EPL 2016/17: Top 5 defensive midfielders ranked
Comparing the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League in 2016/17.
#4 Ander Herrera – Manchester United
Ander Herrera has been a revelation at Manchester United this season under Jose Mourinho in his more defensive role as the ball winner in the middle of the park. Herrera is the standout leader of this list when it comes to interceptions per game – he averages 3 interceptions a game – which is the 2nd best in the Premier League.
This highlights how superior Herrera’s reading of the game is. Out of 22 appearances, the Spaniard averages 3 tackles, 1.9 clearances and 0.27 blocks a game. However, he concedes 1.7 fouls per game and gets dribbled past two times every game. These are two areas which could improve, especially considering how his red card against Chelsea in the FA Cup recently affected his team.
Herrera has performed well enough in big games as well. Against Liverpool in October, Herrera made 11 interceptions in that one game itself - the highest any player has managed to accumulate in a single game in the Premier League this season.
11 – Ander Herrera made 11 interceptions vs Liverpool; the most of any player in a Premier League game this season. Protector. pic.twitter.com/4FP1AxM0bn— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) 17 October 2016
Herrera’s transformation has been one of the few positives for Manchester United this season apart from Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s goals and their Carling Cup win, but they find themselves in 6th position behind their rivals.
That being said, Herrera needs to step it up a notch to become the best in the Premier League and he certainly has the talent to get there. But he must be cautious about red cards as this stat reveals.
2 - Ander Herrera has been responsible for two of Man Utd's three red cards in all competitions this season. Off.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) 13 March 2017