Baines v Buttner: No contest? Think again...

Manchester United should not give up on Dutchman despite errors.

For all Manchester United's riches, a look at the line-ups between the two teams yesterday showed one clear advantage for the home side.

The Toffees' full-backs of Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman are far more accomplished than Alexander Buttner, and Chris Smalling, who lined up for the Red Devils.

Buttner was caught out of position for Everton's second goal, playing Kevin Mirallas onside who doubled an advantage from which the visitors had yet to recover.

Leighton Baines had of course put Roberto Martinez' side up from the penalty spot, after Phil Jones had handled inside the box.

We decided to take a look at how the overall games of Baines and Buttner compared yesterday, and see if it showed just why former manager David Moyes attempted to buy the England international last summer.


  TeamEffective ClearanceAerial WonInterception WonWon TackleBlocked Cross
Leighton Baines Everton 8 2 5 4 1
Alexander Büttner Man Utd 3 2 1 6 0

Baines was part of a side which kept a clean sheet, and he certainly played his part. His eight effective clearances were more than any Everton player managed, while his five interceptions were more than any player on the whole pitch, and more than the rest of his fellow defenders managed put together (4). Buttner could also lay claim to a similar shout, he won more tackles than any other player yesterday, and more than his fellow defenders accumulated.


  TeamTotal Att AssistAccurate CrossSuccessful Final Third PassesPass Accuracy %
Alexander Büttner Man Utd 1 1 13 90.48
Leighton Baines Everton 0 1 8 85.11

While it is Baines renowned for his attacking qualities, he did not flourish going forward against United. Of the duo it was the United left-back, Alexander Buttner, who created the only goalscoring opportunity of the pair, while he also completed more passes in the final third. Buttner's pass accuracy of 90 per cent was superior to any Everton defender barring Seamus Coleman, 93 per cent.


  TeamDispossessedDuel LostUnsuccessful Touch
Alexander Büttner Man Utd 1 4 2
Leighton Baines Everton 0 2 1

If those attacking statistics provided encouragement for Alexander Buttner, the above do not. Baines proved far more accomplished and less prone to mistakes, which bore out through Buttner's positioning which led to the second goal. He was also dispossessed and lost more duels than the Everton and England left-back, who kept any negative influence on his team's game to a minimum.

United are expected to bring in a new left-back this summer when Patrice Evra, as expected, departs. Buttner is not the finished article a club like United need if they are to challenge for trophies.

Yet he does have a raw edge about his game which suggests there may be more to come, and United should not give up on him entirely.

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