After our David De Gea piece and how he fared this season, our player season review is going forwards and next up is Victor Lindelof. After we delved into the brilliance of Manchester United’s number 1, the Swedish centre-back is the player who brought mixed feelings to the fans. His season had some positives and some negatives, so let’s get started.
What Do The Numbers Say?
After coming to Manchester from Benfica in a deal worth £31.5m, plenty was expected of Victor Lindelof. His last season in Portugal was a good one, as he played in Champions League quarterfinals and also won the league title, but his first year in England was far from easy. In all competitions, Lindelof made 29 appearances. They came through five different competitions, as the Swede also played his part in the UEFA Super Cup against Real Madrid.
But his overall season has not been a good one. When a club pays that much money for a centre-back, then it is expected of the player to make bigger difference than the one Lindelof made. He only made 13 starts in Premier League, getting more playing time in Champions League. Sides like CSKA and Benfica were the ones where he had played well, but overall he looked unaccustomed to the new surroundings and the new league. Just 2361 minutes of football this season is not much, while his 1.00 interceptions per 90 in league and Champions League is decent.
Was He An Important Player For The Club?
No, Victor Lindelof was a squad player in his first season at the club. He was brought in to make things hard for Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, but due to Eric Bailly’s injuries, it was exactly the two Englishmen that played most football of all centre-backs. At the end of the season, it was obvious why the media were feeling like neither Jones nor Smalling should be starting centre-backs in a team chasing the biggest trophies.
And when you know that Lindelof was always behind them in the pecking order, then it is obvious that he was not that important for the results United had this term. Between the four main centre-backs, they played 6785 minutes of Premier League football, but Lindelof only spent on the pitch 18.92% of that time. That is less than one fifth and only Bailly had played less, due to his injury that kept him away from the pitch for a long period.
Projection For The 2018-19 Season
It will be interesting to see how things will turn out for the Swede. This was not a good first season in English football, but far better players also needed time to adjust to Premier League. It will also be interesting to see how many centre-backs will Mourinho and the club bring in and where that will be put Lindelof. My take is that Lindelof will play a little bit more than this season, mostly because Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are expected to have smaller roles next term, or even leave the club.