Manchester United outclassed and played league leaders Chelsea on Sunday evening to beat the Blues 2-0 at the Old Trafford in the Premier League.
The match was a tactical masterclass from United’s boss Jose Mourinho as his team played the perfect game to get one over his former side with goals from Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera on either side of half-time. The way Ander Herrera singlehandedly marked Eden Hazard throughout the game, rendering the Belgian throughout the game totally ineffective was the cornerstone of the win for the Red Devils. Taking Hazard 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 the Blues gaining an impetus in the attacking third.
The Spaniard, as it happened, also played a huge hand in both the goals for Manchester United. He tore open the Blues backline with a brilliant pass to send Marcus Rashford through on goal, before getting himself on the scoresheet via a deflected shot in the second period of the game.
The match was arguably his best performances in his time with Manchester United, helping his side take out the biggest threat from Chelsea.
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.
Ander Herrera has been putting in consistent performance week in week out under the Portuguese manager this season and has been one of the best midfielders in England this season, probably next to Blues N’Golo Kante. Moreover, he showed his class against Antonio Conte’s side on Sunday evening. With two of the best in the league having gone head to head, here’s comparison from the game and see how effective they were:
Kante had more touches of the ball (83) than the Spaniard who had (60) and averaged a better pass percentage at 92% on his 59 attempted passes, while the Spaniard had a success rate of 74% on his 43 attempts in the match to find his teammates. Although it must be noted that most of the balls Kante played were short side passes in the middle of the park.
The French international attempted and completed one dribble successfully, while Ander Herrera did not show too much adventure when on the ball. But the West London club’s midfield was also dribble 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 aerials duels he attempted.
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.