Ander Herrera Vs N’Golo Kante
Manchester United outclassed and outplayed Chelsea on Sunday evening to beat the leaders 2-0 at the Old Trafford in the Premier League.
It was a tactical masterclass from Jose Mourinho as his team played the perfect game to get one over his former employers with goals from Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera on either side of half-time. The way Herrera man-marked Eden Hazard throughout the game, rendering him totally ineffective was the cornerstone of the win for United. Taking the Belgian out of the game meant that the supply line to striker Diego Costa was cut and as a result, Manchester United killed off any chances of Chelsea gaining an impetus in the attacking third.
The Spaniard, as it happened, also played a huge hand in both the goals for United. He tore open the Chelsea backline with a peach of a pass to send Rashford through on goal, before getting himself on the scoresheet via a deflected shot in the second period.
It was arguably the 27-year old’s best performance in his time with Manchester United, helping them take out the biggest threat from the opposition.
Herrera has been putting in consistent displays week in week out under Jose Mourinho this season and has been one of the best midfielders in England this term, probably next to Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante. And he showed his class against the Blues on Sunday evening. With two of the best in the league having gone head to head, let’s compare their numbers from the game and see how effective they were:
The Manchester United man was clearly the better contributor in the attacking half compared to Kante, scoring one and assisting one for the Red Devils. Herrera also chipped in with two key passes, compared to none from the Chelsea man.
Kante had more touches of the ball (83) than the Spanish international (60) and averaged a better pass percentage at 92% on his 59 attempted passes, while Herrera had a success rate of 74% on his 43 attempts to find his teammates. Although it must be noted that most of the balls the Frenchman played were short side passes in the middle of the park.
The French international attempted and completed one dribble successfully, while Herrera did not show too much adventure when on the ball. But the Blues’ midfield mainstay was also dribbled past by an opponent on four occasions compared to just once against the 27-year old Herrera. The Spaniard also won one of the two defensive aerial duels he attempted, whereas Kante failed to win anything in the air.
Kante attempted more tackles (9) than Herrera (5), but the Manchester United midfielder had a better success percentage of 75% compared to that of the former Leicester City man’s 56%. Kante also made more interceptions (7) than Herrera (4) but was trumped when it came to the number of clearances, as Herrera made four of them, compared to just one from Kante.
While the battle of the numbers seems to be equally split between the two midfielders, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Kante, surprisingly, was subdued for the entire length of the game and struggled to make his presence felt like his usual self. On the other hand, Herrera had one of his best outings in Manchester United colours and played an extremely vital role in his team ending up on the winning side. The Spaniard was extremely effective in his role and came out on top in the midfield battle against his Chelsea counterpart.
**Stats Taken From WhoScored.com