A flop? Stats show that Man United’s £80m star has totally improved their defence

Why Maguire has been a worthy signing for Manchester United

Back in August, BBC reported that Manchester United acquired English defender Harry Maguire for a record fee of £80million from Premier League rivals Leicester City.

After leaking 54 goals in the previous season, United’s weak defence, which included the centre-back pairing of Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling, was hugely criticised for the team’s poor show.

In came Maguire as a beacon of hope, however, the world’s most expensive defender has had a mixed season so far, with the club struggling to put in consistent performances.

Harry Maguire of Manchester United reacts during a Premier League match.
Harry Maguire of Manchester United reacts during a Premier League match. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, around this time last year, United were in a better place. However, a look at United’s defence this season from a statistical point of view gives a completely different outlook.

The Red Devils, after Maguire’s arrival, seem to have improved at the back, with the side conceding just 23 goals from 20 league games, compared to their tally of 32 goals around the same time last season.  

Though it is true that United have not performed up to expectations, blaming the defence alone seems to be too harsh, with the side clearly struggling in other areas too.

It would be fair to say that the Red Devils’ defence has clearly upgraded from last year and Maguire’s arrival has had an impact on them. To be more precise, let’s have a look at Maguire’s numbers so far this season and the effect he has had on his new team.

Harry Maguire
Harry Maguire was signed by Man United for a record fee (Getty Images)

The former centre-back came to Old Trafford carrying a big reputation of being an error-free defender and he has lived up to that hype so far. He has not made a single error that has led to goal this season, improving his own tally of 1 from last season.

Also, Maguire is currently third on the list of players with most successful headed clearances in the league, giving a glimpse of his strength in the air. He has recorded 56 aerial clearances and is only behind Englishmen James Tarkowski of Burnley (60).

He has won the most number of aerial duels with United (4.8 per game) – his career-best so far. With Leicester, he recorded a maximum of 3.8, which came last season, according to Whoscored.

Moise Kean of Everton is put under pressure by Harry Maguire of Manchester United during a Premier League fixture at Old Trafford.
Moise Kean of Everton is put under pressure by Harry Maguire of Manchester United during a Premier League fixture at Old Trafford. (Getty Images)

Though he has registered only 3 clean sheets until now, his consistency at the back has led to Solskjaer offering him a starting role in every match. He is one of the first names on the team sheet, having featured in all 20 league matches so far.

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With 1,262 passes he is 4th on the list of players with the most number of passes in the league. This speaks volumes about his good reading of the game.

The Red Devils defender Harry Maguire.
The Red Devils defender Harry Maguire. (Getty Images)

Verdict

Though he has not risen to his full potential, it needs to be remembered that Maguire is playing his first season with Manchester United and like every other player, needs time to adjust to the set-up.

However, looking at his statistics alone, Maguire seems to have grown more as a defender, but still has a lot of work to do if he wishes to live up to his costly price-tag.

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Written by Siddharth Suresh

Hello folks, I am an avid football follower who likes to read, report and play the world's most beautiful game. My other hobbies include writing poetry, traveling and exploring new cultures.
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