Raphael Varane‘s injury could prove to be a significant problem for Manchester United in the upcoming weeks.
The Frenchman, who has been a critical cog in United‘s defence whenever he plays, went off with a hamstring injury during Tuesday’s Champions League fixture against Atalanta. The club expects him to be out of action for around a month.
It’s the second injury he has suffered this season. He missed United’s 5-0 defeat against Liverpool on October 24 and their 4-2 defeat to Leicester a week earlier.
On Saturday, he returned to the side against Tottenham Hotspur, putting in a superb performance as part of a back three in a 3-0 victory. That display underlined how important the Frenchman is to United.
The statistics back that importance up. With Varane in the side, United have won five of their eight games, losing just once. Without him, they’ve lost four games out of five.
How important has Varane been to United?
When Varane is on the pitch, United appear to be more solid defensively than when he is not playing.
He averages 1.5 tackles per match in the Premier League (via WhoScored). He has also recorded four clearances per match in the six league games he has played.
His high pass accuracy percentage has also been helpful when it comes to playing out from the back. Varane has completed 87.9 per cent of his passes this season. In addition, he is yet to lose possession in the Premier League.
In terms of raw goals conceded, United have conceded only four goals in the six Premier League starts Varane has made since his debut. Without him, they’ve shipped nine in two games.
How does he compare to other United centre-backs?
Maguire has won more aerial battles. He has won 2.4 per game compared to Varane’s 2.2.
Varane has recorded more successful clearances (four) and tackles (1.5) than either Maguire or Lindelof.
In terms of passing, the 28-year-old completes 62.2 passes on average per game, with Maguire (51.4) and Lindelof (51.7) behind him.
Varane’s injury, therefore, makes him difficult to replace. With the Frenchman out of action for the next few games, though, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his side will have to adapt in the best way they can.
Manchester United host Manchester City in the Manchester derby on Saturday at 12:30 pm.
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