Moussa Sissoko will have to stand up and be counted against Manchester United on Sunday, with an incredible statistic showing 45% of the Red Devils’ play comes from the left-wing.
Even in a mostly dire season, Manchester United are trendsetters in the Premier League, with the Red Devils joint-leaders in the top flight for the percentage of play to come down the left-wing.
The only other side to play as heavily in that third of the pitch is Crystal Palace, with United flop Wilfried Zaha their best and often only chance at gaining favourable results.
WhoScored statistics show 45% of United’s play comes from the left-flank, compared to a league-low 30% on the right and a further 26% from the middle of the park.
As for Tottenham Hotspur, Mauricio Pochettino’s side spread the ball an even amount, with 37% of the game spent on either wing and 26% in the centre.
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Since establishing his name as one of the first on Pochettino’s team sheet, Sissoko has featured 13 times as either a central or defensive midfielder, and is expected to line up once more on the right of a diamond on Sunday.
Should that be the case, the 29-year-old will be pivotal to his side’s success as he will have to support whoever is fielded at right-back, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer likely to continue favouring the left wing against the Lilywhites.
He’ll also need to adapt his individual game plan, as the former Newcastle midfielder will not be able to push forward as much as he may like, and be prepared to quickly snatch possession back when he’s dragged out wide.
It’s safe to say that Sissoko has been a divisive figure since moving to North London in 2016, but the 55-cap France international is beginning to change opinions with the performances he is consistently delivering.
In his combined 16 appearances in the Premier League this season, only two of which have been as a substitute, the 6 foot 2 midfielder has regularly delivered a WhoScored match rating in excess of 7.0, and only once dipped below a 6.0.
Sissoko has also contributed 18 tackles, ten interceptions, and 738 passes in the Premier League for Spurs this season. It’s been a remarkable turnaround for a player who most fans wanted out of the club at the start of last summer.