Why Robin van Persie Will Beat Luis Suarez to Win the Golden Boot This Season
Luis Suarez may be the overwhelming bookies' favourite to win this year's prestigious Golden Boot award, but come the end of the season, it will be Robin van Persie who'll be the one celebrating.
Suarez has been magnificent for Liverpool, currently leading the Dutchman by three goals (22 vs.19) and is heavily fancied to win the race at a canter.
However, taking a closer look into specifics of the final games, there is enough evidence to suggest van Persie is more than capable of overtaking the Uruguayan way before the final game of the season.
The upcoming fixture list is an excellent place to start the reasoning.
On the face of it, Suarez definitely has the more enticing run of games over the next few weeks. A home game to West Ham sandwiched in between trips to relegation-threatened Aston Villa and Southampton should see plenty of returns.
Van Persie also has two away games, albeit against tougher opposition, in Sunderland and Stoke with a tricky-looking home test against rivals Manchester City.
But if we look at the table, United have played 29 games to Liverpool's 30, giving the Dutchman an extra 90 minutes to get amongst the goals.
And perhaps the most interesting development of the weekend was Suarez's innocuous 90th-minute booking for dissent in the 3-1 loss at Southampton, taking him to nine yellow cards for the season.
If the striker picks up just one more caution, he will automatically miss two games. On average, the 26-year-old picks up a booking once every 3.3 games.
For leniency, let's estimate he will see yellow again in four games' time. That will mean a suspension for the home game with Chelsea and the away trip to Newcastle.
Van Persie has no pending bans to worry about, as he is currently sitting on four yellows.
So, if we add United's extra game plus the almost certain guarantee of a two-match suspension, van Persie will potentially have 270 minutes more playing time between now and the end of the season.
With home games against Aston Villa and Swansea, the United striker will fancy his chances to score at least a goal a game.
Now take into consideration the current role in which the men have in their specific team.
Suarez's productivity as a goalscorer takes a significant slide when new signing Daniel Sturridge is in the team.
Who will win the Golden Boot?
Brendan Rodgers prefers Suarez either out wide on the left or floating in behind the striker. But it's up top on his own where he's done his best work.
It was no coincidence that his hat trick away at Wigan this month was when Sturridge was out of the side. In fact, Suarez has never scored more than one goal in a game when playing with the ex-Chelsea striker.
With no plans to bench Sturridge in the near future, Suarez could be significantly less prolific between now and the end of the season.
It can be argued van Persie's current form is not what it was six games ago. However, a mixture of slight injury and resting, together with the Real Madrid saga, appears to have knocked the Dutchman slightly off track.
But with game time guaranteed, and Wayne Rooney playing just off the ex-Arsenal star, the goals will be back on the way sooner rather than later.
Rooney has missed plenty of time this season, but with or without him in the side, van Persie's role stays the same—a central striker.
He has scored more than half of his 19 goals (10) with Rooney on the pitch, suggesting extra attacking personnel doesn't affect his overall production.
In conclusion, van Persie has plenty of elements in his favour to predict he will eventually win the race for the Golden Boot.
And if it's level heading into the final game, it may just come down to a penalty for each club.
After taking spot-kicks away from Rooney, van Persie will be primed to pounce while designated taker Steven Gerrard converts for Liverpool, leaving Suarez helpless in the process.
I rest my case.
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