This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
After arriving in a £80m deal from Leicester in the summer, Manchester United may have expected Harry Maguire to take charge of the club’s leaky back-line. The Red Devils after all had conceded a disappointing 54 goals in the Premier League last season, with only West Ham letting in more in the entire top ten (55).
Unfortunately for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, things haven’t been plain sailing for the England international, and he has encountered his struggles in his debut campaign for the club. A look at his stats earlier in November showed that he was performing worse this year than he did in his final season at Leicester, and he also came under criticism from sections of the United support for his performance against Tottenham in mid-week.
But in arguably one of his most impressive displays in a United shirt to date, Maguire led by example at the back in their 2-1 derby day triumph over Manchester City on late Saturday afternoon. It was a performance that reminded everyone just what he is capable of producing, and proved exactly why the Red Devils were prepared to shell out big-money to sign him.
As per Sofascore, his 7.4 match rating was only bettered by his centre-back partner who received a 7.5. And when looking at Maguire’s underlying numbers in that game, it is easy to see why he was rated so highly. The 6 foot 4 powerhouse took no prisoners with his approach, and perhaps realised that his style of play needed to be altered against City.
In other instances where he may have fancied his chances of coming out from the back, or simply taken more risks with the ball at his feet, the former Leicester man played it safe and sound for the greater good of his team. He made a game-high ten clearances, and followed that up with a joint team-high of three interceptions too. It was a commanding display that showed off his leadership credentials, as he set the tone for a truly impressive defensive performance from United – they let the home side have just five shots on target in the whole game.
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If Maguire can use his performance against City as the benchmark for future performances, then the Red Devils will surely now begin to see the best of their £80m man now.