Rio Ferdinand cast doubt on Daley Blind’s defensive credentials ahead of the clash with Liverpool, saying Benteke “could run around with him on his shoulders,” but the Dutch international put in a classy performance that might have Rio rethinking his pre-match assessment. Then again, Liverpool were dreadful, so perhaps the jury’s still out.
Either way, Blind was United’s Man of the Match yesterday, opening the scoring with a fantastic strike straight off the training ground, as well as preventing a goal at the other end.
Here’s Blind’s game in numbers…
1 completed cross
1 successful aerial dual (also v Benteke)
2 successful tackles (both on Benteke)
88% pass completion
9 clearances (5 with his head, 1 off the line)
1 beautiful goal
Blind has achieved the highest passing accuracy percentage at the club so far this season (91%) and has completed the most passes (274). It looks unlikely that he’ll be dropped anytime soon – and right now he’s doing a great job in his new position.
Tougher tests will come, but he did well against Benteke – the archetypal ‘strong striker’ we associate with the Premier League – and he might turn out to be a far more important player than many expected.
Stats from Squawka.