rss twitter facebook mobile

STATS: Season review – The defence

Summary of defensive impact
- Evra (82%), Smalling (80%) and Evans (76%) won the largest proportion of their tackles.
- Ferdinand (74%), Evans (72%) and Vidic (61%) won the largest proportion of ground duels.
- Vidic (67%), Smalling (64%) and Jones/Evra (62%) won the largest proportion of aerial duals.
- Rafael (10 minutes), Evra (11 minutes) and Vidic (11.6 minutes) have the best minutes per challenge rates.
- Rafael (3.1), Evra (2.4) and Evans (1.8) made the most tackles per game.
- Rafael (2.1), Evans (2) and Jones (1.6) made the most interceptions per game.
- Ferdinand, Rafael, Vidic, Jones and Smalling haven’t made any errors that have lead to goals.
- Ferdinand has the best discipline record, with a foul every 332 minutes (5 and a half hours!), followed by Smalling (169 minutes) and Evans (136 minutes).

Ferdinand is the best passer we have in defence with a passing accuracy of 90%. He has the best passing accuracy in his own half (97%) and only Evra (78%) and Evans (77%) have a better passing accuracy in the opposition half. Evans isn’t far behind Rio though. There’s next to nothing between their passing stats this season.

The attacking abilities of our full-backs are also worth noting.

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

View all posts by Scott »



  1. deepit6431 says:

    Evra’s had a fantastic season, offensively. 4 goals and 5 assists is amazing, even considering he played almost every single game.

    Rio’s ball distribution is often overlooked. It’s easy to forget how good the man is at it – one of the best in the world, no doubt.

    He’s also been making those runs into the final third god knows why – but he’s done quite well at it (vs Reading and vs Swansea come to mind.

  2. Bobby Charlton's Combover says:

    Errors that lead to goals is very subjective. I assume the errors mentioned are those like Carricks fuck up against Southampton but most goals are the result of errors; either missed tackles, poor positioning or standing off.

  3. Costas says:

    Evans ahead of Vida and close to Rio in terms of ground duels goes to show how vital he can be to the team.

  4. BerbaGod says:

    I know its just gossip but love the idea of us being linked with Luke Shaw, think he would blow Leighton Baines out of the water and at just 17/18 be the perfect replacement for Pat in the long-term.

  5. AlphaRS says:

    What’s wrong with Fabio or Buttner?

  6. wayne says:

    Rio had a great year good to see he wants to stay instead of selling out for a bigger contract in a shitty league,my respect for him has gone up two fold.I wouldn’t blame him to cash in at the end but all those other players in their prime going to shitty leagues for the big pay check is pathetic
    Myself I like the look of Buttner considering it’s his first year and didn’t get much playing time he’s impressed me

  7. NBI Red Onion says:

    Evra take a bow. All those people who wanted to sell Evra and Rio last season where are you? Saying their legs and form had gone….come out now

  8. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Stats on Buttner?! I credit him with waking Evra up from his slumber. Haven’t had 9 goals from FB in a long while. Most of them really good goals as well! Rafael had a goal of the season candidate to be fair.

    Evra . . . 4 goals in 42 appearances
    Buttner . 2 goals in 13
    Rafael . . 3 goals in 40

  9. wayne says:

    I know a lot of you love Klopp but the guy is a camera whore doing interview after interview,using the CL final as a job interview.I don’t like him,telling Utd to stay away from this player and that player,fuck him.If Utd want one of his players and the player wants out fuck all to do with him,this cunt loves himself .Making the most of the limelight fucking pleased Utd didn’t hire him probably the reason why
    Might be a good coach but he’s a fucking wanker
    Also off topic sorrow for the Army lad getting hacked to death by those cowards cops should have made sure those 2 cunts were stone cold dead.Can’t believe Cameron giving the big speech about how the horrific act will bring everyone together and he’s having to read notes,Winston Churchill he’s not slimy ponce hope you lads get rid of him when you get the chance

  10. BerbaGod says:

    For me Fabio is a right back (that’s his best position) and should only be used as a left back in emergency and I can’t see Buttner ever becoming the number one left back replacing Pat, maybe I’ll be proved wrong but I just can’t see it.

  11. NBI Red Onion says:

    I have to say the amount of abuse Evra had on here by people defending lesser players (he has been here 7 years , been in FIFA X1, was key to our defensive stability and is world class) was appalling, what really amazed me is so few people bothered to defend him.

    Despite Paddy’s loyalty, love for United, being a great player who takes care of himself, first out there to defend the Club, he got about zero loyalty from many fans when he had a dip in form. Why is it that we do not give Vida, Rio and Paddy the respect they deserve as they are a key reason we win things and why do people fall over themselves to defend lesser players and players like Rooney who disrespect the Club. I just don’t understand that. These guys are just treated like meat to be chucked out by too many fan and that is a shame.

  12. FletchTHEMAN says:

    BerbaGod Cheers mate. Haven’t watched much of Shaw, but 25 odd games for Southampton
    this year sounds good for such a young lad.
    Nigel Adkins seemed a fan as well.
    1.85m LB 8O That’s something to take note of !

    Better than Fabio?

  13. NBI Red Onion says:

    @ Fletch – I don’t think Evra was slumbering. He has played about every game for United for 7 years with no cover. Every other player has been rested, he never got rested and he still does not get rested. Carrick gets rested more than Evra.

    His slump came after the world cup when he was clearly mentally and physically drained, look at how much he has played, and there was also the Suarez incident, but if you look at the stats for Evra, even during his slump his offensive play was actually improving and he was beginning to get more shots away and overall he was still a very good player. Also he covers more holes on the pitch than people realise, when his winger is poor he makes the run, he is always there as an outlet for his winger to pass to, when we have inexperienced players at the back he does their job too, his slump also came when Rio and Vida were struggling with injuries and he was not only doing his job but trying to bring some order to a leaking defence with young players lacking positional discipline or help out Carrick who was stuck in defence.

    I don’t think Buttner made the difference so much as him having a summer to rest and refresh himself. Evra is probably the most underrated player we have at United. But thank God we have him, what an example for the youth coming through to learn from.

  14. NBI Red Onion says:

    Shaw is overrated imo and we don’t need him.

  15. NBI Red Onion says:

    Shaw is overrated imo and we don’t need him.

  16. BerbaGod says:

    @ FletchTHEMAN – Yep, he’s highly rated thats for sure, must be something in the water at the Southampton Academy, seem to churn out quality players. Moyes is a fan and has scouted him before looking at him to be Baines replacement. I reckon he’s a better left back than Fabio because he’s left footed which makes a world of difference. Fabio is a quality right back and him and Rafa can tussle to make that position their own next season even though Raf is quite a few streets ahead at the moment.

  17. Costas says:


    Hi pal. Fabio was at QPR and Buttner we best not talk about. :lol:

  18. FletchTHEMAN says:

    NBI Well said mate. Patty has never said a word ott and can usually be counted in for inspired speech when we are up against key rivals. He definitely hates Scousers!

    Small, but don’t ever back down. Rafael as well. :twisted:

  19. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Anyone want to speak up for Lindegaard?

    OOOOKay then ….. glad that debate is done!

  20. wayne says:

    NBI to be fair his dip in form lasted 2 seasons the World Cup fiasco seemed to fuck him up,this is by far the best he’s played in 3 yrs.I’m as loyal as it gets but last season was not a good one for him and I thought he might be done,proven us all wrong.Don’t see why you’re surprised with the lack of loyalty ROM gets full of fickle cunts ready to get rid.Tony V is a prime example was a monster last year and Utd’s player of the year this year one of the most picked on because of his dip in form
    A lot of the newer Utd fans or fans who come on here don’t have any sense of loyalty to the players,you’ve read match day threads it’s fucking ridiculous

  21. kanchelskis says:


    You serious about Buttner? He’s a shambolic defender.

  22. wayne says:

    Young lad in his first year who didn’t get much playing time,no one should be passing judgement

  23. kanchelskis says:


    Again with the liberal interpretation of ‘young’ … he’s 24!

  24. Sparkz says:

    Not many people wanted Evra sold (anyone that did is an idiot). But you still have to call it as you see it – and there’s no 2 ways about it. He had two shocking seasons from 2010-2012.

    Start of this season he was also very poor. But credit to him, he’s picked it up from October and has been excellent. Him and Rio are the two guys we’ve signed in the last decade who really GET the club, if you didn’t know better you’d think they were from our Academy!

    Same goes for Valencia, he’s a very good player and of course he shouldn’t be sold. But you can’t deny he’s had an awful season. Saying that doesn’t make you any less of a fan lol, just call it as you see it

    Buttner has a lot of potential IMO. Prior to the West Brom game, he had a very good 2013, had some great performances.

  25. BerbaGod says:

    Can’t see him ever being more than a ‘squad’ player – but he seems like he’s got a fire in his belly and he’s very proud of being a United player, only time will tell I guess. But I tend to agree with kanchelskis that his defending leaves alot to be desired.

  26. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Breaking news:

    via BBC Red Wednesday

    Rio Ferdinand has signed a one-year contract extension at Manchester United.

  27. wayne says:

    Not being liberal at all very few players are fully deveolped by 24 it’s his first year at a big club and has played very few games needs to be given a chance
    Evans is what 26? And just beginning to deveolp into a top defender how many games has he played?
    Evra when he signed was 25 and was fucking awful to start with.
    Vidic was 26 started shakey
    Just not as simple as showing up and start playing it takes time for players to settle and develop I just don’t pass judgement on a young lad in his first season who according to Fletch has played in 13 games
    So yeah in terms of just about everything I consider him young

  28. Costas says:

    Brilliant news Fletch.

