Carlos Tevez vs Gonzalo Higuain: Which Striker Will Score More Goals in Serie A?
Gonzalo Higuain and Carlos Tevez were two of the biggest imports to Serie A this summer.
Both Argentines have huge reputations and massively upgrade their sides' attacks, but who will score more goals this summer?
Let's examine more closely who will have the edge in Italy this season.
Tevez took a large amount of penalties during his career in the Premier League and Higuain will certainly want to grasp the ball now that Cristiano Ronaldo is not on his team.
It seems that El Apache will not be on the spot for Juve this season though, as Arturo Vidal took the penalty against Galatasaray in the Champions League. And given the emphatic fashion that the Chilean swept the ball into the roof of the net, we can expect El Guerrero to continue taking them.
El Apache will potentially be conceding a couple of goals this season to Pipita, who might fight off competition from Marek Hamsik to inherit the duty from Edinson Cavani.
El Matador took 12 penalties last season for the Partenopei, so if Higuain can get Rafael Benitez's blessing here, it could be a significant advantage in outscoring his compatriot in Turin.
The Bianconeri earned 11 penalties last season, in comparison to the Azzurri's 13 spot kicks (one of which was taken by Hamsik).
As it stands, it is probable that Higuain will get the edge when you consider that Hamsik happily relinquished the duty to his teammate over the last couple seasons.
In this regard, we can expect Higuain to have an advantage of more than five or six goals and that's considering Napoli earn slightly fewer penalties and Higuain misses a couple or is not on the pitch at the time for whatever reason.
Injuries will obviously be a significant factor as to which striker finishes with more goals.
Tevez has stayed fully fit so far this season, but Higuain has already suffered an injury that has set off alarm bells.
Not to mention the freak jaw injury that the 25-year-old suffered while holidaying in Capri.
The Napoli striker slipped and cut his face, leading to the player requiring 10 stitches, before a row erupted concerning compensation that president Aurelio De Laurentiis was demanding.
El Apache could have an advantage of playing more games for this reason.
Schedule and Rotation
Both teams are of an elite level, but how far each side goes in the cup competitions will have an impact on the number of games that these strikers play in the league.
Rafael Benitez and Antonio Conte will contemplate rotating their star strikers in the league in preparation of big Champions League clashes.
One would have expected Tevez to play more Serie A games up to the Christmas break, as Napoli are involved in a group of death with Borussia Dortmund, Marseille and Arsenal.
Given how tight this group is, we can expect Benitez to rest Higuain in a couple of the Serie A games in the build up to these European clashes.
However, the Bianconeri are in trouble in their group and have made tough work of Copenhagen away and Galatasaray at home, earning just two points, which could mean Conte is forced to prioritise the remainig four European games in order to just quality.
Looking beyond the group stage, it is still probable that the Old Lady would have a better chance of advancing further in the competition than Napoli due to the deeper squad and superior experience.
This gives Higuain an edge to score marginally more in Serie A as we can expect El Apache to miss a few more games through rotation.
When looking at how many chances Napoli and Juventus create each game, there is a stark contrast between how each side is set up.
The Partenopei are better equipped to supply Higuain with more chances than the Bianconeri are for their star striker Tevez.
With a trident of support strikers in Marek Hamsik and two of Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens and Goran Pandev, Higuain has an abundance of creative players looking to provide the bullets for their centre-forward.
Tevez plays with a partner—unlike Higuain—which can help, as the centre-backs will split their attention between the Argentine and one of Mirko Vucinic, Fernando Llorente, Sebastian Giovinco and Fabio Quagliarella.
While Paul Pogba, Arturo Vidal and Andrea Pirlo are all creative in their own right, they operate with greater distances to Tevez than Napoli's magic trio do with Higuain, making clear cut chances less often.
While the Bianconeri possess wing-backs such as Kwadwo Asamoah and Stephan Lichtsteiner, Napoli's full-backs Pablo Armero, Juan Zuniga and Christian Maggio will provide an equivalent wide threat with service from the wings.
There is a disparity between Napoli's top goalscorer last season in Edinson Cavani, who struck 29 times, and Juve's top scorers in the league, with Vucinic and Vidal both scoring 10 times each.
Obviously El Matador is a superior striker to anything the Bianconeri had last season, but the difference in creativity in the final third must account for a proportion of the 19 goal difference in the two sides, which gives Higuain the advantage.
Comparison so Far This Season and Prediction
We can compare the statistics to help us decide who we believe will score more goals.
Squawka tell us that Tevez is more accurate in front of goal, with an accuracy of 69 percent in comparison to Higuain who has 53 percent accuracy in front of goal.
It is also essential to consider the strikers' duties on the pitch and whether they are required to contribute in other ways that could hinder their goalscoring ability.
Higuain appears to be there to score, with the aforementioned trident behind him tasked with supplying the creativity to the team.
Tevez, however, is more isolated, as Juve tend to position themselves slightly deeper, even when in possession, compared to Napoli.
This could force Tevez to work hard by closing the space of the opposition and looking to work the channels, which are obviously further away from goal than the normal space that Higuain will be operating in.
One of Juve's strengths is their runners from midfield, so Tevez will also be looking to get on the ball and release the likes of Vidal and Pogba into the space behind, whereas Higuain's combinations will be in and around the box, leading to more glances at goal.
With three goals each this season, it is clear that this should be a close-run battle, but I just feel that Benitez is more focused on supplying his striker with better service than Conte is.
Pipita's goals are more vital to the team's success than the goals that Carlitos supplies for Juve, therefore I choose Higuain to score roughly three to five more league goals than Tevez in Italy this campaign.