Smalling’s colossal performances vs. Leicester in numbers

Manchester United’s 3-0 win at Leicester City’s King Power Stadium has been widely credited to a mix of Jose Mourinho and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The Red Devils were struggling for much of the first half before ‘The Special One’ shifted his Armenian playmaker into a central role (No.10, some may say) and with a goal and assists following for the summer signing, the rest is history.

Mkhitaryan himself has been branded Man of the Match by the majority of outlets since the final whistle sounded in the East Midlands, but is he worthy of that title? There’s no doubt the Eastern European was excellent, but so too was Chris Smalling at the back…

The Englishman’s revival over the course of the past few seasons has been staggering and he put in, arguably, his showing of 2016/17 so far against the Foxes, winning 19 aerial duels and making eleven clearances (both were the highest returns of any player on the pitch), while completing 91% of his 45 passes, touching the ball 71 times and even laying on an assist.

The battle for the top four is closing up, and if Man United can continue to keep it tight, they may just leapfrog above two of Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal and Spurs.