Gareth Bale has been named the PFA Player of the Year after the season he has enjoyed with Tottenham. There is no doubt that Bale is a good player and he has probably caught many peoples attention this season with his great wing play down the left and his blistering pace. Bale has also shown that he has an eye for goal which is always an asset for a winger. But at Liverpool, we have Dirk Kuyt who most of the time finds himself playing wide on the right. Kuyt is not an out and out winger like Bale as he does not have the pace and trickery of Bale but with Kuyt you know what you will get : sheer hard work. But hard work is not all you get out of Dirk, you are assured of some goals and assists.
Just looking at the stats this season between Kuyt and Bale in the Premier League (source ESPN Soccernet):
Kuyt: 27 games started, 10 goals, 52 shots, 25 shots on goal, 5 assists and 25 fouls suffered.
Bale: 26 games started, 7 goals, 54 shots, 23 shots on goal, 1 assist and 50 fouls suffered.
Looking at those stats, the first thing that catches my attention is the number of assists Bale has had this season : One! This in a team where he is an out and out winger and has the likes of Crouch to assist. Whilst Dirk was playing most of the season with a striker who looked disinterested in the game in Fernando Torres, but Kuyt has managed to rack up 5 assists.
Their shooting ratios are virtually the same so we can not look much into that. Kuyt has more goals than Bale but Kuyt is aided by the fact that he takes penalties for Liverpool. But the bottom line is that Kuyt has scored more goals this season than Bale. As Rafa would say, “That is a fact!” It makes sense for Bale to have suffered more fouls as he is a target for opposing defenders due to his sheer pace.
There is no doubt that Tottenham have had a better season than Liverpool but that just goes to show how well Kuyt has played in a team which has not been that successful (up until Dalglish took over). What many people also tend to forget is how instrumental Kuyt was for Holland in the World Cup last year.
As much as Bale is all flashy and catching peoples attention, I would much rather have Kuyt in the team ahead of him!