World Cup - How does Arsenal's Joel Campbell compare to target Balotelli?

Arsenal youngster Joel Campbell impressed for Costa Rica in their 3-1 victory over Uruguay just hour before Mario Balotelli’s goal ensured Italy won their opening group game against England on Saturday.

The 21-year-old Arsenal forward has been learning his trade on loan at Olympiakos this season where he scored 9 goals in all competitions for the Greek outfit.

The forward signed for the Gunners in 2011 and has been sent out on loan to Lorient, Real Betis and Olympiakos but manager Arsene Wenger is keen to keep him at the Emirates next season after he returns from Brazil where he represents Costa Rica at the World Cup.

Meanwhile, the North Londoners are linked with AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli who scored the winning goal in England’s defeat to Italy on Saturday. The former Manchester City hit man’s goal separated the two nations in what was a close encounter between to European giants at the tournament.

Balotelli, 23, is two years Campbell’s senior but how does the starlet compare to the target so far in the tournament? Both scored one goal in one game so far and created one chance each for their national teams as well.

Balotelli’s efficiency in front of goal was twice as potent as Campbell’s – Balotelli achieved 50% of his shots on target to Campbell’s 25% with both taking four attempts in total. Balotelli was also more dominant in his duels, winning 100% to Campbell’s 64% however the Costa Rica youngster was involved in 22 duels over the course of his appearance to Balotelli’s mere two duels.

  TeamPosShots on target %AppsMins
Mario Balotelli Italy FW 50.00 1 73
  TeamPosShots on target %AppsMins
Joel Campbell Costa Rica FW 25.00 1 90

The Arsenal starlet also achieved a higher pass completion rate of 87.5% success to Balotelli’s 84.21% completing 18 passes to Balotelli’s 16 passes. The pair completed the same number of chances created but Campbell’s resulted in an assist for Costa Rica’s third goal whilst Balotelli’s key pass did not result in an assist or a goal.

  TeamPosPass Accuracy %AppsMins
Mario Balotelli Italy FW 84.21 1 73
  TeamPosPass Accuracy %AppsMins
Joel Campbell Costa Rica FW 87.50 1 90

Balotelli scored with a header, climbing above England’s Gary Cahill to get on the end of an Antonio Candreva cross aimed to perfection whilst Campbell’s left footed strike from inside the penalty area ensured Costa Rica equalized with Uruguay in 54th minute of their opening game.

Overall, Balotelli is clearly more the experienced and seasoned forward in a very organized Italy side at this World Cup whilst Campbell is something of a wildcard, bursting onto the scene with a Costa Rica side full of surprises now topping Group D.

Joel Campbell is undoubtedly a player Arsenal can use to good effect next season and whilst he is still raw in comparison to Balotelli who is close to being the finished product, there is talent and potential in abundance in the young forward that Arsene Wenger intends to include in his Gunners squad for the coming campaign.

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