’s resurgence after a difficult start to the season has been due to the performances of Aaron Ramsey and Alex Song. However, this weekend the Arsenal pair will be given a severe test by the efficient Michael Carrick and the tenacious Park Ji-Sung, who has scored against Arsenal in two of his last three appearances against the Gunners.

While the Arsenal pair are important to Arsenal’s attacking and flowing football with far more touches per game, assists, chances created (66 versus 19) and better dribble completion rates, they are inferior to the Manchester United pair in most other regards.

Park and Carrick both have higher pass completion rates at an impressive 89% and 90% respectively, with Park possessing an impressive 86% pass completion in final third. The United midfielders also have the ability to blunt Arsenal’s midfield creativity with their defensive attributes. Carrick wins the most duels of the quartet (71%), Park wins more tackles (72%) and Carrick casts doubt on those who question his defensive capabilities with the best clearance (one every 39 minutes) and interception (one every 20 minutes) rates. Despite this the Arsenal pair have conceded far more fouls (64) than the United duo (9).

Aaron Ramsey Alexandre Song Premier League 2011/12 Park Ji-Sung Michael Carrick
Arsenal Arsenal Team Manchester United Manchester United
20 17 Appearances 12 13
1601 1457 Minutes On Pitch 642 903
Goal Attempts
1 1 Goals 2 2
1601 1457 Mins per goal 321 451.5
38 7 Total shots (including blocked) 11 10
43% 50% Shooting Accuracy 63% 40%
3% 17% Chance Conversion 25% 40%
Passing
1631 1278 Touches 525 893
81.6 75.2 Touches per game 43.8 68.7
4 5 Goal Assists 1 1
43 23 Chances created 7 12
1306 1054 Total Passes 386 717
87% 85% Pass Completion % 89% 90%
77% 69% Pass Completion in final third % 86% 77%
Duels
209 189 Duels 89 102
39% 46% Duels won % 63% 71%
Dribbling
33 20 Dribbles 15 5
61% 70% Dribble Completion % 40% 40%
Defending
35 50 Tackles Made 32 51
63% 68% Tackles Won % 72% 69%
4 13 Clearances 4 23
400.3 112.1 Mins per Clearance 160.5 39.3
19 37 Interceptions 18 44
84.3 39.4 Mins per Interception 35.7 20.5
Discipline
22 42 Fouls 2 7
23 15 Fouls won 16 14
1 0 Offside 0 0
1 6 Yellow Cards 0 1
0 0 Red Cards 0 0
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3 Comments

  1. Jok Ayuel Leek-anyaar 20 January, 2012
  2. FootballTalk 20 January, 2012
  3. Dan Striker 20 January, 2012