Home ยป Inside Aaron Wan Bissaka’s incredible comeback season

Inside Aaron Wan Bissaka’s incredible comeback season

by David Abraham

The start of the 2022/2023 season was anything but promising for Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

After having been displaced in the Manchester United starting line-up by Digeo Dalot and omitted from England’s World Cup squad, Wan-Bissaka was effectively a forgotten man.

Often criticised, sometimes unfairly, for lapses in concentration and for being poor on the ball, many fans and pundits agreed that he would quickly be moved on by Erik ten Hag, whose preferred system relies on defenders being able to play the ball out from the back.

As it turns out, Wan-Bissaka got his chance and when it came he grabbed it with both hands, delivering stellar performance after stellar performance.

Looking back at his season, he has made a great case for Erik ten Hag to keep him around as United’s first choice right back or as a backup if the club brings in another.

Wan-Bissaka has always been decent at one-on-one duels while being somewhat deficient in other aspects of defending. This season, he’s ironed out some of those kinks in his game.

Playing a total of 19 Premier League games, he contributed to seven out of United’s 17 clean sheets, which was the highest for any Premier League team.

Wan Bissaka’s individual contributions to this impressive record can be seen from his 1.2 interceptions and 2.1 tackles per game. He also made zero errors that led to shots or goals, and remarkably, for a player who loves to tackle, he conceded zero penalties. He also retrieved possession for his team a whopping 72 times in the Premier League.

Passing-wise, the former Crystal Palace man had an xA (expected assists) of 0.94, showing that he gets into dangerous areas with reasonable frequency for a full back. Overall, he had a passing accuracy of 84% across the season, with a total of 244 forward passes.

Offensively, he has much room for improvement, but the signs are positive, with an xG of 1.18 which is relatively decent – higher than Luke Shaw’s 1.11, Kyle Walker’s 0.4, and Kieran Trippier’s 0.87, for example, but much less than Trent Alexander Arnold’s 2.37.

If Erik ten Hag decides to keep Wan-Bissaka, United fans will hope that he keeps up his elite defending and competent passing, while adding more to his attacking game.

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