Rojo v Miranda: The one big difference between the players this season

Palacio, Rojo and Aguero Argentina

Comparing Manchester United's new defender with the Atletico Madrid star.

Over the summer, Manchester United were linked with a whole host of possible new defenders.

The departures of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic meant Louis van Gaal needed some quality replacements to supplement the presence of Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, and a player linked more than most was Atletico Madrid's Miranda.

The Brazilian had enjoyed an outstanding season for the La Liga champions, and talk was United were prepared to offer big money to bring him to Old Trafford.  But ultimately the player remained where he was and van Gaal instead moved for Argentina star Marcos Rojo.

So with the international break upon us, how does the new United defender compare with the Atletico man?

It is worth noting that Miranda has played nine domestic matches already this season, while a delay in acquiring a work permit means Rojo has only appeared four times for United.  But the table below looks - for the most part - at the players' average performance per appearance.

Rojo's passing accuracy is considerably better than Miranda's - 87.59 per cent compared with 75.9 per cent - while the United player also averages more interceptions and more clearances per match.

However, the Brazilian makes more than double the amount of tackles per game, commits slightly less fouls and makes more key passes.

  Pass accuracyTackles per gameInterceptions per gameClearances per gameFouls per gameGoalsGoal assistKey passes per gameAppsMins
Marcos Rojo 87.59% 0.75 2.75 5.75 1.00 0 0 0.50 4 360
Miranda  75.9%  2.1  1.3  3.9 0.9  3  1  0.4  9  810

But the one thing Miranda does considerably better than Rojo is score.  

He may be a defender, but the former United target is extremely effective at the opposite end of the field, too.

Miranda already has three goals for Atletico, averaging one every three matches, a record that penty of top flight strikers would be happy with.  He also has one assist, while the United player is yet to have a direct hand in a goal for his side.

So while Rojo is developing a promising partnership with Paddy McNair in the heart of van Gaal's back-line, Miranda is proving just why United were reportedly interested in him last summer, and why Atletico would have been crazy to let him go.

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