Because Arsenal were rumoured to be interested in the transfer of Mario Balotelli earlier in the summer and because he cost Liverpool about the same amount (£16 million) as Danny Welbeck cost Arsenal, I thought I would do a bit of a comparison.
And the fact that they are of similar age and stature, with both playing in the same position for a top four Premier League team and in the Champions League should make it a useful exercise. So I went to Squawka.com and used their statistical comparison matrix where you can select from a wide number of stats and look at both players’ performances this season in both major competitions and set the results to show an average per 90 minutes to get rid of any benefit from playing more.. The results were quite a surprise.
Both have completed two Champions League games, with the goal tally three to one in Welbeck’s favour thanks to the Galatasaray game, but don’t forget that Welbeck had a hard night in Dortmund as the whole team struggled. So the fact that his overall score is more than double Mario’s and his attack score is much better as well, 50.15 to 31.5, is very impressive. And while shooting, chance creating and dribbling are all about the same, Welbeck was more involved, with 24 successful passes per game to Balotelli’s 16.
Okay so maybe Liverpool are struggling as they have been out of the Champions League action for five years, although their games have been easier on paper than Arsenal’s. Let’s look at the Premier League, where the Liverpool man’s time away is balanced by Welbeck’s unfamiliarity in the central striking role.
Here the stats are even more in Welbeck’s favour, with the new Gunner coming out well on top with overall score, attacking score, possession, pass completion, chances made, assists, successful dribbles and shooting accuracy. And he has scored a goal as well, which Mario has not managed yet. It’s a shame they don’t do a stat for work rate and enthusiasm because the Arsenal man would win those hands down as well.
I know that stats do not tell the whole story, but with Balotelli supposedly the more effective player and only his attitude holding him back, these stats do make a mockery of that theory.