Football

Manchester United striker has Premier League's worst goals record

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Wayne Rooney may continue to be linked with a departure from Manchester United this summer but, if Sir Alex Ferguson based his transfer activity on goals scored per minutes played by his strikers, then the England international would not be the Red Devil heading towards the Old Trafford exit.

Rooney has scored 12 times in the league this season - a goal for every 147 minutes of action - and, although this is a return far lower than he would hope to achieve, the 27-year-old's record this term is far superior to one of his rivals for a starting berth at Manchester United.

Danny Welbeck, oft praised for his movement and endeavour, has the ignominy of possessing the worst record of strikers in the Premier League this season in terms of goals scored per minutes played.

Welbeck has found the net just once in the league over the course of the campaign, while the young England international has featured for Manchester United in 1204 minutes of action.

This equates to a solitary strike in over 20 hours of Premier League football this term for Welbeck - a wholly depressing statistic for a player expected to contribute with far more regularity in front of goal.

It is, of course, not the sole job of Welbeck to score for Manchester United, and his unselfish and tireless play enables his team to operate differently to if Rooney was selected to partner Robin van Persie.

This was highlighted during Manchester United's Champions League first leg encounter with Real Madrid, where Welbeck was preferred in a central role by Sir Alex Ferguson, and Rooney stuck out on the right wing.

Welbeck impressed that evening at the Santiago Bernabeu with his tenacity and work-rate, while he was also rewarded with a rare goal for his dedication, as he steered in a corner to provide United with the lead.

There is no escaping, however, the statistics presented, and Welbeck must surely have to increase his goals tally in the coming seasons if he is to have a long-term future at Manchester United.

Welbeck's record this term is almost doubly as bad as the next most profligate forward, West Ham's Carlton Cole, who has scored his two goals this season at 653 minutes apiece.

Of the players from the Premier League's most prominent teams, Emmanuel Adebayor of Tottenham has the next most pitiful scoring record behind Welbeck, having found the net only three times in 1226 minutes of football.

The Togolese has been one of the undoubted transfer flops of 2012/13, particularly given the hype surrounding his protracted move from Manchester City to Tottenham, and many Spurs fans would prefer to see the back of him come the summer.

While Welbeck's lack of goals is attempted to be justified by his work for others, Adebayor fails to fall into that category for Spurs, and the former Arsenal man has attracted the ire of supporters for his lethargic displays.

The straw that broke the camel's back with Adebayor was the spot-kick that knocked them out of the Europa League and, with Andre Villas-Boas a keen advocate of stats based analysis, the writing would appear to be on the wall for his centre-forward.

This season's goals per minutes played records - worst 10:

1. Danny Welbeck (Manchester United) - 1204 minutes per goal

2. Cartlon Cole (West Ham) - 653

3. Jonathan Walters (Stoke City) - 479.3

4. Danny Graham (Sunderland) - 469

5. Grant Holt (Norwich City) - 424.8

6. Emmanuel Adebayor (Tottenham) - 408.7

7. Franco di Santo (Wigan) - 395.6

8. Peter Crouch (Stoke City) - 384.2

9. Djibirl Cisse (Queens Park Rangers) - 368.7

10. Kenwyne Jones (Stoke City) - 345

Stats come courtesy of Opta (via Daily Mail)

Topics:
Football
Premier League
Manchester United
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