Victor Lindelof produced another classy and composed performance at the back as Manchester United beat Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 at Old Trafford.
The Swede’s stock among supporters has skyrocketed this season amid a series of elegant displays on the left side of central defence.
And his showing against Brighton was no different: positionally astute, precise with his challenges, confident carrying the ball.
Lindelof’s numbers from the game reflect just how commanding his influence was against Chris Hughton’s side.
‘We’ve finally got a proper centre back!’
That is an utterance Man United supporters have often used in response to Lindelof’s performances this season.
The same thing was said about the following: Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, Eric Bailly, Daley Blind, and even Paddy McNair.
In other words: we should not jump the gun here.
And yet, at the same time, maybe we should get a bit excited about Lindelof. There is something different about the Swede compared to defenders past – most notably the way he treats the ball.
His ability to bring the ball into midfield, coupled with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s emphasis on moving play quickly through the middle, constitutes a vital step towards United embracing an outlook more compatible with today’s game.
Such ability with the ball was always there for Lindelof. That he has now added an element of aggression – perhaps even nastiness – to his game, along with an improved positional game, is evidence of the defender starting to truly embrace life in the Premier League.