Christian Eriksen joined Manchester United in the summer after returning to English Premier League action last season. The Danish international was a great addition to Erik ten Hag’s side as he understood the gameplay and was the creative force in the team. Eriksen managed to score a goal and provide eight assists before getting injured. This injury forced him to sit out of action and left Manchester United with fewer options in the middle. The Red Devils decided to bring in a replacement and signed Bayern Munich’s Austrian midfielder, Marcel Sabitzer. He is 29 years old and struggled with playing time in Germany. Now that the season has gone by, we look at some of the stats of Sabitzer since coming to England in the winter transfer window.
Sabitzer’s presence in United’s midfield
Marcel Sabitzer can play as an attacking midfielder, a centre midfielder, and also as a defensive midfielder. Since joining the Red Devils, Sabitzer has made eight combined appearances in the English Premier League, UEFA Europa League, and the FA Cup. Sabitzer has taken a more advanced role while playing on the left side and a bit of a defensive role while playing on the right side. This can be observed by looking at his heatmap, in which the more intense areas in the attacking half are on the left side.
Marcel Sabitzer finally netted a goal for his new side after scoring the second goal against Fulham in their last match before the international break. This goal came in the FA Cup. Sabitzer has attempted 11 shots and averages 1.89 shots per 90 minutes. He has a decent accuracy rate of 54.5%, despite most of the attempts coming from outside the penalty box. The 29-year-old targets the right side of the goalkeeper.
When talking about the ability to pass the ball, Sabitzer averages 41.47 passes per 90 minutes and has an 83.8% accuracy rate. These include 1.55 passes to the opposition penalty box and 1.55 to the opposition penalty box. By looking at the above viz., we can observe that most of the progressive passes made by Sabitzer have been towards the left side.
One of the areas where Sabitzer has provided an edge on the field for Manchester United is with his ability to recover the ball. The Austrian averages 10.15 recoveries per 90 minutes with 57.6% coming in the attacking half. Sabitzer has made 11 dangerous recoveries, with most of them coming on the right side. His ability to win such balls makes him a threat in the attacking third.
Has he replaced Eriksen?
Christian Eriksen was on top of his game. Marcel Sabitzer is new to English football and needs some time to get on his level.
Christian Eriksen was the main creative force behind Manchester United’s success in the mid-season. He made 31 appearances in all competitions. Eriksen scored two goals and provided nine assists. The above visual compares the percentile rank of the two players. Eriksen edges Sabitzer in creativity but lacks a bit on the defensive side. The Danish international’s creative ability allowed him to penetrate the opposition’s penalty box with his passes. This can be seen in the progressive passes made by him this season. Overall, Eriksen had a more creative display and Sabitzer is more suited for a holding role.
As per the 1×2 betting odds, the odds for Manchester United will rise when Eriksen is out of the team. Sabitzer’s inclusion won’t lower the odds in such a scenario. The over/under goals were also affected. The odds for over goals will rise due to Eriksen’s absence.
Marcel Sabitzer has performed decently for his new side. He is getting used to the pace of English football and leading his side to a top-three finish. The 29-year-old has won the EFL Cup with Manchester United and will now hunt for the FA Cup and UEFA Europa League title. He has a huge role to play in the remaining games.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine