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Marco Ruiz | 04/01/2013
Benzema failed to take advantage of the chance afforded him by Higuaín's injury (6 November against Borussia Dortmund). Since then the Frenchman has played 621 minutes and only scored four goals (0.57 goals/90 minutes), and furthermore, Mourinho was no fan of his attitude in the tough (mostly for weather reasons) Cup game in Vigo. "Varane, injured, has put in more than others", said the Portuguese coach, clearly fingering Benzema. Karim's outstanding game on 18 November against Athletic, probably his finest since he came to Real was just a mirage. Now it's Higuaín who's back, and looks to be a starting pick against Real. He is the third most effective striker in the league, scoring every 92 minutes, behind Messi (59') and Falcao (82'), but ahead of Cristiano (108').
Comparing the two strikers in overall stats this season makes Benzema look fairly bad. He's scored nine in 24 games, whilst Higuaín has managed eight in just 15 before his injury. Just one more goal for the Frenchman, despite playing 452 minutes more (over five games worth). His numbers in League terms are truly atrocious: Benzema, four goals in 793 minutes (one every 198'), whilst Higuaín has seven in 642 minutes (one every 92'). 'El Pipa' is twice as effective. The only thing Benzema has to argue in his favour is that he has supplied six assists in the Championship, to Higuaín's two, a statistic that does confirm their different styles of play: Benzema links up more and is more stylish, whilst the Argentine goes for explosive runs into space and is an innate poacher.
Last season Higuaín scored 22 league goals to Benzema's 21. This time last year the Argentinean has scored 13 and the Frenchman 10, making 23 between them. This season the pair are stuck on 11 (seven for Higuaín, despite being badly injured, and four for Benzema). There is at least some of the 16 points difference with Barcelona. As Mou said after the draw with Espanyol, where Madrid missed five clear chances in the second half: "Things went in before that don't now. It's one difference". Cristiano scored 21 goals in the first 17 games of 2011-2012; in 2012-2013 it's just 14...