Robin van Persie, goalscoring and past United greats

Robin van Persie has been a massive hit at Manchester United since his move from Arsenal

Robin van Persie has settled in quite nicely at Old Trafford since his £24 million move from Arsenal in August. Many Arsenal fans suggested that he was too old and injury prone to warrant such a fee, however his seven goals in nine appearances, including a superb hattrick against Southampton, highlights the immense quality of the Dutchman.

Many reds will be eager to see more of the Wayne Rooney Robin van Persie partnership, that lined up in a 4-4-2 diamond against Newcastle at the weekend, but with International week upon us – I thought I’d look back in history at some of United’s glorious greats and see what their goals per game ratio was like.

(These stats are correct as of October 9th 2012)

Manchester United top players goals per game over the years

Football evolves over time. Players come and go. But one thing for sure, is that Manchester United have had some undoubted quality over the years. Wayne Rooney, who is now fourth in the all time United goals, goalscoring record has a particularly impressive record, considering how unselfish he is with his play (if you compare him to the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo for instance).

Tommy Taylor was an absolute goal machine following his signing from Barnsley in 1953 for £29,999 (Sir Matt Busby did not want to burden Taylor with the first £30,000 fee) and scored a vast amount of goals before being tragically killed in the Munich air disaster in 1958. His last two goals came in the classic 5-4 victory over Arsenal at Highbury, the game before United set off for Belgrade. Taylor’s teammate Dennis Viollet scored the same amount of goals as George Best, but featured in far less games than the Irishman.

Lastly, in the modern era, Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record speaks for itself. It is a shame the way it went for him in 2006, when he left for Real Madrid having been surplus to requirements for the final part of the season (and being left out of the League Cup final team that beat Wigan 4-0). He was a goal machine and could score with his left and right foot or head. Many questioned his quality outside the box, having notched his first goal against Charlton from outside the 18 yard area – however, his quality finishing and predator instincts was never in question.

This post isn’t to compare Robin van Persie’s early strike rate against some of the greats that graced the Old Trafford pitch for many years. No. It is merely to celebrate some of the great players United have had over the years and to highlight some statistics you may not be aware of. The big question though is, can Wayne Rooney surpass the 249 goals set by Sir Bobby? What do you think?

2 Comments on Robin van Persie, goalscoring and past United greats

  1. As long as Wayne stays fit and maintains a hunger and attitude to keep him at the club I don’t see him not surpassing Sir Bobby within 3-4 seasons.

    Ruud for me is probably the most impressive out and out striker & goalscorer I’ve seen at Old Trafford. You never felt in doubt that he would score a goal. Movement & decision making in goalscoring positions was second to none. I kind of see the same in Van Persie, the second against Cluj to sight an example.

  2. I think as long as he keeps fit and injury free he will surpass Cantona!

    I agree with Spyder_kelly – Ruud was the most prolific out and out goal poacher – probably the best the premiership has ever seen!

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