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There's Only One Darren Fletcher!
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A regular feature at left back, and captain in the absence of Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra has struggled with relatively poor form over the past two seasons. With his ongoing love-hate relationship with French football and the supporters of the national team, perhaps issues outside his life in Manchester have contributed negatively to the man who by many accounts, was the best left back in world football not three years ago. Not least the extended fracas involving Luis Suarez last season (the bastard).​
However, when it comes to commitment to the club and passion for the United cause, there aren't too many at the club who can match Evra's levels of desire. It is always warming to see players, especially those from outside England, treat the club as home, and its fans as extended family, and Patrice Evra has never hidden his feelings in this matter. I hope that the departure of his best mate Ji Sung Park will not have any further negative effects on his current form.​
One's place in the starting eleven cannot be based solely on mentality however - it does need to be complemented and backed-up with performances on the pitch. With Fabio departing the club on loan for the season, and the possible (probable) arrival of another fullback, the coming season will certainly be a defining one for the Frenchman, who no doubt will have hurt as much as any other fan after last season's final day heartbreak.​
He might not be the same player that he was in 2009, but no matter what, he will always have the full backing (excuse the pun!) of the manager and the fans. Here's to a successful 2012/13 for all concerned (y)
Forever a hero in my heart after this:​
 

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I've come to the conclusion that a major reason why he's become so shit is that he's bulked up so much - it's caused him to lose his explosive speed. I'm watching some old highlights of Rooney atm and Evra was lightening fast on the overlap and was also great at running with the ball for mid-long distances.

He's only 31 and has never had any serious injuries yet his pace is completely shot. Seems like he got bigger each season but it became much more noticeable in 10/11.

I don't know why SAF hasn't told him to lose some muscle mass.

Programme on MUTV tonight Evra and Park (filmed shortly before Ji Sung left)
Watched it yesterday. Evra is so funny :LOL:
 

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A nice guy but talks a load of shite instead of producing the goods on the pitch. He's been shite for half of his United career and world class for the rest of it.

05/06: Abysmal
06/07: Good
07/08 World class
08/09: World class
09/10: Average
10/11: Abysmal
11/12: Abysmal
 

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09/10 was a strange one. He was amazing until the first leg against Bayern Munich in March - definitely the best LB in the world up to that point. It's unfair to say he was average that season though. Rooney hit a brick wall at the same time and didn't score again after that match, yet a lot of people call that his best ever season.
 

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Evra was on a serious decline that season. His final ball was worse, his defensive positioning was poor and he lost a bit of agility. He was average, good at times. Nothing compared to the previous three seasons, when he was the best left back in the world.

Rooney was suffering from an injury for the rest of the season after that game. That season ruined Evra completely, he played nearly every minute of every game.
 

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i for one hope we dont ditch him. I think there are a number of reasons for his lack of form, but the guys is class. I'd hate for us to give up on him, only for him to go elsewhere and have an amazing few years.

as for comments about his weight and pace - i'm confused. he's still very good going forward, and helps his left winger far more in an attacking third, than the left winger (young or nani) helps him.

people seem to forget when they compare him to irwin - our other legendary LB- that Irwin often played with either Giggs or sharpe in front of him, and they gave superb defensive cover.
 

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He's done as a player of the highest caliber. He's good enough to be a squad player for us but if people think he should still be starting games for us then they are deluded. His greatest gift IMO was his stamina. He could go on forever and not flinch. Like that energizer bunny. Now with age this has deserted him and it's left with very little else to offer.
 

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I wonder if part of the problem is also to do with him being burnt out. There have been times that important players like Ronaldo, Rooney, Vidic, Ferdinand etc have been rested (to varying degrees, admittedly) yet Evra seemed to play almost every game. The other side of the coin regarding this is that he's had no real competition. That's one reason I've wanted to give someone like Fabio more time.
 

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Interestingly surprising. Not as bad as we think or perceive...

http://www.eplindex.com/17634/the-truth-about-evra-demise.html

As we all know, Patrice Evra has faced with a horde of criticisms regarding his performances last season. Fans have lamented his defensive capabilities, with the increasing feeling that he was not the player he once was. Some blame it on the racism storm with Luis Suarez; others point the finger at his complacency at being the only recognized and reliable left back for Manchester United; while a few would go as far as to attribute it to his problems with the French national team. However you see it, there is a growing voice that wants to see Evra being replaced and sold.

