January 14, 2012
Manchester United’s 3-0 win at home to Bolton Wanderers will be remembered as Paul Scholes’ first start since sensationally coming out of retirement. In typical Paul Scholes fashion, he marked it with a goal.
Scholes adopted somewhat of a different role to that which we have been accustomed to seeing in recent seasons. As opposed to playing the conventional quarterback role, he left this job largely to Michael Carrick. As a result was perhaps not as involved in the game in a passing sense as he normally would be.
In the early stages he was marshalled closely by Bolton’s Mark Davies, but as the half progressed, Scholes was given more space and began to have more of a telling influence, producing a number of intricate passes in key areas for Manchester United. In terms of forward passes played in the first half, Scholes would have been disappointed with a 66.6% completion rate; yet this statistic does not tell a full story. Whilst an uncharacteristically large amount of Scholes’ forward passes were misplaced, on two occasions these turned out to be crucial interventions by Bolton defenders.
A noticeable trait of Scholes’ first half performance was that he continually made runs ahead of the ball, sometimes beyond that of Welbeck and Rooney. This kind of energy paid off right on the 45 minute mark, as he slotted in a Wayne Rooney cross after making a run to the back post.
Scholes was much quieter in the second half, playing only 15 passes for the 24 minutes of the half that he was on the pitch. The general pattern of his performs mirrored that of the first half, with one noticeable exception. In the first half, Scholes only managed a 33% tackle success rate, yet early in the second half he made three excellent tackles, increasing his success rate to 75% for the game as a whole.
In evaluating his performance it is important to remember that this was Scholes’ first start since May and the obvious dynamism, coupled with his innate ability to pick a pass will provide Sir Alex Ferguson with confirmation that Scholes can make an important contribution between now and the end of the season.
On 69 minutes, Scholes was replaced by Ryan Giggs, who had an imperious 21 minutes filled with effective, probing passing topped off with an assist. Giggs passed the ball impressively around a tired Bolton, with a cross-field pass to Antonio Valencia near the end being the pick of the bunch. Giggs completed all 6 of his passes in the final third of the pitch.
Image from ryangiggs.ccThis entry was posted in Performance Analysis. Bookmark the permalink. ← Two-Footed Tackle Debate Villa vs Everton: Irish Analysis →