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Manchester United

Why Vidic’s return is great news for United

Yesterday, Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic returned to action after eight months out injured as he played an hour of the 0-0 friendly draw with Valerenga.

Vidic, 30, missed most of last season after he suffered knee ligament damage against Basel in December.

The Serbian centre back is a key player for United, he’s been vital for the Red Devils during their success since he joined the club.

Let’s take a look at some of Vidic’s stats from the previous campaigns, before being ruled out through injury.

The centre half pairing of Vidic and Ferdinand lost possession a combined 18 times in 4,827 minutes during the 2010/11 season. That is a loss of possession only once every 268? or, roughly, once every 3 games.  Before his injury in 2011, the loss of possession average increased to 324:30 minutes, an improvement over the previous season by nearly 50?. This defensive partnership is clearly vital to the United set-up. Vidic and Ferdinand hardly put a foot wrong during the first part of the season, with just one defensive error between them.

Vidic also began the season solidly with his passing of the ball. The defender attempted just 205 passes overall but his 82% is a solid, if unspectacular, number.  What is remarkable is that managed to create four chances.  While that may not seem like a very high number, two prolific strikers last season each only managed to created 5 chances apiece after the first 6 games of the season – Demba Ba and Yakubu.

When looking at United’s defensive record, you can see a big difference when Vidic appears in the first team.  In 38 appearances last season, the Red Devils kept 20 clean sheets and conceded 33 times (0.87 goals per game.)  When Vidic was on the pitch, 6 times during 2011/12, the team recorded 4 clean sheets and allowed just 2 goals, or 0.33 goals per game. Although this isn’t a huge number of games, it does show the level of influence that Nemanja Vidic has within the United defence.

All this statistics highlight his importance to the team. Vidic is vital to the Red Devils and I hope he has a great start to the new 2012/13 season.