80 Interceptions, 158 Clearances – Stats Show This Manchester United Defender Is Better Than His Liverpool Counterpart

United haven’t had the best of the season, this time, the team continuously failed to impress their fans. The injuries may have a played a dominant role for this but the players inconsistency and manager’s ‘Philosophy’ have also led them down through their own hands. The side is struggling to score the goals where on the other hand, have set a record of conceding very less number of goals i.e 7 (at home).

Chris Smalling is the player, who has developed and has got much better with the age. Manchester United had many problems at the back due to injury but this player has been consistent even when his defensive partners were changing very frequently. This is not an easy job by the way to play with a deferent player every week but this player played his job with perfection.

Undoubtedly, De Gea is stealing all the headlines in Manchester but, Smalling too deserves his praise. The goals United have conceded this season haven’t been Smalling’s mistakes most of the time. Smalling defends the middle of the box, the place which is the most likely destination for the crosses. He has played a major role in United’s conquest of the 4th spot.

Dejan Lovren who arrived from Southampton in July 2014 for a £20 million fee struggled a lot during his tenure under Brendan Rodgers. The Croatian was very tight and tough while playing with Southampton but hit the rock bottom under Rodgers. But his fate was changed completely by the German Manager Jurgen Klopp. He  has emerged as one of the success stories of Jurgen Klopp‘s reign at Liverpool so far.

Here we compare and will try to figure out who amongst both have had a better 2015-16 season.

Smalling Vs Lovren-

Lovren had a cagey start in the initial stages of the league but Smalling, on the other hand, has been a regular starter for the team. Smalling has appeared in 28 games for United in the premier league whereas Lovren has just 20 appearances to his name in the competition. Both the defenders are tough and are difficult to beat but someone has to be a winner.

Chris Smalling has won 37 tackles this season with a success rate of 49%. He has made 80 interceptions, 158 clearances and 17 blocks this season and on the other hand, Lovren has won 23 tackles this season with a success rate of 43%. He has made 31 interceptions, 133 clearances and 11 blocks. Though Lovren made fewer appearances than Smalling, he gave him a tough competition in terms of clearances and blocking.

Talking about the average of duels won, being a regular starter Smalling had won just 51% of his duels. He got a complete success in his 85 out of 141 headed challenges. Lovren, on the other hand, has completely got the better of this English defenders in terms of the stat where he mastered in 65 out of his 81 headed duels and completes an average of 61% of duels won.

Talking about the Defensive actions in the games, Smalling averages 9 defensive actions per game which is an exact number he shares with his competitor Dejan Lovren.

Taking into the consideration about Average passes in the game, Smalling averages about 82% of the passing accuracy which completely out-casted Lovern’s 84%. But talking about the number of passes they had then, Smalling wins the battle by a greater margin in which he has completed 986 passes in this season’s premier league and Lovren has completed just 662 but then again, Lovren played fewer games than Smalling.

Smalling, this season has 1 assist to his name and Lovren has none. But if we talk about the number of key passes, then the Croatian has created 8 chances for his team and Smalling has 6 in which one was the goal.

Lovren has been perfect after the arrival of Klopp but Smalling showed his importance in his struggling United side and are giving each other a run for the money. Smalling has been an integral part of the team and Lovren, on the other hand, is still in the stage of improvement. Talking statistically, Smalling is the winner but then again, if Lovren had the same playing time as Smalling, he could have outcasted the Englishman very easily.

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Written by Swapnil Bhopatkar

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