Stats: How did Ander Herrera fare during his Premier League debut?
Ander Herrera had a far from dream debut for Manchester United on Saturday. Swansea managed to upset United by beating them 2-1 at Old Trafford, raining on Louis Van Gaal’s opening parade. Herrera was quiet to say the least in his first Premier League game for the red devils, making no real impact on the game and being subbed after 67 minutes.
The midfielder was bought into Old Trafford this summer after activating his £29 Million release clause from Biblao. He enjoyed a successful pre-season under Louis Van Gaal, proving key in the centre of midfield for United. He was enlisted largely due to his ability to keep the shape in midfield in Van Gaal’s new system. The 25 year old is known for his passing ability, along with his vision he can pick out a pass expertly. However, against Swansea he showcased very little of this.
His heat map shows that he spent most of his time playing in the very middle of the park, occasionally going out wide to try and spray balls in from there. It also shows him spending more time in where the attacking midfielder role is, just behind the semi-circle of the penalty area. He was playing as the right sided centre-midfielder, so when looked at like this – his positioning throughout the game was very good.
As said before, Herrera can pick out defence splitting balls and so creates a lot of chances. Last season he created more chances than any other Manchester United midfielder, with 53. However on Saturday he failed to create a single chance for his new side. With a pass success rate of 87%, his accuracy of pass was impressive. As the graph shows, the majority of these passes were backwards or sideways, meaning he wasn’t being as adventurous as he could be. This is understandable though as it was his debut and he may not have wanted to take too many risks.
The six foot midfielder also lost both aerial duels he went up for, and lost out on the single tackle he went for. However he did win three free kicks against Swansea, and two of them three happened to be in dangerous positions for United. When playing for Bilbao last season, Herrera won a staggering 86 fouls for the La Liga team compared to 81 of Carrick, Fellaini, Cleverley and Fletcher put together.
Although his debut was rather quiet and uneventful, Ander Herrera certainly didn’t have a bad game. He showed that he has the potential to be a key player this year. Once he starts acclimatizing to the Premier League he will no doubt get more comfortable, and the impressive performances will soon come.
How did you think Ander Herrera fared in his Premier League debut? Let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter @TBRFootball.
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