Is Leighton Baines' crossing actually an improvement on Patrice Evra's?

How does the Manchester United defender's crossing compare with the Everton defender tipped to replace him?

Everton's Leighton Baines has been consistently linked with a transfer to Manchester United, even before David Moyes took over as manager.

This summer, veteran left-back Patrice Evra had to deal with further questions over his own future due to his new boss' public pursuit of the Evertonian.

The Merseyside club were able to resist the offer for the Englishman, who is regarded as one of the best dead ball specialists in the country.

Evra has made nine Premier League starts this campaign for United, but rumours persist that Moyes will return for his former player in January.

With United basing a lesser percentage of their attacks through the centre than any other team in the division this season, attacking down the flanks is clearly a major part of their game plan.

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So how much, if it all, would adding left-back Leighton Baines ahead of Patrice Evra help their success from the wide areas?

The answer looking at crossing statistics is not greatly. Baines completed just two of 11 crosses against Tottenham at the weekend, one of seven from open play.

Overall this season the Everton man has completed 11 of 55 crosses, which very neatly works out at one in five.

Patrice Evra meanwhile has completed nine crosses, but in less attempts, 31 to be exact, just over one in three attempts.

Baines takes corners and set pieces for Everton, explaining his greater number of attempts, but likewise this also means the penalty box is stacked with more potential targets for him to aim for.

Baines has played one match more than the Manchester United left-back, and presently somewhat surprisingly has zero assists so far this season - Patrice Evra has two in the Premier League, including the vital game-winning cross for Javier Hernandez' late winner against Stoke.

Conversely, the Everton man has done what Evra hasn't done this season, and score - netting two goals, which both came in a thrilling 3-2 win at West Ham.

the goal threat is part of what makes Baines an attractive option, but if David Moyes or United fans were hoping to see a big statistical advancement from a creative point of view as to why they should bid towards the £20 million Everton would want, so far this season the man in demand has not provided it.

Who would you rather United have, Leighton Baines or Patrice Evra?

image: © wonker

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