One area where Van Persie is United's worst performing striker

Robin van Persie has branded Manchester United 'lousy', but does he need to improve his own performances too?

Striker Robin van Persie chose United's lowest point of the season to voice his critical opinion on the state of the team, adding to the momentum of rumours he could look to quit the club in the summer.

Individually it looked a poor moment to voice his discontent, after he himself missed United's only clear cut chance to score a vital away goal, blazing over when put through late on.

Missing the shot off target is in fact far from a rarity for the Dutchman. Statistics from the Premier League this season display that Van Persie finds the target with a lower percentage of his shots than any of his teammates:

PlayerTeamPos% of shots on target% of goals from shots on target% of goals from total attemptsAppsMins
Javier Hernández Man Utd FW 69.23 22.22 15.38 16 548
Wayne Rooney Man Utd FW 40.28 34.48 13.89 22 1,846
Danny Welbeck Man Utd FW 37.14 61.54 22.86 17 1,141
Robin van Persie Man Utd FW 35.85 57.89 20.75 16 1,313

There are however areas where Van Persie improves vastly. In terms of the number of goals from his shots which do land on target, the Dutchman is second, with both in the top six in the Premier League of strikers who have played 10 games or more.

In terms of scoring from overall attempts, Van Persie remains second, outdoing both Rooney and Hernandez.

What can't be knocked is his total contribution. Van Persie scores goals more regularly than his fellow strikers, averaging a minute-per-goal ratio better than his teammates.

PlayerTeamPosmins / GoalsAppsMins
Javier Hernández Man Utd FW 274.00 16 548
Wayne Rooney Man Utd FW 184.60 22 1,846
Danny Welbeck Man Utd FW 142.63 17 1,141
Robin van Persie Man Utd FW 119.36 16 1,313

It's this superiority which makes him an automatic pick, and gives him the confidence as senior player to voice his discontent at the way things are going. In a sense that's what United need, leaders to address the situation and step up - it's certainly what Roy Keane was calling for Michael Carrick to do in his post-game interview in midweek.

Yet to consider Van Persie to be without fault is also wrong, his tendency to fire shots off target, a higher percentage than any of his fellow strikers shows there is also much room for improvement in his own game if he is to start single-handedly hauling United's season around.

image: © Doha Stadium Plus

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