2 key passes, 3 dribbles: Antonio Valencia excels in Manchester United's defeat of Liverpool

Antonio Valencia

Manchester United's Antonio Valencia impressed throughout his side's 3-0 victory over Liverpool on Sunday.

Manchester United secured a sixth successive win of the season with a 3-0 victory over arch-rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday. 

Wayne Rooney gave the hosts the lead in the 12th minute, while Juan Mata doubled the advantage five minutes before half time.

Liverpool had a number of chances to pull a goal back and hit the bar through Mario Balotelli, but Robin van Persie sealed the points shortly afterwards with a third goal.

With Louis van Gaal operating a 3-5-2 system, the Dutchman placed particular emphasis on the work-rate of his chosen wide-men; Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia.

The pair were expected to operate up and down their respective flanks throughout the afternoon, assisting in both an attacking and defensive capacity. 

Restored to his former midfield position, and given a licence to play a more advanced role at times, Valencia particularly impressed. The 29-year-old gave an assured attacking display, while preventing Alberto Moreno's exploits for the entirety of the Spaniard's cameo. 

  AssistsChances CreatedTotal PassesPass Accuracy (%)DribblesTacklesInterceptionsClearances
Antonio Valencia 1 2 47 91 3 4 1 3

He picked up the assist for the Red Devils' opening goal, skipping past two Liverpool defenders on the right-flank before supplying the end product with a cross to Wayne Rooney. This was one of two key passes that the Ecuadorian managed throughout 90 minutes.

He weighed in with an impressive defensive shift too, offering the Red Devils' makeshift back-three fantastic protection. Having made five tackles, one interception and three clearances, he cannot be accused of shirking his responsibilities in this department. 

Importantly, Valencia was assured in possession, completing 91.5% of his total attempted passes and a joint team-best three dribbles. He found himself dispossessed on just the one occasion, while drawing two fouls.

Louis van Gaal is in the market for a right winger next summer and the club will undoubtedly be willing to spend big. Nevertheless, if Valencia can continue to impress in this fashion, he could well retain a place in the Dutchman's plans. 

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