  29. Sparkz says:

    Was never in any doubt with Rio, the club would never get rid of a guy with his ability and experience.

    I remember there was a lot of talk on here about 18 months ago, people assumed Rio would rather get a big payday in America. But he’s not that sort of guy, he loves the club, and that’s been especially evident over the last few years. Knows the club from top to bottom, goes to Youth team games, respects the history, the whole lot

  30. kanchelskis says:


    I see where you’re coming from, but when you consider Rafael is 22 and is pretty much a world-class fullback, Buttner doesn’t look so young.

  31. harrydazzer says:

    Wow, Ferdinand doesn’t give away free kicks. That’s one of his strongest attributes.

  32. gd says:

    good lord, buttner shouldn’t be anywhere near the defence! he could get 3 or 4 games on the wing, though.

  33. wayne says:

    Kanchelskis that just shows what a talent Rafa is same as Jones and Smalling in terms of defender age these lads are very young and all if keep progressing wil be world class in a few years

  34. 2Coats of RED says:

    Evra is a good defender and I don’t see him losing that next year either. But teams LOVE overloading his side of the field bc he gets/got no help from his winger usually and I think that is no indictment of Evra at all, just the reality of things. Tony V. didn’t hav a good year but I kept the faith bc he partners well with rafa and can do a job in defense when called on. Plus he’s not a diver like two of our other wingers and is an all around blue collar player in my eyes. I would keep him over nani and his parlor tricks bc he isn’t full of himself. I like buttners attacking sense but his positional awareness at the back is behind Evra’s by a mile but that can only improve. And Lindegaard should find somewhere else to play bc DDG he is not! That being said, this defense will be greatly improved if we can up our aerial and ground dual percentages into the mid 70s early 80s as a whole

  35. NBI Red Onion says:

    Great news, Rio is a huge character loves the way he goes mental when anyone scores….!

    We actually have great GKs and defenders, the problems over the last few years is the ridiculous level of injuries, Smalling is limping away presently, Vida and Rio being managed. If we can just keep everyone fit next season that would be huge. But given the history of injuries, only Evra really seems injury free so far but we are gambling on his fitness big time, so cover in those positions could be a possibility. But with 5 CD’s at the club you would think we would have CD covered, but every season Carrick is bobbing around in there. RB we have no cover though Fabio could be cover. LB we now have Buttner.

    Re Fabio – Rafael said it helped his game not having his twin around to worry about…! So I don’t know if Fabio back is good or bad, as cover for Rafael it may be too much of a mind mess for the brothers if they are competing same position. Also I can see Buttner developing into a very good LB, Fabio lets see, if he can keep fit next season we will find out.

    There needs to be a song about the defence.

  36. Ginger Medievalist says:

    From the evidence so far, I don’t rate Buttner as a defender. Too rash and has a dreadful positional sense. Might be useful on the left wing next season. Think we need better cover for Evra.

  37. Vin1 says:

    To be honest, the only team in the Premier League that can even begin to match us defensively are City, as much as I hate to admit it. Having said that, they don’t have the depth that we have. I have to say that although I know it is Buttner’s first season with us he just doesn’t seem good enough to be at United, I really do hope that he proves me wrong. Jones is the future of our defence, definitely a centre-back for me. He has an insatiable appetite for the game, my only criticism of he him is that he doesn’t seem to be able to stop himself quick enough when running. Evra, Ferdinand, Evans and Vidic are all BEASTS and anyone who has criticized any of them should be ashamed. They are United through and through and are the epitome of what we represent. They work tirelessly for the team. They are quite simply the core of the United team and are role models for our youth. Well done to Rio for signing the new contract.

  38. dannysoya LOVES USAIN BOLT says:

    I agree with the buttner being moved up suggestion. The man simply CANNOT defend. Far far far too rash. He’s a superb attacker though and I see a future for him further upfield. We should sign Luke Shaw or Baines as his replacements. those are two proper left backs who can do everything just like Evra, Cole and Clichy used to do at the peak of their powers and still do from time to time.

  39. Wakey says:

    Vidic made no errors that led to goals? Strange because I remember an own goal he scored which DDG may have got blamed for but Vidic was just as much if not more to blame. There was also the late equaliser for Spurs where he was just as much to blame again

    Fabio is a right back? You mean apart from the fact he has always payed a left back and has only a handful of matches as a Right Back. You don’t need to be left footed to play left back as Irwin demonstrated week in week out and he is arguable the best left back United had in the Fergie era

  40. kg rolo says:

    Evra had a good season…..


You must be logged in to post a comment.