Three interceptions, six clearances: Which United star proved to be unexpectedly handy?

Antonio Valencia

Ecuadorian winger Luis Antonio Valencia was superb during Manchester United’s defensive display.

Manchester United manager David Moyes set his team up to contain Bayern Munich in their Champions League quarter-final clash at Old Trafford and attempt to counter with pace.

The game plan worked for long spells, as Manchester United created openings on the break and took the lead midway through the second half. Despite Bayern forcing an equaliser, the 1-1 scoreline was a step in the right direction, and Moyes can be happy with how he set the team up.

Tactically disciplined players such as Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick and Phil Jones were obvious choices in the United Starting XI, though Luis Antonio Valencia constituted a possible gamble and he was arguably David Moyes' joker in the pack.

Fortunately for the Scot, the 28-year-old Ecuadorian winger proved to be quite handy at defending stoutly and remaining disciplined, even dropping back to right-back late on.

Charged with the task of keeping both Bayern Munich stars Franck Ribery and David Alaba intact, Valencia performed admirably, making three interception and six effective clearances – more than any other United midfielder.

Surprisingly, Valencia has been one of Manchester United’s most frustrating players this season, as his ability and speed to create openings is evident for all to see.

In the Premier League, he has failed to deliver previous standards set under former boss Sir Alex Ferguson, and his two goals and two assists all season is arguably his worst return since he first moved to England.

Luckily for Manchester United, however, his rather disregarded dynamic defensive wing play has assured him of another use, and after taking note, Luis Antonio Valencia will surely be one of the first names on the boss' team sheet next week in Munich.

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