Ander Herrera produced an excellent display during Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Stoke City in the Premier League on Sunday.
The Spaniard, deployed in a holding midfield role, provided energy, assurance and enterprise all afternoon, acting as a potent springboard for attacking movements.
His stats shed light on what was a domineering performance: 4 shots, 89% passing accuracy, 1 chance created, 4 crosses, 2 take ons, 7 interceptions, 5 clearances, 1 block.
Herrera was simply everywhere against Mark Hughes’ side: starting attacking moves, chasing wingers down, defending corners, making vital interceptions – the 27-year-old was unyielding in his approach. For a side programmed to attack with vigour and purpose under Jose Mourinho, the presence of Herrera at the base of midfield is fitting. Like Michael Carrick, he offers control and solidity, but Herrera monumentally exceeds the Englishman when it comes to providing attacking stimulus and purpose going forward.
The draw to Stoke will, thanks to Joe Allen’s late, unexpected equaliser, be remembered for a failure to capitalise on numerous chances. Failing to beat an ailing Stoke side is, of course, galling, but United fans ought to be encouraged by the constant momentum generated by Herrera at the axis of the side’s midfield.
On another day, one suspects the numerous chances that stemmed from the Spaniard’s dynamism and aggression would have been converted into an emphatic result.