Date: 2nd September 2010 at 2:18pm
Written by:

Yesterday you bashfully, yet nonchalantly, stated that is a superior footballer to . As promised, I have compiled a collection of facts and statistics that would support the assertion that Torres is indeed the better footballer. The following points would seem to suggest that you may be incorrect in your assumption.

Unlike tiresome Gerrard v Lampard arguments which often lead to Chelsea fans stating ‘how many Premier League medals has Gerrard won?’ (a question which does nothing to taint the merits of Steven Gerrard as a footballer, or indeed exacerbate Frank Lampard’s individual footballing qualities), we shall leave out domestic trophy hauls from this argument, as they serve to highlight the merits of the team, not necessarily the player.

For the sake of argument, let us start on the understanding that both players in question operate as traditional number nines for their teams; unlike for example, players like Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi (to name but two), both Torres and Drogba are conventional, centre-forwards, who operate as lone strikers, and act as the chief goalscorers for their respective clubs.

To start with, let us compare the goalscoring tallies of the two players during their time in England. The strikers’ goalscoring rates are in brackets next to the tallies. Due to the embryonic stage of the current Premier League season, I have only included the tallies for each of the duo’s full seasons in England.

Fernando Torres

33 in 46 (1 in every 1.4 games)

17 in 38 (1 in every 2.2 games)

22 in 32 (1 in every 1.5 games)

Overall: 72 in 116 (1 in every 1.6 games)

Didier Drogba

16 in 41 (1 in every 2.6 games)

16 in 41 (1 in every 2.6 games)

33 in 60 (1 in every 1.8 games)

15 in 32 (1 in every 2.1 games)

14 in 42 (1 in every 3 games)

37 in 44 (1 in 1.2 games)

Overall: 131 in 260 (Just over 1 in every 2 games)

So what is clear from these respective tallies thus far, is that Torres is clearly the more prolific centre-forward. During four of his six seasons in England, Drogba has ended up with tallies of 16 goals or less, a return that could be deemed as unsatisfactory for a leading club’s main centre-forward.

In addition to this, we can deduce that Fernando Torres scores at a rate of 2 goals in every 3 games, whilst Didier Drogba scores at the inferior rate of 1 goal in every 2 games (a rate that is considered to be a respectable rate for most centre-forwards).

In the pantheon of Premier League forwards, Drogba’s strike-rate does not compare as favourably as that of his Spanish counterpart. A barometer of gauging Drogba and Torres’s goalscoring abilities against those of Premier League greats of yore is by seeing how quickly the pair reached 50 Premier League goals. The following list denotes the number of games it took certain players to reach 50 goals in the Premier League:

65 – Andy Cole

66 – Alan Shearer

68 – Ruud van Nistelrooy

72 – Fernando Torres (1 goal in every 1.44 games)

83 – Kevin Phillips

83 – Thierry Henry

87 – Ian Wright

88 – Robbie Fowler

94 – Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

94 – Teddy Sheringham

96 – Les Ferdinand

97 – Matthew Le Tissier

98 – Michael Owen

106 – Didier Drogba (1 goal in every 2.12 games)

108 – Emmanuel Adebayor

Again, this list does not support your argument that Drogba is the better goalscorer. Fernando Torres is fourth on this list, whilst Drogba is 13th. Statistically, Fernando Torres is a much better goalscorer than Didier Drogba. We must also take into consideration the fact that Torres does not take any of Liverpool’s penalties or free-kicks, whilst Drogba is frequently on set-piece and spot-kick duty for Chelsea.

I do appreciate that Didier Drogba is a world-class centre-forward; he is a truly gifted footballer, and is certainly amongst the top 20 footballers in the world today. However, as a goalscorer, I feel that he pales in comparison to my beloved Fernando Torres.

Yours sincerely,

Zarif Rasul

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