McCarthy v Fellaini: There's only one way for Everton's midfielder to play

James McCarthy Everton

Everton and Manchester United lock horns this weekend, with each team hunting points for different reasons.

This weekend’s game between Everton and Manchester United will signal another match at his old club for United star Marouane Fellaini and he’s likely to go up against a very good player in the form of James McCarthy.

Fellaini and Everton have moved on from the frustration that was vented towards him last season, but the Belgian may feel as though he’s got a point to prove after United lost this fixture last year.

One of Fellaini’s greatest strength is his presence and the way he uses his body to bully opponents and the stats from each player over this season suggest that McCarthy could struggle if he looks to get involved in a physical duel.

  PositionTeamGoalsPassing AccuracyWon Tackles Per GameInterceptions Won Per GameDuels Won Per GameAppearancesMins Played
Marouane Fellaini MF Man Utd 5 85% 2 0.95 8.09 22 1,497
James McCarthy MF Everton 1 87% 1.91 1.61 5.52 23 1,953

Where he is ahead is in terms of interceptions, which shows he’s got a better ability to read the game.

United may choose to push Fellaini further forward and play direct football, but if Fellaini drops into midfield, McCarthy can win this key battle by simply getting into positions where he can intercept and stop him from having any impact on the game.

McCarthy is also slightly ahead in terms of his passing accuracy from this season, which shows that he’s been slightly better in terms of distributing the ball.

Another way that Everton can nullify Fellaini’s threat without having to engage in a direct physical battle is by starving him of the ball and the best way to do that is protect possession and pass sensibly.

Whoever can dominate in the game should go a long way towards helping their side to a win.

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