After our first season ending review for the 2020-21 campaign, where we wrote about David de Gea, it is now time to turn our focus to Victor Lindelof. Man United’s centre-back is next in our look at how the Devils fared throughout the most intense season we have ever seen. There were no trophies won and thus, many things could be learned from it all. Let’s dig in.
Victor Lindelof had played 29 Premier League matches, made five appearances in the Champions League and six in Europa League. He also added two games in the League Cup and three in the FA Cup. That means he amassed a total of 45 appearances across five different competitions. He scored one goal in that 6-2 win against Leeds last December, while adding two assists in all competitions as well. But that was not the most important part of his campaign. Lindelof’s performances in defence were far more important and that is where we had seen some occasional problems.
The Swede has often been named as one of those that should not have a cemented place in the team, as Man United have often struggled in centre-back positions in recent years. This season playing alongside Harry Maguire, he looked much better rather than when he was paired with any other player, which became obvious in the season run-in when England international got injured. Where Lindelof excelled compared to other Premier League centre-backs this season is his passing. He was in the 88th percentile in terms of pass completion percentage, which stood at 91.1. He was also making 3.91 progressive carries per 90 minutes, putting him in the top quarter of all centre-backs. His progressive passes of 2.88 per 90 minutes were also good, but there was an obvious difference in getting big numbers in defensive metrics, such as pressures, tackles and interceptions. Some of that is due to United’s style of play and some of it due to Lindelof’s usually ‘clean game’. That is best encapsulated with the fact Lindelof did not get a single yellow or red card in the Premier League this past season.
Victor Lindelof’s season is not easy to put in numbers, due to the fact he is a centre-back after all and they are not the ideal players to judge solely on numbers. But the so called ‘eye test’ is what has shown us that Man United need to improve in this department. Lindelof has been a good player for the Devils so far, but good is probably not good enough for this team at this stage where improvements are necessary across many different areas for the squad to succeed. Another high class centre-back should arrive to improve Solskjaer’s options, especially since Eric Bailly has been tough to rely on due to his injury record. Maybe that will bring more out of Lindelof, who can be prone to mistakes, something that has troubled Man United fans for a while now. This summer could give us more answers about all of those problems…