Lisandro Martinez has won the man of the match back-to-back in his first two appearances for Manchester United, sparking controversies among football pundits. Against Liverpool and Southampton, Martinez has shown his class, but pundits still hold reservations on the reliability of Manchester United’s potential Harry Maguire replacement.
Erik Ten Hag got to a poor and downbeat start in the Premier League while the rivals such as Arsenal and Manchester City were making progress. Two losses in two opening Premier League matches were unbearable for a club of such pedigree, and losing at ease to perceived minnows in the League was a disaster.
Erik Ten Hag made systematic and dramatic changes in the team, with both Harry Maguire and Ronaldo dropped to the bench. A new signing from Ajax Lisandro Martinez was brought on to marshall the center defense in the process of the changes in the team.
Since his debut for Manchester United, Lisandro Martinez has impressed fans and pundits alike. His two appearances have been spectacular, winning man of the match consecutively. However, some pundits still contest Lisandro Martinez’s abilities as a central defender due to his height.
Height A Problem?
The stats on aerial duels speaks volumes. The Argentine, after Premier League matchday 4, has the highest percentage of aerial duels. He has garnered 83%, followed by Kalidou Coulibaly 75%, William Saliba 57%, Joe Gomez 56%, and Reuben Diaz 36%.
However, former Aston Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor said that Lisandro is yet to convince him, given his height.
Agbonlahor maintained that despite Lisandro Martinez’s sterling performance, he will still struggle against the likes of Erling Haaland of Manchester City and Darwin Nunez of Liverpool.
According to him, Adams slightly have the better of him in the game against Southampton.
“Whenever the ball was in the air, Adams had the better of him. When he plays against Nunez and Haaland, I think he will struggle,” he said.
Agbonlahor must have shot off target in his assessment of Lisandro Martinez. It was not by a fluke that Martinez won the MOTM. The stats against the Saints speak better.
Martinez won 100% of all his ground duels. He did not lose possession and had dispossessed his opponents in every duel.
He also maintained a perfect dribble record – 100%. He had 61 touches, 48 passes, and 7 clearances, and won all his aerial duels (5/5).
In his match against Liverpool, the stats were equally superb. Martinez tamed Salah and prevented the Egyptian and Liverpool’s firepower from utilizing his chances
He had 100% successful dribbles, 82% pass accuracy, 41 passes, 5 final third passes, 5 long balls, 3 ball recoveries, 7 clearances, and 1 block.
Jamie Carragher had stated that he is convinced that the Argentine cannot play a center-back role. Still, in both Liverpool and Southampton matches, Lisandro Martinez kept a perfect record on aerial duels. He has won all his aerial contests, as revealed by the stats above.
Lisandro Martinez’s stunning stats in his two appearances for the Red Devils has proven critics wrong. He may follow in the paths of ‘the short but mighty’ Argentines who took over the game despite their height deficiencies – the likes of Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Sergio Kun Aguero, and Saviola.