Manchester United vs Swansea City: Individual Player Statistics 0

And the Louis Van Gaal narrative comes crashing to Earth…

Only the most naive supporters will have believed that Van Gaal’s mere presence in the Old Trafford dug-out would have corrected all of last season’s issues, but Swansea still provided a reality check today: there is still a lot of work - and transfer business - to do.

A word on Swansea, too, because they will inevitably be ignored in the analysis: disciplined, appropriately ambitious and not in any way intimidated by United, Old Trafford or Van Gaal.  Garry Monk’s side may have benefited from facing a blunt opponent, but they played extremely well and, other than Neil Taylor getting knotted up by Adnan Januzaj in the lead-up to the goal, they defended immaculately.

Here are the statistics:

- Tyler Blackett had 97 touches of the ball, more than any other player.  Blackett won’t want to revisit the second goal, as his naive decision to quickly return the ball for a Swansea free-kick allowed the visitors to break quickly.  We shouldn’t applaud cynical play, but had Blackett been a little more savvy in that moment United might well have taken a point.

- Wayne Rooney led the game in shots (6) and shots on-target (3).

- Juan Mata produced 3 key passes, more than any other player.  Mata’s inability to get on the ball in central areas was a manifestation of the lack of cohesion in the United forward line, but that is more than likely just a teething problem related to the new structure.

- Chris Smalling led the game with 7 successful aerial-duels.

- Phil Jones attempted a game-high 4 tackles.

- Phil Jones, Ki Sung-Yeung, and Gylfi Sigurdsson each made a game-high 4 interceptions.  Swansea’s team interceptions are shown in the graphic below (from

Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 14.52.16

- Ashley Williams led the game with 15 defensive-clearances, over double the amount of any other player.

- Juan Mata attempted more crosses than any other player (9).

- Tyler Blackett attempted (18) and completed (13) more long-passes than any other player.

- Adnan Januzaj completed 4 successful dribbles.  It was a measure of how insipid United were with the ball that their only real opportunity - and their only goal - came from Januzaj beating Neil Taylor on the touchline and forcing the corner that Wayne Rooney eventually scored from.  A good moment for the Belgian, but worrying for Louis Van Gaal that his side could actually create anything with their movement or use of the ball.  Typically, that’s a system of players not really fully understanding the system in which they’re playing.

- Adnan Januzaj and Phil Jones were each fouled 4 times, the most in the game.

- Juan Mata was the most dispossessed player in the game. The Spaniard’s distribution is shown below (via

Statistics courtesy of

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