Three key areas Fellaini was already outperforming Manchester United's midfielders

Why new Manchester United signing Marouane Fellaini will be an improvement at Manchester United.

You may think that after crying out for a midfielder, when Manchester United splash out £20 million plus on a proven Premier League performer that fans would finally be happy.

And some are. But not all are convinced that Fellaini is of the calibre for United to get back to dominating in Europe, and the true test of that will only be seen on the pitch in the months and years to come.

Belgian midfielder Fellaini has featured in all three of Everton's games so far, prior to his move, making two appearances from a defensive midfield position and one in an attacking role.

We took a look at his early statistics, and examined how they measured up against his new United teammates. Admittedly this is a small and limited sample size of three matches, with United facing more difficult fixtures in Swansea, Chelsea and Liverpool, than Everton's matches against Norwich, West Brom and Cardiff.

Nonetheless they offer a glimpse of Fellaini's qualities, and the level at which he was performing in those matches, and why any negativity surrounding his arrival should be dispelled and he should be given a chance.

Shots per game

Fellaini may not have opened his Premier League account as yet, but it is not for the want of trying. In his opening matches Fellaini has had five efforts on goal, an average of 1.7 shots per game. His new Manchester United midfielders are far more goalshy, Tom Cleverley who has started every game has had just two shots on goal (0.7 per game), while Michael Carrick is yet to have a single effort. Even United's wingers, Nani, Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia have mustered just two between them. Ryan Giggs has had two efforts on goal in his time on the pitch, two starts and one substitute appearance.

Passing accuracy

Perhaps the most surprising statistic is that Fellaini's passing accuracy in his opening three games exceeds any of United's starters. This is a testament to Roberto Martinez' tactics at Everton, which have seen the team placed third in passing accuracy overall, with United in seventh. Fellaini himself has completed 89.1 per cent of his passes. This compares favourably with United's ever-presents, Michael Carrick (85.7 per cent) and Tom Cleverley (87.5 per cent). Fellaini has also made three key passes leading to goalscoring opportunities, while Carrick and Cleverley have made two each.

Aerial duels won

This one is not so surprising. Marouane Fellaini won more aerial duels in his matches than any United midfielder. Fellaini has won six per game, 18 in total, losing just two of the 20 he has contested. That's more headers won than Nemanja Vidic (9) and Rio Ferdinand (8) put together. Michael Carrick has won just three, one per game against Fellaini' six, while Tom Cleverley has won one aerial duel out of four contested, at an average of 0.3 per game. Clearly Fellaini will add a physical presence United cannot provide in midfield, and this can also surely lead into a goal threat, either directly or in the way of knock-downs to striker Robin van Persie.

Are you excited about Fellaini playing for Manchester United? How good can he be?

image: © nicksarebi

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