HEAD-TO-HEAD: Rooney v E. Valencia: Who will pose the bigger threat on Saturday?

West Ham Upton Park

We analyse whether Manchester United's Wayne Rooney or West Ham United's Enner Valencia will be the bigger threat on Saturday.

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Enner Valencia has made an explosive start to life in England after arriving at West Ham United over the summer.

The Hammers' marquee summer signing made a name for himself with his powerful displays at the World Cup representing Ecuador, and he has already proven to be a major threat when playing for his new side. 

His goal against Hull City - a rasping shot from 25-yards - remains the most notable impression he has made so far, but his performances in general have been very positive. 

The South American is in perpetual motion, never giving up on any chance, and his tireless work rate is allowing West Ham to impose their brand of football on opposition sides.

Alongside Diafra Sakho, the Hammers have a front-line which is capable of stretching defences due to the pace that they posses and it is certainly paying dividends.

Manager Sam Allardyce has been tasked with making his side play more entertaining football this season and the start he has made has been encouraging.

In a diamond formation, there has been a precedence put on ball retention and attacking play and Valencia's power has been paramount in this. He will be looking to continue his fine form when he takes on Manchester United on Saturday.

United's defensive vulnerability has been well documented this season, and Valencia will certainly need to be marshalled well by an under-confident back-line, but manager Louis van Gaal has actually been more critical of his strikers so far.

Wayne Rooney bore the brunt of Van Gaal's brutally honest approach when the Dutchman stated that he thought Falcao could do a better job in a striking position than the club captain and proceeded to drop him into an attacking midfield role.

It wasn't so long ago that Rooney possessed some similar qualities to Valencia, in the sense that he only had eyes on scoring, but as he has aged he has become a more creative influence.

Rooney has proven to be a more refined player, but some of threat that he carried as a barreled-chested teenager has gone and when his side take on the Hammers he may not be the most threatening striker on the pitch.

  PositionTeamGoalsAssistsShots GAMEShots on targetChances created GAMETouches GAMEPassing AccuracyAppearancesMins Played
Wayne Rooney FW Man Utd 2 2 3.2 31.25% 1 65.2 82.520325203252% 5 450
Enner Valencia FW West Ham 1 0 2 50% 0.5 20.5 65.789473684211% 4 186

The England international comes out on top in almost every area ahead of Valencia, but the Ecuadorian's ruthless streak is highlighted by the number of times he hits the target.

Valencia hits the target with half the number of shots he takes and if he keeps showing this dead-eye finishing he looks likely to pose a massive threat to defences across the country.

Although there are clear areas of his game that he needs to develop - for instance, his link-up play is poor - the basic skills needed to be a success in the Premier League are there and Allardyce will be very pleased with his summer recruit.

Valencia will be looking to heap further misery on United on Saturday and, in turn, show Rooney that he needs to bring some of the tunnel vision towards scoring that he once had back to his own game.  

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