Everyone has been speaking about how good Chris Smalling has been for Manchester United this season. Even though the Red Devils haven’t had the best season and are in danger of missing out on the UEFA Champions League with the loss against Sunderland, Chris Smalling has been one of the few rays of light in this dreadful season.
Another team which hasn’t had the best season so the far, partly due to the awesome season that Barcelona are having is Real Madrid. The side from the capital sacked their manager Rafa Benitez a few games into the season and have replaced him with a legend Zinedine Zidane. Raphael Varane has always been considered as one of the brightest prospects from the French side and he has become a stalwart for Madrid.
We compare the two stars and see just how they have done in their respective leagues this season. We would be using stats courtesy Squawka.com and only look at per 90-minute metrics to gauge which defender is better.
Smalling vs. Varane
Smalling has played more games than Varane in the league this season and it all starts with comparing how they have passed the ball about. The English defender has a pass completion rate of 83% while Varane has a pass completion rate of 88% this season.
However when it comes to tackles won per 90 minutes, it is Smalling who takes the lead with 1.32 tackles per 90 minutes compared to 1.05 for Varane in the white of Madrid. But in the aerial duels it is Varane who shoots ahead of Smalling by winning 66% of all his duels compared to 62% for Smalling.
Smalling though intercepts the ball more than Varane and makes 2.68 interceptions per 90 minutes while Varane only makes 2.03 interceptions per 90. Varane however, makes more blocks per 90 minutes with 0.92 compared to 0.52 for Smalling.
The swaying stats continue with Smalling just about making more clearances per 90 with 5.6 compared to 5.36 for Varane. As seen with the stats above, there really are many stats out there to compare the players but there is no real concrete winner in all this.
Both defenders are strong in certain aspects of defence and trail the other in some regions as well. The best thing at the moment for both teams is to keep hold of these players not only for the present but hopefully for the future as well.