Stats - Five ways Marouane Fellaini can hurt Crystal Palace

Marouane Fellaini

Manchester United boss David Moyes is likely to hand Marouane Fellaini his debut for the club tomorrow.

Fellaini completed a £27.5 million move to Old Trafford on the final day of the summer transfer window and he will soon have his first chance to prove he’s worth that hefty fee.

It’s unclear over how Moyes is going to use the Belgian midfielder but there are plenty of ways he can hurt Crystal Palace regardless of whether he plays an attacking or defensive role.

Here are five areas where he could hurt Palace.

Tackles

There will be spells where Crystal Palace have a little bit of possession and Fellaini’s ability to break up the play will be useful.

Based on his Premier League appearances so far this season, he’s making 4.3 successful tackles per game on average.

That will make it more difficult for Palace to build any momentum when they do win the ball back following a Manchester United attack.

Aerially

He’s winning a big number of aerial duels per game; roughly six per match on average so far this season.

That will be useful at both ends of the pitch because if Palace try to attack United with set pieces, that aerial ability combined with 5.3 key clearances per game makes him a formidable defensive unit.

It also makes him a threat from set pieces United win around the Palace penalty area and also from corners.

Passing

United are going to need to be patient at times during the game as they build up attacks and look for a way through a defence which is likely to camp in front of goal.

Fellaini has a successful passing rate this season of 89.1% which shows he rarely gives the ball away which is vital as United will look to maintain pressure over Palace to get any sort of opening and half chance.

Long Balls

Regardless of the fact United are expected to dominate the game against Palace, there will be situations where an instinctive long ball could make the difference and net the Premier League champions a goal.

Fellaini’s size and presence means he will be in the heart of the action as United look to stop any attacks Palace put together and an average of 4.3 long balls per game finding their target means he could play one pass which sets up an attack within seconds.

Possession

The fact he’s only dispossessed three times per game on average also shows how effective he is retaining possession.

That ties in with the point about his effective passing and means when he’s in Palace’s final third, it only increases United’s chances that the ball will stay in that area of the pitch.

Where do you think he’ll hurt Palace the most?

image: © nicksarebi

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