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Is this feisty defender the real reason behind Manchester United’s resurgence?

Squawka News
SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 16 Nov 2020, 20:57 IST
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Two games, six points, six goals scored, one conceded, it’s not been a bad week for David Moyes and Manchester United. Many in the media have been quick to point the finger at the Red’s resurgence firmly in the direction of the in-form Danny Welbeck, or maybe the player of the season so farWayne Rooney. Adnan Januzaj is another attacking player who’s been credited with ending the Reds barren run.

Yet despite the aforementioned trio all being superb of late, perhaps it’s a little further down the field where the difference has been made. Rafael’s return from injury has taken a few matches to fully kick in, but now that it has the rewards are obvious. The young full back has completed 90 minutes in the last two games, both of which United have prevailed in of course, where in the defeats to Newcastle and Everton- in particular- it was obvious he was still finding his match fitness, which was no doubt why he was subbed.

The victories over Aston Villa and West Ham highlighted the importance of Rafael to the United side and how his recent form has had an immediate impact on the Reds attacking play. In the last two games the Brazilian has created three chances, which isn’t too shabby for a full back.

In the game at Villa Park last week, Rafael was immense, particularly when it came to clearing the danger and turning defence into attack. Rafael has always been adept at bombing forward- many people claim he’s a winger masquerading as a full back- but his defensive work has improved no end this past year or so and was evident when the Reds won 3-0.

Squawka appTen out of ten when it comes to clearances- not just literally but as a mark out of ten too- tells you it’s own story. For the West Ham game Rafael’s energy knew no bounds and it’s no coincidence Antonio Valencia has enjoyed something of a recent renaissance alongside his South American team mate.
Rafael Heat Map vs West HamRafael Heat Map vs West Ham: PL 2013/14

There’s no doubt Rafael has been a big part of United’s success, not just in the last two games but in their previous league campaign as well. Moyes needs the Brazilian to put his injury problems behind him and show the form that made him so vital for Sir Alex’s last season, then just maybe all this talk of ‘crisis’ and ‘boring football’ can become something of the joke it should be for the champions.

Published 23 Dec 2013, 18:32 IST
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