HEAD-TO-HEAD: Danny Welbeck vs Wayne Rooney - Did Manchester United keep the better striker?

Wayne Rooney 2014

How new Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck compares to Wayne Rooney. Statistics taken on a 'minutes per' basis...

Rooney Vs WelbeckWould you rather have Danny Welbeck or Wayne Rooney in your side?

A victim of the hype and success early in his career, expectations on Wayne Rooney are such that even when producing above average performances, he is accused of playing under par.

He has the trust of managers Louis van Gaal and Roy Hodgson, who have just recently handed him the captain's role for both Manchester United and England.

With Radamel Falcao signed, and Robin van Persie insisting he remains fit - United saw fit to offload Danny Welbeck, selling him to rivals Arsenal for a fee of £16 million.

Welbeck is player with the raw abilities to excel, but has not been prolific for United or England, yet handed regular football in a central role for the Gunners, there is a real opportunity for him to kick on and prove United wrong.

So did United make a mistake in letting him go, and should they have ditched their highly paid captain instead?

A measurement of their performances over the past three seasons, and early games this campaign, suggest United backed the right horse in Wayne Rooney.

Rooney has only played 11 more Premier League matches than Welbeck in this period, yet started far more, accumulating more than 2,500 minutes of playing time than the Arsenal forward. On this basis, the pair have been compared on a 'minutes per' basis, rather than 'per game'.

In several key areas for strikers, Rooney comes out on top - averaging a goal every 132 minutes compared to Welbeck's 253.

Rooney also edges Welbeck in terms of aerial duels won, a perceived strength of the youngster's game, and wins the ball back at a more frequent basis.

More prolific in terms of shots per game, key passes, and assists, Welbeck only comes out on top in terms of his passing accuracy, 87 per cent compared to 81 per cent.

This will certainly see him fit well among Arsenal's attack, but there are clearly areas to work on for the new addition.

At 23-years-old however, there is certainly time for Welbeck to improve - and in terms of value for money in may even transpire to be better fit than Rooney, now 28, who would also cost more and demand to become Arsenal's highest earner.

Time will tell if Welbeck can become the striker Arsenal need, but when it comes to performances on the pitch, keeping Rooney and selling his strike partner was the better move for United.

Who would you prefer Arsenal had, Rooney or Welbeck?

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch