Looking at the seasons Manchester United players, we are getting closer to finishing it all up soon. The turn is now on Matteo Darmian to see how his season panned out and what the future holds for him. It was a season that was expected to look like it did, especially after a not so impressive pre-season.
What do the numbers say?
Matteo Darmian made 16 appearances across four competitions in 2017/18. He made only five Premier League starts and two more substitute appearances, collecting just 444 minutes of play in that competition. His 203 in Champions League came in the group stage, when he made three appearances (two starts), while he also had four starts in the two domestic cups. With less than 700 minutes in Premier League and Champions League combined, it is very hard to assess the numbers behind Darmian’s season.
He was mostly playing at right-back, being used as a back-up for Antonio Valencia who occasionally needed rest. Darmian was decent with defensive numbers, making 3.3 successful tackles per 90 minutes and adding 1.7 interceptions to that. That is exactly 5.00 recoveries made per 90 minutes, which is decent. He was good holding on to the ball, his pass success rate was around 83 percent, but his crossing was not good.
Darmian managed to make just 16.67 percent of accurate crosses, which really is appalling at this level. He managed to make only two successful crosses this season – in PL and UCL combined – which tells quite a story. Where Darmian had good numbers was blocks. The Italian full-back had an average of 3.8 blocks per 90, but he was dribbled past quite unacceptable 1.8 times per 90 minutes. That was something that was obvious whenever he played and it seemed to be a proof that Darmian is not at a level needed from him right now.
Was he an important player for the club?
No, Darmian was not an important player. For someone who plays 647 minutes out of possible 4140 in the two big competitions, he is definitely not someone making a difference. Darmian, to be precise, played just 15.63 percent of available playing time in those two competitions. That tells a story of its own and it is not a surprise that Darmian will not be playing for Manchester United next season. He was making occasional cameos during this campaign, either when Valencia needed rest at right-back, or when Jose Mourinho wanted to prove a point to Luke Shaw and put Darmian ahead of him when Ashley Young was not playing at left-back.
Projection for the 2018-19 season
Projection for the next season is easy from one point of view – he will not be playing for Man United and that is something that has been confirmed. What we still do not know is whether Darmian will really leave for Juventus as it has been reported during previous months or not. With Stephan Lichtschteiner gone to Arsenal this summer window, it is a real possibility for Darmian to be his successor as a backup right-back.
Darmian will definitely want to start and play regularly for his next team, but if he really goes to Juventus, that will be a too big of a task for him.