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Stat Attack: Manchester United v Barcelona: 2011 Champions League Head To Head

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As part of our extensive Barcelona v Manchester United Champions League final coverage on Soccerlens, today we look at key head-to-head stats between the two Champions League finalists.

VAN DER SAR v VALDÉS

Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has saved 91% of the shots he has faced this season in the Champions League, a higher ratio than any other ‘keeper. It puts into sharp perspective how important he has been for Manchester United in his final season at the club.

Van der Sar has made more than twice as many saves (31) as Valdés (15) in the 2010-11 Champions League (see table below).

Edwin van der Sar v Víctor Valdés – Champions League 2010-11

Player

Edwin Van der Sar

Víctor Valdés

Club

Manchester United

Barcelona

Appearances

9

10

Minutes On Pitch

810

900

Goals Conceded

3

8

Minutes per Goal Conceded

270

113

Clean Sheets

6

3

Saves

Saves made

31

15

Saves to Shots ratio

91%

65%

Penalties saved

0

0

Catches

Punches

0

4

Catches

10

8

Dropped Catches

1

0

Crosses not claimed

1

0

Catch Success Rate %

83%

100%

Errors

Errors leading to attempt

1

0

Errors leading to goal

0

1

Kicks

Long Kicking Distribution

62

33

Kicking Success Rate %

48%

76%

Short distribution

69

59

Short distribution accuracy %

99%

100%

General distribution success rate %

75%

91%

The 40 year-old has kept a clean sheet in six of his nine European appearances this term, helping Manchester United reach the final unbeaten.

His Spanish counterpart Víctor Valdés has conceded eight goals in his 10 Champions League appearances, saving just 65% of shots faced, far from Van der Sar’s clinical display and well below the competition’s 71% average this season. Valdes on the other hand has better distribution stats, reflecting Barcelona’s greater possession stats.

VIDIC v PIQUÉ

Nemanja Vidic has won 71% of his ground duels and 81% of his aerial duels this season in the Champions League, both higher percentages than Gerard Piqué’s. However the Spaniard has seen a lot more of the ball, registering over 400 more touches than the Serbian international. If United are to win in the 2011 Champions League final, they’ll have to close down Pique and stop Barcelona from building their attacks from the backline.

Nemanja Vidic v Gerard Piqué – Champions League 2010-11

Player

Nemanja Vidic

Gerard Piqué

Team

Manchester United

Barcelona

Appearances

8

11

Starts

8

11

Minutes On Pitch

720

938

Defending

Tackles Made

10

16

Tackle Success Rate

80%

69%

Last Man Tackles

2

0

Blocks

5

2

Total Clearances

68

52

Headed Clearances

31

33

Clearances Off the Line

0

0

Interceptions

22

19

Duels

Ground Duels

28

36

Ground Duels won %

71%

61%

Aerial Duels

27

20

Aerial Duels won %

81%

80%

Discipline

Fouls

5

7

Fouls won

9

2

Yellow Cards

1

3

Red Cards

0

0

Passing

Touches

603

1004

Touches per game

75.4

91.3

Goal Assists

0

0

Key Passes

2

2

Total Passes

445

801

Pass Completion %

84%

90%

Going Forward

Goals

0

1

Headed Goals

0

0

Shots

2

1

Shots On Target

0

1

Shots Off Target

2

0

Gerard Pique surpasses Nemanja Vidic in terms of passing and offensive contributions, completing an impressive 90% of his passes, compared to just 75% for the Manchester United centre half. The World Cup Champion has also scored with his only attempt so far in the competition this season, against Shakhtar Donetsk on April 6th 2011.

CARRICK v XAVI

A mismatched duel in the center of midfield. Despite spending less time on the pitch, Xavi has attempted over 400 more passes than Manchester United’s Michael Carrick this season in the Champions League.

Xavi’s 1167 passes are a record this season in the Champions League, completing 94% of these, a higher ratio than Carrick’s still impressive 88% accuracy. Xavi has been more clinical than the England international in all other relevant areas: shooting, crossing, dribbling and tackling, whereas Carrick’s more defensive role is highlighted by his better stats in tackling and interceptions.

Carrick v Xavi – Champions League 2010-11

Player

Michael Carrick

Xavi

Team

Manchester United

Barcelona

Appearances

10

11

Starts

10

10

Minutes On Pitch

900

863

Goal Attempts

Goals

0

2

Shots

5

10

Shooting Accuracy

40%

60%

Chance Conversion

0%

20%

Passing

Touches

938

1334

Touches per game

93.8

121.3

Goal Assists

1

2

Key Passes

3

19

Total Passes

744

1,167

Pass Completion %

88%

94%

Pass Completion in final third %

74%

88%

Crossing

Total Crosses

3

34

Cross Completion %

0%

35%

Dribbling

Dribbles & Runs

5

15

Dribble Completion %

40%

73%

Defending

Tackles Made

27

10

Tackles Won %

74%

90%

Blocks

4

0

Clearances

8

6

Interceptions

43

9

Discipline

Fouls

4

0

Fouls won

15

19

Offside

0

1

Yellow Cards

0

0

Red Cards

0

0

Michael Carrick has been more active than Xavi in performing defensive tasks, having registered more tackles, blocks, clearances and interceptions. Xavi has yet to concede a foul despite 11 appearances this season in the Champions League.

ROONEY v MESSI

Lionel Messi has converted 22% of his attempts this season in the Champions League, compared to just 13% for Wayne Rooney.

The double Ballon d’Or winner has scored 11 goals in 12 appearances and is one goal away from equalling Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of 12 goals in a single season (2002-03) (Manchester United)  in the Champions League era. Lionel Messi has also attempted (115) and completed (69) the most dribbles in this season’s competition, however his ability on the ball has made him the most fouled player (31).

Player

Wayne Rooney

Lionel Messi

Team

Manchester United

Barcelona

Appearances

8

12

Starts

8

10

Minutes On Pitch

713

957

Goal Attempts

Goals

3

11

Mins per goal

238

87

Headed goals

0

0

Right footed goals

3

2

Left footed goals

0

9

Goals inside box

3

10

Goals outside box

0

1

Penalty goals

1

1

Direct free kick goals

0

0

Shots

23

49

Shots On Target

15

32

Shots Off Target

8

17

Shooting Accuracy

65%

65%

Chance Conversion

13%

22%

Blocked shots

9

15

Passing

Touches

563

1126

Touches per game

70.4

93.8

Goal Assists

2

3

Key Passes

14

17

Total Passes

380

795

Pass Completion %

82%

88%

Pass Completion in final third %

76%

79%

Dribbling

Dribbles & Runs

21

115

Dribble Completion %

43%

60%

Discipline

Fouls

4

17

Fouls won

5

31

Offside

2

10

Yellow Cards

0

0

Red Cards

0

0

In comparison, Wayne Rooney’s performances have been of a lower standard so far: he has scored three goals and delivered two assists this season in Manchester United’s European campaign.

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