But before we go to such an extent, let us take an in-depth look and find out just what is it about Evra’s performances that have created this voice of frustration among the United supporters.

Firstly, I would like to compare Evra’s performance over the past 2 seasons (2010/2011 & 2011/2012) to see just how much his form has diminished. Following that, I would compare his performances with Ashley Cole (presumably England’s best left back) and Gaël Clichy (left back from Championship winning Manchester City last season), 2 well-thought-of Premier League left backs.

Evra’s performance compared – 2010/11 to 2011/12


Table 1: Comparison between Evra's Performances in 2011/2012 season and 2010/2011 season

Let us focus on the negatives first. From the table, we can see that the biggest drop in performance for Evra in the 2011/2012 season would be the significantly lower number of interceptions he made (54 VS 85). His percentage of aerial 50-50 wins also decreased (55% VS 63%), and he loss possession more times than he did in the previous season (40 VS 30). This definitely gives the first hints at Evra’s loss of form.

But before we go on and criticize, let us not forget the positives too. We can see that Evra made significantly more ground 50-50 challenges (319 VS 275) in the 2011/2012 season and had a better win percentage in those challenges as well (61% VS 50%). He also had a slightly better tackle ratio than the previous season (31 mins per tackle VS 37 mins per tackle). In addition, he made more accurate passes (1647 VS 1369) and had a better pass completion rate (83.60% VS 80.29%). One of the biggest improvements was the number of successful dribbles in the 2011/2012 season, which was almost double of the 2010/2011 season (51 VS 26)! Finally, he created more chances too in the 2011/2012 season than the 2010/2011 season (40 VS 34).

Evra compared to Cole and Clichy


Table 2: Comparison between Evra, Cole & Clichy in 2011/2012 season

Similar to his comparison with the previous season, the most negative statistic towards Evra we can see is the number of times he loses possession (40 VS Cole’s 29 & Clichy’s 11). At this level, it is a rather poor statistic for a player from a top club to be losing possession almost once every game (81 mins per loss of possession).

That aside, there is nothing much more we can criticize Evra for! In fact, it is quite the opposite. Firstly, he made significantly more ground 50-50 challenges (almost 90 more tackles than his closest competitor Cole) than the other 2. He also made more aerial 50-50 challenges (almost 30 more than closest competitor Clichy) and has a better aerial percentage win as well, considering his comparatively shorter nature (he won 55% of aerial 50-50’s). Following that, he made more tackles than either of the players (104 tackles to Cole’s 80 and Clichy’s 65) and had the better tackle success rate among the 3 players (76.92%). In addition, Evra made the most successful dribbles, with a whopping 51 dribbles, compared to Cole’s 11 dribbles and Clichy’s 21 dribbles. Finally, as an added incentive for a defender, Evra created the most chances for his team as well (40 chances VS Cole’s 24 & Clichy’s 27).

From these comparisons, numerically speaking, the statistics show that there is more good about Evra than bad. He has improved in various aspects of his game as compared to the previous season, such as his passing and his ability to create chances. In addition, most of his statistics show him to be far superior to his rival players.

However, this in no way discounts his limitations. It seems the biggest problem for Evra, and the main reason behind his supposed loss of form, is the significant increase in the number of times he loses possession last season. A less obvious reason would be his lower rate of interceptions as compared to the previous season, as well as relative to the other players. Cole had 52 interceptions, 2 less than Evra, but we must note that Cole played 5 fewer games than him. Clichy, despite playing the least number of games among the 3, had the most interceptions with 78. Add this to all the non-statistical observations, such as the times he lacked concentration and got caught out of position; it fits in nicely to be United’s scapegoat whenever something goes wrong.

But my main point is this: while Evra’s form has evidently dipped, he is nowhere near as bad as people have suggested. The heavy criticism is likely because people have been accustomed to such a high level of performance from him over the years. His statistics, though, does not fully prove that he is a player who is deemed to be past his prime.

Whatever it is, it would be interesting to see how he performs this season, especially being the only recognized left back for United (for the moment).

In any case, this season would be a defining one for Evra.

All of the stats from this article have been taken from the Opta Stats Centre at EPLIndex.comSubscribe Now (Includes author privileges!) Check out our new Top Stats feature on the Stats Centre which allows you to compare all players in the league & read about new additions to the stats centre.
 
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