We compare the performances of two of the Premier League’s biggest let-downs this season, to see which one is crowned; Top of the Flops.
The fanfare that greeted the arrivals of both Radamel Falcao and Mario Balotelli this summer has been premature to say the least. Both strikers have endured difficult seasons, finding themselves at the centre of debate between Manchester United and Liverpool fans as to who was the worst acquisition.
We decided to crunch the numbers, thanks to the ever accurate guys from Squawka, and see which fallen striker has been outperforming his under-performing peer. Bias aside, the stats don’t lie.
Before unleashing this writer’s true inner statistician, it is important to compare the price paid for each striker.
In Falcao’s case, he joined Manchester United on loan for a season for a fee widely reported as £6 million. Having endured a serious knee injury, one can understand Manchester United’s caution, preferring to experience the striker’s skills for a year before signing him on a permanent deal.
Falcao’s wages total £200,000 per week, bringing the entire deal to £16.4 million, as per The Mirror.
Mario Balotelli became a Liverpool player in August 2014 for £16 million. His wages total £110,000 per week, bringing his cost for the season to roughly £22 million.
Falcao has played 936 minutes in 16 games, averaging 59 minutes per game. Surprisingly, Balotelli (779 minutes in total) is averaging higher minutes (60), from his 13 games.
Despite Balotelli’s inconsistent season, it is obvious that he possesses resale value of more than £5.6 million, meaning the Italian edges this round. Falcao’s resale value is irrelevant, as he is still an AS Monaco player, officially.
Both strikers have been less than consistent in front of goal this season, scoring a total of five Premier League goals combined. However, Falcao has four to his name, while Balotelli has hit the net just once. Although he has played 13 Premier League games, the Italian’s solitary goal finally came in the recent win over Tottenham, with Liverpool fans hoping it can kickstart his season.
Falcao’s four goals are worth roughly £4.1 million each when one takes his cost under consideration, a bargain in comparison to Balotelli’s premium price point of £22 million per goal.
Perhaps Balotelli just hasn’t been receiving enough service from his peers? Wrong.
Balotelli has had 48 shots in total this season, with a total shot accuracy of 56%. His return of one goal is all the more embarrassing, when one compares it to the Premier League’s leading light this season, Harry Kane, who has had just 13 more shots than Balotelli (61), but hit the back of the net a further 12 times.
Although Falcao’s stats do not make for great reading either, he has taken just 29 shots, 13 less than Balotelli and has four times more goals than the former Manchester City striker.
When compared to Harry Kane’s shot accuracy (59%), Falcao’s 63% skews the facts a little but still trumps Balotelli by 7%.
Key Passes & Assists
Okay, maybe the two strikers have just reprogrammed their game and concentrated on becoming providers instead of poachers? Wrong again.
In Balotelli’s 13 games, he has created just six chances and made just six key passes. Although Falcao’s stats are by no means mesmerising, he overshadows Balotelli with 13 chances created in 16 games and also nine key passes.
Balotelli’s return of zero assists is unsurprising, considering he had just one in his entire Premier League career with Manchester City. Despite a return of 14 goals at Manchester City, one has to question Brendan Rodgers’ logic when deciding to sign the former Milan striker. Given Fenway Sports Group’s propensity for crunching the numbers, they would have known that Balotelli scored just 14 goals from 152 shots for the Rossoneri, a conversion rate of 13.3 per cent and the lowest of any striker in Europe.
Falcao’s four assists, although not exactly earth-shattering, put him in the top five strikers in the Premier League in that category and mean there can only be one winner when it comes to aiding his teammates.
Things may not be going their way in front of goal, but maybe that’s because Balotelli and Falcao are tracking back and helping their teammates? Nope.
Balotelli has successfully intercepted the ball just twice this season, while Falcao has done so on seven occasions. This gives us a total of nine interceptions combined, three less than Harry Kane’s personal tally of twelve.
Balotelli has twelve clearances to his name, while Falcao only has five. Using Squawka’s total defence score, which collates all data related to defence, Balotelli’s total score is 11.63, while Falcao powers ahead with 29.32.
Having examined the impact of each ‘marquee’ signing, and taking into account such aspects of their game as attack, defence, penetration and price, it’s clear that Radamel Falcao comes out on top.
However, the true lesson learned was that both players are enduring terrible seasons, with one, Balotelli, just worse than the other. There are no winners per se, just a realisation that Radamel Falcao is less bad than Mario Balotelli.
Oh yeah, and Harry Kane is a genius, statistically anyway.