Although Marouane Fellaini was largely seen as one of the better midfielders in the Premier League last season, and was thus rewarded with a big-money move to the English champions, Manchester United, the statistics show that he actually proved unreliable and at times a liability for Everton.
The Belgian powerhouse was deployed more as a central attacking-midfielder last term, but can also play in a more traditional role in the middle of the park.
A statistical study showed, however, that in both of these positions (the 25-year-old was not used as a defensive midfielder throughout last season) severely under-performed for his
apparent value. As an off-the-striker role, Fellaini failed to provide much for those in front of him providing only 1.3 key passes per game. This places him behind 11 different players in this regard in his position, far away from the top play-makers such as Juan Mata, Santi Cazorla and David Silva.
Furthermore, 20 different attacking midfielders beat more players per game last season than Fellaini, proving his lack of creative capability. He also came behind 11 in terms of scoring vital goals, and so can only be perceived as an average attacking midfielder at best. This seems far shy of where he should be if he is to be deployed in this role for Manchester United.
The results analysing Fellaini’s performance as a central-midfielder are even more shocking. Out of the top 38 players evaluated, Fellaini actually came out bottom of the pile, largely
due to his outstandingly poor ability to retain the ball. Fellaini was turned over and dispossessed by opposing players far more than any other centre midfielder last year, and had a below average passing percentage.
In contrast, Manchester United could have found some bargains for central midfielders to solve their current middle of the pitch crisis, if they had looked towards Ashley Westwood
of Aston Villa and Yohan Cabaye.
These two performed far above their market value to compete against the likes of Silva, Mata and Cazorla. Another interesting point was that Tom Cleverley came out of the study far above where some might have thought. He was actually rated fifth amongst all centre-mids, and so David Moyes could be praised for giving him an opportunity.
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