Manchester United’s season has ended and amid all the transfer speculations and rumour mills, it is time to take a step back and reflect on the season behind us. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team did not manage to put themselves into a position where they could fight for a trophy, since the team stopped at semifinal hurdles in all three cup competitions it competed in. Still, there was a good third place finish in the Premier League.
So we decided to take a look at all players Man United had signed in this past season and evaluate how they fared throughout the campaign. The first one we will start with is Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka made 35 appearances in the Premier League in his debut season at the club, 34 of which were starting spots in Solskjaer’s lineups. It amounted to 3102 minutes on the pitch and Wan-Bissaka ended the campaign with four assists. Before the season started, there was a lot of talk about Wan-Bissaka’s defensive abilities and offensive issues, but things were not that simple after all.
Defensively, obviously, things were really, really good. Wan-Bissaka made the most tackles in the whole leage and he won 61.6 percent of them. A simple number of tackles is not an ideal measure and it does not have to be a positive thing to have many tackles, especially for a side like Man United. But at his part of defensive work, Wan-Bissaka was energetic and diligent and that is worth something.
Offensively, Wan-Bissaka was 19th in the league in number of carries of the ball forwards. He ended up ahead of players like Granit Xhaka, Ruben Neves and Ben Chilwell.
Where Wan-Bissaka did show that he is not as used to doing some of the attacking work, it was his crossing. He made 102 crosses across the entire season and that is neither good nor bad. Some teams might put more emphasis on crossing too much and some might do the opposite. But this does imply that Wan-Bissaka was not that often eager to put the final ball in, with Trent Alexander-Arnold, for example, putting in more than a three-and-a-half time more crosses. Liverpool right-back is simply much better in that area, but Liverpool are also much better in exploiting the qualities their full-backs have.
What also confirms these claims is that Man United right-back made just six goal creating chances, per FBref. That is as many as Newcastle United’s left-back Jetro Willems made, but he played almost half as many minutes Wan-Bissaka had under his belt. And Newcastle are not exactly a swashbuckling side.
Overall, this was a really good debut season for Wan-Bissaka. There were a lot of suspicions about his attacking play and whilst it is far from perfect, it is not that bad. If Man United continue evolving and improving across the next few seasons, then Wan-Bissaka might evolve himself in that area of the game.
His defensive qualities really showed, especially in some matches he played against the ‘big six’ sides. But adding that attacking quality could put him on a whole other level.