Aaron Wan-Bissaka enjoyed a solid debut for Manchester United against Chelsea but his journey really starts now.
The talented 21-year-old right-back is expected to feature at Wolves, where the Red Devils came unstuck last season, and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be hoping AWB’s presence makes a difference as his side go in search of a second consecutive victory.
And there’s a good reason to be optimistic. Wan-Bissaka established himself at boyhood club Crystal Palace as one of the Premier League’s most resilient full-backs. In the space of a few games he went from being seen as an emerging star to a force of nature.
Man Utd were desperate to bolster their defence in the summer, as they seek a return to Champions League football, and parted with £50m for his services. But how good is he? Well, we’ve tackled his potential impact at Old Trafford in our latest video….
Of course, we know Wan-Bissaka is stationed at right-back. However, the modern full-back is multifaceted and Wan-Bissaka is no different. Although he’s encouraged to join Man Utd’s attacks, offering overlaps and crossing into the penalty area, there’s an essence of old school regarding the south Londoner who more than most enjoys getting his shorts dirty. It has quickly become apparent that very few opposition players can get the better of him. His tackling, in particular, has been strongly praised.
As mentioned, Wan-Bissaka is a master in the art of tackling, last season – for example – he made more tackles (115) than any other Premier League defender. It was an astonishing return which to a degree highlights Crystal Palace’s set-up under Roy Hodgson. Man Utd are chasing a more progressive approach under Solskjaer so we can expect Wan-Bissaka to be one-vs-one, but there’s another area of his game that will suit them and that’s ball-carrying, more so given how lightning Man Utd can be on the break. Reading the play is another strong asset, he registered three interceptions against Chelsea, one less than United’s other marquee signing Harry Maguire.
If there’s one facet of his game that AWB can improve then it’s the final ball. As good as he is on the back foot, Wan-Bissaka has yet to show a strong attacking instinct. That’s not to say he’s lacking in spatial awareness, he often finds himself near the by-line, but lacks a killer delivery. Of course, much of this is down to environment, possession/proactive football isn’t the be all and end all everywhere. His distribution can also improve, highlighted by the fact against Chelsea he made the least amount of accurate passes (31) in United’s backline.
The sky’s the limit. Wan-Bissaka, despite what he’s accomplished in a short period, is still developing as a footballer. His apparent weaknesses could turn into strengths at Old Trafford, but that remains to be seen. Naturally, a senior England international cap is likely to be around the corner, but establishing himself as Gareth Southgate’s first choice may be tricky given the calibre of competition. Nevertheless, that right-back berth certainly belongs to him at Man Utd.
Watch the video at the top of the article to see Statman Dave‘s tactical analysis on Wan-Bissaka in full.
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