Exactly 12 months ago, Manchester United were about to embark on a new start with Erik Ten Hag already appointed as the new manager, following the odd and short reign of caretaker Ralf Rangnick. The arrival of the Dutch coach from Ajax was a move in the right direction and his first season at the helm proved such expectations to be correct. But his arrival also meant he would bring in men he believed in and he felt could help him in a new league, at a new club. And that was the role Lisandro Martinez got – the Argentine centre-back followed Ten Hag from Amsterdam to Manchester, as the new manager felt he could be vital in slowly turning things around at United. And as the season went on, more and more people realised the importance and qualities of Lisandro Martinez at this new Manchester United side.
Even Jamie Carragher, who was quick to underestimate Martinez to his relative lack of height and eagerness to be aggressive, even he, at one point during the season, had to apologise to the Argentine defender and say he was wrong about saying he will not find his feet in the Premier League. But Martinez did find his feet, even though at first it felt it could be a rocky season for him, considering he played three quarters of those two opening losses to Brentford and Brighton.
Martinez enjoyed a really good first season, so good Man United decided to prepare new deal for him this summer, which is expected to be signed when the team gets together for the tour of the United States. Martinez made a total of 45 appearances, before getting injured this spring, which cut his season short. He made 27 appearances in the Premier League, which included his first ever goal in the red shirt, while adding 10 matches in Europa League, five in the League Cup and three in the FA Cup. And his statistical output did not disappoint either.
He was among the best in the league in terms of successful tackles and blocks per 90 minutes, finishing in the 94th and 95th percentile among all centre-backs in the top five European leagues. He even had a total of 11,12 successful defensive actions per 90 minutes spent on the pitch, which included 4,12 clearances and 2,48 successful tackles. In technical terms, he also brought quality, making 0,53 successful take-ons per 90 minutes, putting him in 9th percentile among centre-backs, showing his ability to beat the press when necessary. He also had 0,93 progressive carries (79th percentile) and 3,96 progressive passes per match (73rd percentile), which are all qualities needed to succeed in Ten Hag’s system.
Hopefully Martinez will be able to replicate his performances and even build on them, as the centre-backs are always a big part of Ten Hag’s teams, not just defensively, but also in starting attacks.