Manchester United worked pretty hard on the £29m summer signing of Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao, and in spite of the 25-year-old’s struggles with a broken rib since starting the campaign at Old Trafford, it’s clear he has found his feet in the Premier League.
In just six appearances so far for the Red Devils, Herrera has exemplified the role of a modern box-to-box midfielder, as illustrated by the below comparison with two of the top flight’s highly-respected proponents of the genre:
Herrera’s pass completion rate is miles better than Liverpool and England uber-athlete Jordan Henderson, while Manchester City’s Yaya Toure, who picked up a PFA Player of the Year nomination last term, barely moves the ball around any better.
The Three Lions man also lags behind the Spaniard and the Ivorian in dribbles per game, while both Henderson and Toure are dribbled past more frequently than Herrera (0.7 and 1.1 times per match respectively, compared to the Man Utd man’s 0.3, according to WhoScored.com).
Surely the most interesting stat to take away from the trio’s Premier League campaigns so far is the fact that Herrera has contributed as many goals/assists to United’s 2014/15 effort as the Liverpool and City regulars, despite making only half as many appearances.
Toure has one more goal, but the Basque native’s relative lack of time on the pitch means he is notching at a rate of 0.41 per 90 minutes, compared to the City bruiser bagging 0.27 a game, according to Squawka.com. Henderson is back in the distance at 0.07.
The Liverpool man does just about win out in terms of tackles/interceptions with 4.2 per game, but Herrera is hot on his heels with 3.8 defensive actions on average, while Toure’s 1.7 suggests City are relying on Brazilian midfield pair Fernando and Fernandinho to get a foot in.
Going by these figures there’s plenty to come from Herrera, who hasn’t started a match since his side’s 2-2 draw at West Brom six weeks, but looks a certainty to be in from the off against Stoke at Old Trafford, after his impressive showing off the bench in the 3-0 win at home to Hull.