By Adam Clark

At this stage last season Marlon Harewood was truly enjoying Premiership life with newly-promoted West Ham United. 

In fact, he had found the back of the net on four occasions and went on to score another 10 as the Hammers finished in a respectable ninth place. 

Meanwhile, on the other side of London, Robin van Persie was playing impressively but having less success in front of goal. By the first week of November he had just one Premiership strike to his name and added only another four between then and May. 

This season, however, has seen something of a double reverse in fortunes.

To date, both West Ham and Harewood have struggled to repeat their form of last campaign, with the Englishman's only goal coming in the shock Carling Cup defeat at Chesterfield.

Arsenal's Dutch international on the other hand has truly come of age, bagging four goals, one of which - an audacious flying volley in the 2-1 win at Charlton - will live long in the memory. 

But, does their striking form tell the whole story? We take a look at this season's statistics to find out. 

The Arsenal man's prolificacy may be the direct result of the number of attempts he has each game. So far this term he has managed 24 shots on goal, a third of which have found the target. He has also seen three shots blocked and another come off the woodwork.

In comparison, the Upton Park striker has managed just 12 shots on goal and tested the goalkeeper with only three of those.

The Holland striker has also been a more successful dribbler. Of the 10 forays forward he's made, eight have resulted in an end product. West Ham on the other hand have only profited from five of Harewood's 11 runs. 

One attribute with which the West Ham man can claim to be having marginally more joy is distribution. His 65 per cent accuracy rate just edges the 62 per cent success of Van Persie, who has also attempted six fewer passes. 

Crossing is something both players will be hoping to improve on during Sunday's clash. So far our man has provided with just two of his16 attempted crosses and Harewood has failed with all seven of his. In Van Persie's defence, he has provided an assist.

Having halted their slump with three invaluable points at home to Blackburn last weekend, the Hammers will be desperate to grab another win against their London rivals. They will have to stop a rampant Van Persie to do so but Harewood would love nothing more than a goal against the Gunners, and for that reason Arsène Wenger's rearguard will need to be equally alert.


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Head to Head Statistics Robin van Persie Marlon Harewood Premiership Appearances 8 10 Minutes on pitch 459 520 Attacking Goals 4 0 Shots on target 8 3 Shots off target 12 7 Shots blocked 3 2 Offside 2 5 Supporting Assists 1 0 Passes made 45 51 Passes complete 28 33 Passes incomplete 17 18 Crosses successful 2 0 Crosses unsuccessful 16 7 Total dribbles 10 11 Dribbles successful 8 5 Dribbles unsuccessful 2 6 Defending Tackles made 3 8 Tackles won 3 4 Tackles lost 0 4 Interceptions 0 3 Blocked Shots 0 0 Clearances 1 2 Penalties Conceded 0 0 Own Goals 0 0 Discipline Fouls 5 11 Yellow Cards 3 3

NB: Statistics as at Friday, November 3, 2006.

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 3 Nov 2006