When comparing the domestic seasons of the talented strikers Fernando Torres and Edinson Cavani, it is always prudent to discuss their statistics to get a sense of how the players matchup from a purely numerical perspective.
Indeed, an investigation into their respective English Premier League and Serie A campaigns and a significant difference in their seasons becomes quite glaring: goals.
The two strikers have a similar number of domestic appearances—28 starts and eight substitute appearances for the Spaniard and 33 starts and one substitute appearance for the Uruguayan. Cavani’s 29 domestic goals more than triples Torres’ seemingly humble figure of eight domestic goals, it is a big figure that alone puts Cavani in a different category of strikers when compared to Torres.
Their general footballing numbers from 2012-2013 look relatively similar. More yellows for the Serie A man, but the English Premier League man received one red card in the domestic season, something Cavani was able to avoid.
A window into some of their more creative statistics and another distinction makes itself quite clear. Cavani unleashed far more shots than did Torres during their respective 2012-2013 domestic campaigns. Where Torres uncorked 68, Cavani more than doubled that figure, with 168 of his own. That is certainly a key difference between the two strikers.
Torres had slightly more successful dribbles and completed a tick more key passes (a pass leading directly to a shot, including assists), two areas in his favor.
But the differences are not nearly as significant as they are when comparing the goals and shots categories. Torres completed six more key passes and four more dribbles than did Cavani. Such a small discrepancy cannot fairly lead to the conclusion that Torres was a more dynamic dribbler or prolific playmaker.
Both were very infrequent crossers, which, of course, makes sense: each is most frequently deployed as a center forward, and their job requires them to be on the end of crosses, not serve them.
Their fouls earned were nearly exactly the same. Torres was fouled once more than was Cavani, 40 total to 39 total.
With scoring being the primary responsibility for any striker, defending is something strikers are rarely judged on. And there is logic in that. Torres and Cavani, generally stationed high up on the pitch, are not likely to rake in abundant totals in defensive categories like clearances, blocks and interceptions.
Regardless, there are definitely defensive contributions worth discussing here.
Cavani is clearly the more frequent contributor on the defensive side of the ball. He completed 14 more tackles, five more interceptions, almost double the number of clearances (28 more clearances for Cavani) and eight more blocked shots (Torres did not block a shot).
They committed a very similar number of fouls, 48 for Cavani and 52 for Torres. Cavani was dribbled 12 more times than Torres was a likely result of his higher completed tackles figure: win more tackles and the likelihood of getting beat increases.
The numbers point to a clear individually superior domestic campaign for Edinson Cavani. Through it all, strikers are often remembered and graded in terms of shots, shot efficiency and more critically, goals. It’s no contest between Cavani and Torres when looking through the lens of the latter.
Stats gathered from WhoScored?