Raphael Varane’s insanely impressive numbers in the current Premier League season when compared to other centre-backs prove that Manchester United cannot afford to drop him at all.
During United’s Anfield trip against Liverpool that ended in a goalless draw, Varane was crowned man-of-the-match for his rock-solid defensive display and rightly so.
Alongside Jonny Evans, the Frenchman was superb and helped his side get over the line vs. Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Varane won almost every single cross that flew into the box, came up with a number of hugely important blocks and kept the Liverpool attackers at bay.
Even more impressive was his towering leadership at the heart of United’s backline. He could be seen constantly issuing instructions to his teammates who always seemed keen to oblige.
Varane’s contributions at Anfield were not lost on Erik ten Hag who lauded the World Cup winner for his fantastic performance.
In a number of games before the matches against Liverpool and Bayern Munich, Varane seemed to have fallen down the pecking order.
Ten Hag appeared to prefer a centre-back partnership of Harry Maguire and Evans. The latter’s injury saw Victor Lindelof and even Luke Shaw start in fixtures ahead of the more accomplished, decorated and distinguished Varane.
However, against Liverpool, Varane reminded everyone of his class and why he is simply United’s best defender when fit.
His stats when compared to rival players who ply their trade in the same position suggest that he should undoubtedly be one of the first names on the team sheet when Ten Hag is deciding on who to field.
In terms of aerial duels won in the Premier League this term, Varane ranks in first position – he’s in the 100th percentile. That is, no other centre-back has won more aerial challenges than the United number 19. He has also won more aerial challenges than anyone else in Europe.
The same is also true with regard to interceptions – no other Premier League centre-half has made more interceptions than Varane.
In the passes to the penalty area metric, Varane has so far outdone all his competitors. In this measure, he is also second to none!
Only two other central defenders have managed to make more progressive passes than the 30-year-old man. Under this, he falls in the 98th percentile.
In successfully executing defensive actions, the four-time Champions League winner comes in at fourth position and the 92nd percentile.
He is in the 69th percentile, 83rd percentile and 62nd percentile respectively for passes completed, accuracy of forward passes made and progressive passes – significantly higher than the average point in England’s top flight.
Varane has won the fifth most defensive duels in the Premier League.
🇫🇷 Raphaël Varane (2023/24)
📊 vs Premier League CBs, per 90
🥇 Aerial duels won % – 1st*
🥇 Interceptions – 1st
🥇 Pass to penalty area % – 1st
🥉 Progressive runs – 3rd
4⃣ Successful defensive actions – 4th
5⃣ Defensive duels won % – 5th
(*) Also first in the Top 7 European… pic.twitter.com/6sECtn1Yz1
— DataMB (@DataMB_) December 19, 2023
These numbers are based on the 495 passes the United star has accumulated under his belt so far in the 2023/24 campaign.