This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
Following the arrival of Harry Maguire for a world-record fee for a defender back in the summer, Manchester United know they have a centre-back who is likely to be amongst the first-names on the team-sheet for a number of years. The real conundrum Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has on his hands, is who he decided to partner the former Leicester star with.
So far this season, that man has been Sweden international Victor Lindelof. The 25-year-old has played 14 times across all competitions, and was once again in the line-up for United’s clash against Sheffield United on Sunday afternoon. The Red Devils came away with a dramatic 3-3 draw at Bramall Lane, and much of the post-match criticism has revolved around Phil Jones’ horror showing.
Martin Keown hammered the England international for his role in the build-up the opening goal, and insisted he “always looked problematic” in the back-line. But whilst the former Blackburn man had a 45 minutes to forget, Lindelof should not be let off the hook for his own dismal display.
Lining up in a back-three, Lindelof was run ragged by the movement of both Lys Mousset and David McGoldrick, constantly having to deal with danger from out wide, rather than in the comfort of the central areas. As per Sofascore, he won just two of his seven aerial duels (three overall) as he also lost the physical battle against Sheffield United’s front two, and his struggles were shown by the fact he completed no tackles whatsoever over the course of the 90 minutes.
And the Swede’s time on the ball was similarly unproductive. Despite boasting 83 touches, he failed to provide a key pass into his midfielders or forwards, something Maguire was able to do. He also lost possession ten times, more than double what Jones managed (4) in his time on the pitch. The latter has been somewhat of a scapegoat, with fans of the Manchester side even criticising his error on Sunday. But whilst the focus has been on him, Lindelof has avoided much of the scrutiny – something that doesn’t make sense given his equally poor performance.
In other news, Manchester United star Marcus Rashford has fired a huge warning to the rest of the Premier League about his own potential.