Sunday 17 December 2017

Surprise statistics show that Ander Herrera has been as productive as N'Golo Kante this season

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 23: Manchester United's Ander Herrera and Chelsea's Ngolo Kante during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on October 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 23: Manchester United's Ander Herrera and Chelsea's Ngolo Kante during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on October 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante may have been crowned as PFA Player of the Year on Sunday, but an intriguing set of statistics suggest that Manchester United’s Ander Herrera has enjoyed an even more productive season in the heart of the midfield battle.

Kante’s committed performances helped Leicester to the most improbable Premier League title win ever and he has continued his impressive form since a summer move to Chelsea, but United manager Jose Mourinho will not have overlooked the impressive season that has been put together by his own midfield terrier.

Herrera’s outstanding display as he nullified the threat of Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard in United’s 2-0 win against the Premier League champions-elect at Old Trafford earlier this month highlighted the impact the Spanish midfielder can have when he is at his best.

So far this season, Herrera has made 24 Premier League starts for United and yet the numbers he has generated stack up favourably compared to Kante, who has made eight more appearances, having started 32 games for Chelsea so far.

Herrera has created 35 scoring chances for his United team-mates, with Kante producing just 18 in comparison. He has also completed 12 more key passes according to the Premier League’s statistics.

The United man also comes out on top in the key area of assists, with Herrera setting up six goals for his team-mates and Kante managing just one in the Premier League this season.

Surprisingly, Herrera has made more interceptions than the hard-working Kante, with the United man halting his opponents in their tracks on 79 occasions compared to the 74 intercepts notched up by Chelsea’s France midfielder.

Kante is just ahead of Herrera when it comes to touches on the ball, with the extra games he has played allowing him to edge that battle (2474 vs 2382), with the United midfielder’s 36 shots on goal nine more than the total his rival has managed at Chelsea.

Kante has also committed more fouls than Herrera (52 vs 43) and when it comes to an average shot per game rating for the duo, it is the United man who comes out ahead once more with an average of 1.4 efforts per game compared to 0.8 from Chelsea’s star man.

While statistics rarely give a full picture of a Premier League campaign, they can offer an interesting talking point or two and these figures appear to confirm that Herrera has been just as effective for United as Kante has been for Chelsea so far this season.

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