Marouane Fellaini treated Manchester United supporters to a wonderfully solid display during their side’s 2-0 win over Burnley in the Premier League on Sunday.
The Belgian, initially left on the bench against Anderlecht last Thursday, was included from the start in the wake of a strong performance in midfield after coming on against Rene Weiler’s men with an hour gone.
And he was something of a thorn in Burnley’s side all afternoon, marauding across the pitch bullying midfielders and comfortably dealing with any aerial threat that came his way.
His numbers from the game shed light on what was a commanding display from the 29-year-old.
Fellaini's game by numbers vs. Burnley:
7 aerial duels won
33% tackles won
90% pass accuracy
Belgian wall. pic.twitter.com/N7rLxtyUJF
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) April 23, 2017
Sean Dyche would have wanted to inflict the full force of his side’s aerial threat on the diminutive Daley Blind by playing two up top and, in true Burnley fashion, launching the ball forward as much as possible.
But Mourinho would have predicted this some time ago and responded diligently by charging Fellaini with the responsibility of picking up Ashley Barnes at every turn. This left Blind and Eric Bailly with just one striker – Andre Grey – to contend with, notably stultifying the threat posed by Burnley in the air.
People will remember the job Ander Herrera did on Eden Hazard for much longer than Fellaini on Barnes, but it was a job nonetheless, and one the Belgian carried out to perfection.