Home » Season Review: Luke Shaw is exhibiting the versatility that Man United’s defence needs

Season Review: Luke Shaw is exhibiting the versatility that Man United’s defence needs

by Mathew Cohen

The 2022/23 season was a promising one for Luke Shaw. In addition to proving yet again why he is Manchester United’s left back of choice, the 27 year old also revealed his versatility, holding down the fort in central defence to pull Man United through an injury crisis.

Throughout his entire Premier League campaign, Shaw was a reliabile choice at left back, winning 56% of his total duels and 61% of those in the air.

The 27 year old made just two errors that led to shots all season, while he did not make a single error that directly resulted in a goal for the opposition. (stats from Sofascore).

Over the course of his Premier League campaign, Shaw made 36 interceptions, the second most in the team and just one behind frontrunner Diogo Dalot. He also proved to be comfortable on the ball, with an 86% pass accuracy. (Stats via The Athletic)

While he certainly displayed his defensive prowess, the England international proved to be effective on the attack as well. He logged a passing accuracy of 77% within the opposition half, picking up two assists and a goal along the way. (stats via Sofascore)

Shaw also bagged two assists in just nine Europa League games, of which just he started just four. (stats via Transfermarkt)

In December, Shaw entered unfamiliar territory. With Lisandro Martinez unavailable following Argentina’s World Cup victory, the 27 year old filled in at center back alongside Rafael Varane. He ultimately rose to the occasion, keeping a clean sheet in a 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest before repeating this feat in a 1-0 triumph over Wolves.

A month later, it was up to Shaw and Varane to shut out Manchester City during their visit to Old Trafford. Shaw did not disappoint, limiting Erling Haaland to just nineteen touches of the ball and getting United over the line in a crucial 2-1 win.

While he would soon revert back to his natural position at left back, April would see Shaw shift back into central defence as United entered crisis mode.

With both Martinez and Varane injured, it was up to Shaw and Victor Lindelöf to hold down the fort.

Although the Red Devils endured a frustrating 2-2 draw against Tottenham Hotspur, Shaw made all the difference in United’s subsequent match – a 1-0 victory over the high-flying Aston Villa.

In addition to taking 100 touches, Shaw logged a 93% pass accuracy while completing nine of 13 final third passes. He also won three out of four ground duels.

Most importantly, Shaw turned up when United needed him most. He won three out of four duels at center back to help the Red Devils shut out Brighton’s attack during their FA Cup semi-final victory (stat via Sofascore) while delivering an assist from left back during the 2-0 Carabao Cup final victory over Newcastle United. (Stat via Transfermarkt)

While United may be in need of new talent in several key areas this transfer window, it’s safe to say that their defence remains in good hands as long as Shaw is around.

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