Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has been installed as favourite to score more goals than Fernando Torres in the 2011-12 Premier League campaign in a new odds market offered by bwin.com.
The England international is 11/20 to hit the back of the net with greater frequency than his Spanish rival, with the Chelsea player priced at 31/20 to win the individual battle and a tie available at 13/1.
Torres’ status as underdog will have much to do with a loss of form, which saw him hit the back of the net just once in the league following his January move to Stamford Bridge from Liverpool.
Although Rooney also had a poor season by his high standards, particularly in the first half of the campaign when he was suffering from a World Cup hangover and apparently angling for a move away from Old Trafford, he is widely expected to hit the ground running when Manchester United get their title defence underway against West Brom on Sunday.
On the other hand, Torres’ spell in the doldrums looks to be longer-lasting, with the World Cup winner still struggling to fit into Chelsea’s system and seemingly short of match sharpness.
That said, Torres’ pedigree suggests he would be a better bet to beat Rooney providing he rediscovers his touch.
It is easy to forget what a good player the Spaniard is, but here are a few stats as a reminder: he scored 31 times for Liverpool in his first season at the club, making him the most prolific foreign debutant in the history of the English game.
He followed this up by scoring 14 Premier League goals in 24 appearances in the 2008-09 campaign, before plundering 18 league goals in 22 appearances in 2009-10.
Torres even managed to sneak into double figures for league goals last season, when he was widely panned for the level of his performance.
All told, El Nino has scored 66 Premier League goals at a strike rate of 0.57 goals a game.
This makes Rooney’s efforts in the 2009-10 season, when he scored 26 goals in 32 games, seem like something of a flash in the pan.
The England international has scored 102 goals in 217 Premier League games for Manchester United, making his strike rate of 0.47 goals per game significant lower than that of Torres.
Indeed, only twice in seven seasons has Rooney scored more than 15 Premier League goals, suggesting a return to his prolific goalscoring ways of the campaign before last should not be seen as an inevitability.
With this in mind, it could be worth having a punt on Torres to outscore Rooney in the Premier League over the next ten months.
A successful £25 free bet on Torres to bag more league goals than Rooney next season, available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account, would return £63.75.
New customers can register here to claim a free £25 bet or click here to see all our Premier League odds.
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