5 headers, 5 tackles: Unlikely United star Marouane Fellaini proves key in weekend win over Arsenal

Fellaini

Marouane Fellaini impressed with his most recent display against Arsenal.

Despite receiving criticism for poor displays in his early days as a Manchester United player, Marouane Fellaini is becoming increasingly important to the Old Trafford outfit.

Having arrived from Everton for £27.5million during David Moyes' spell in charge, he became somewhat of a scapegoat for the Scot's regime. Widely regarded as an expensive flop, many expected the lanky Beligian to be shifted upon the arrival of Louis van Gaal in the summer.

Nonetheless, he has been ever present for the Dutchman in recent weeks, with his performances proving integral to the Red Devils' encouraging form.

The club's most recent Premier League outing saw them take on Arsene Wenger's Arsenal, for whom a win was expected. Nonetheless, an injury-stricken United side defied the odds, travelling home with the majority share of the points. 

  TeamTotal ShotsShot Acc (%)Total PassesPass Acc (%)Aerial WonTacklesInterceptMins
Marouane Fellaini Man Utd 2 50% 39 85% 5 4 1 90

Fellaini found himself overrun in central midfield during Arsenal's early period of dominance but his strong presence, particularly aerially, became vital as United found their way in the match. He won five (of eight) attempted headers, while winning an impressive five tackles. 

The Belgian failed to put pressure on the ball during his initial struggles, which exposed his defence to continual attack in the first half. Nonetheless, he became steadier in the second period. At full-time he had weighed in with one interception, one block and five clearances. 

He proved responsible for springing a number of United counter-attacks. He started the move for the Red Devils' decisive second goal, playing a perfectly weighted through-ball to Angel Di Maria, who then slotted Wayne Rooney in to finish. Furthermore, he impressed with his overall passing game, completing 85% of his attempts to find a team-mate.  

To round-off an influential performance, he posed a threat on goal himself, managing two shots in total, one of which hit the target. 

Despite a slow start against Arsenal, he eventually showed the elements of his game play which make him such a threat. If he can improve the consistency of his performances, he has the makings to become a key player for Louis van Gaal's side.

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch