‘Captain’ Rooney the value to top the scoring for Man United

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Whether they are racing towards the Premier League Golden Boot or competing over club captaincy, the competitive edge between Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney could be the spark for a turnaround in fortunes at Old Trafford after the disappointment of last season.

The arrival of Louis van Gaal in the north west can only be good for Van Persie as he looks to put his injury woes behind him, improve on last year’s 12 league goals and take the Red Devils back to the top table.

The 31-year-old has thrived at international level, netting 18 times in 22 appearances under Van Gaal, leading the Oranje to a World Cup semi-final in the process.

But priced up at 4/5 to top-score for his club during the upcoming campaign, it is well worth taking on the former Arsenal man in the race to be United’s leading man.

Step forward Wayne Rooney. Having bagged 17 Premier League goals last season, more than any of his team mates, the England man initially looks the best bet at 7/4 to do the same this time round.

He did feature more than his strike-partner during the course of the 38 games, but still returned a marginally better goals-to-games ratio.

The new man at the helm has hinted that Rooney could be the man to take the armband, stating “I think you have to choose, when it is possible, for the English style…” ,when discussing candidates for the position.

Such a selection would surely motivate the 29-year-old to prove he is the main man for the 13-time Premier League winners.

It looks to be between the pair at the head of the market in the quest for goals, but at the prices, Rooney is surely the value.

But for those looking to take a punt on a big price, one man stands out.

His move from Chelsea to Manchester United looked set to revitalise David Moyes’ United team, but for one reason or another last season didn’t see the true Juan Mata.

Having netted 11 top-flight goals in the 2012/13 season, the Spaniard certainly knows where the net is, and at a huge 22/1, could be worth a small interest.

The 26-year-old will surely have a better campaign than the last, which incidentally still saw him score six times.

He may have to settle for third spot, but with injuries plaguing both Van Persie and Rooney in recent years, Mata cannot be ignored at a big price.

All Odds and Markets correct as of the date of publishing

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.