Should David Moyes risk a part-fit Wayne Rooney against Chelsea? What the stats say...

Rooney Warm Up

Wayne Rooney could return for Manchester United against Chelsea this weekend.

There has been plenty of speculation this week over whether David Moyes will risk a partially fit Wayne Rooney against Chelsea this weekend.

The Manchester United forward has been struggling with a troublesome groin problem, which prompted United to send him off for ‘warm weather’ training as part of his recovery. This is a huge match for United and another defeat would push the champions further away from a top four place.

So is there value in Moyes risking Rooney for the game? We’ve taken a look at his stats in key areas against Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham from this season.

Goals

PlayerMatchMatchdayTeamPosGoalsMins
Wayne Rooney Spurs vs Man Utd 13 Man Utd FW 2 90
Wayne Rooney Man City vs Man Utd 05 Man Utd FW 1 90

Rooney has only scored goals against Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur from that list of teams this season. It suggests that the big sides have found effective ways to keep him quiet during the big games.

Open Play Assists

PlayerMatchMatchdayTeamPosAtt Assist OpenplayMins
Wayne Rooney Man Utd vs Spurs 20 Man Utd FW 1 90
Wayne Rooney Man City vs Man Utd 05 Man Utd FW 1 90
Wayne Rooney Man Utd vs Chelsea 02 Man Utd FW 1 90

That’s supported by the fact Spurs, City and Chelsea allowed him just a single assist in games from open play. Rooney is superb dropping off from the top of the attack, to the top of the midfield as a creative player. This combined with the fact he’s been kept fairly quiet in terms of goals means he’ll have to reinvent himself if he plays at Stamford Bridge.

Aerial Duels

PlayerMatchMatchdayTeamPosAerial WonMins
Wayne Rooney Man Utd vs Arsenal 11 Man Utd FW 3 90
Wayne Rooney Man Utd vs Spurs 20 Man Utd FW 1 90
Wayne Rooney Man Utd vs Chelsea 02 Man Utd FW 1 90
Wayne Rooney Spurs vs Man Utd 13 Man Utd FW 1 90

The stat from the Arsenal game is interesting, but the Gunners don’t have the sort of players who can bully Rooney aerially when he drops into midfield. Spurs and Chelsea clearly thought it was dangerous to let the ball get to him in any form, placing physical pressure on him, making it difficult for Rooney to hold the ball up and win aerial challenges.

Passing

PlayerMatchMatchdayTeamPosTotal PassMins
Wayne Rooney Man Utd vs Chelsea 02 Man Utd FW 56 90
Wayne Rooney Man Utd vs Spurs 20 Man Utd FW 51 90
Wayne Rooney Man City vs Man Utd 05 Man Utd FW 50 90
Wayne Rooney Spurs vs Man Utd 13 Man Utd FW 36 90
Wayne Rooney Man Utd vs Arsenal 11 Man Utd FW 36 90

Rooney is a player United like to get on the ball but the bigger sides seem content to let him have possession in areas where he’s not an immediate threat. Expect to see Chelsea pressing him when he’s in possession in their final third because he can unlock their defence with a single pass.

Ball Recovery

PlayerMatchMatchdayTeamPosBall RecoveryMins
Wayne Rooney Man Utd vs Spurs 20 Man Utd FW 8 90
Wayne Rooney Spurs vs Man Utd 13 Man Utd FW 5 90
Wayne Rooney Man Utd vs Chelsea 02 Man Utd FW 4 90
Wayne Rooney Man Utd vs Arsenal 11 Man Utd FW 4 90

Rooney is a player who is never afraid to chase the ball down if he or a teammate makes a mistake. He wins possession back frequently and has been particularly successful in that aspect against Spurs this season. Chelsea can stop that by either man marking him or constantly pressing him.

Conclusion: The bigger sides have dealt well with Rooney this season when he's been fully fit but a decision to include him could give the side and the travelling fans a lift. The safe bet is for him to be on the bench.

image: © nasmac

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