No clearances; no interceptions: Manchester United's Jonny Evans poor on return

Old Trafford 3

Manchester United won 2-1 against Southampton but Jonny Evans looked very rusty and made little impact.

Manchester United won 2-1 against Southampton on Monday evening in a match they could and perhaps should have lost.

Louis van Gaal's side did not play well, while Ronald Koeman's men can count themselves unlucky, but United are building momentum now and those above them may be fearing that the Dutchman has got it right at just the right time.

If United keep this up over the vital Christmas and New Year period they will have to be called title contenders again, perhaps a year sooner than many expected.  But United still have work to do and their defence continues to raise concerns.

Jonny Evans would not have expected to be cast into the action so soon having taken his place on the bench on Monday, but an injury to Chris Smalling saw the Northern Ireland international thrown on after just 18 minutes; and it is fair to say he did not have the best of games.

As you can see from the Opta statistics below, while his passing accuracy of 86 per cent was impressive, he made few defensive contributions, failing to make any outfield blocks or effective clearances and not winning a single aerial battle or interception. 

  Passing AccuracyOutfield BlocksTackles WonEffective ClearancesDuels WonAerials WonInterceptions WonMins Played
Jonny Evans 86% 0 3 0 6 0 0 72
Marcos Rojo 78% 1 6 9 11 4 7 90

When you compare Evans' performance with his United teammate Marcos Rojo the difference is considerable, with the Argentine proving effective in a number of key areas and significantly outperforming Evans despite featuring for only 18 minutes more.

The United centre-back will have much better games and his rustiness is no surprise given that he has been sidelined for nine matches.  But he will want to do considerably better in the weeks to come or risk a prolonged spell on the bench.

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