United briefing: Three in a row for Wan-Bissaka
Aaron Wan-Bissaka continues to rack up some eye-catching stats as United Review caught up with the full-back ahead of Friday's meeting between Manchester United and Aston Villa.
96 - Aaron Wan-Bissaka led all players in the Premier League for tackles made in 2020; indeed, this is the third consecutive year where Wan-Bissaka has made the most tackles of any defender in the competition (99 in 2018 and 133 in 2019). Fearsome. #OptaReview2020 pic.twitter.com/MlmN93dJfN— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 31, 2020
So, we were a little surprised that his current figure for blocks was even higher, when we caught up with Aaron at the Aon Training Complex recently and showed him the stats, which he was interested to digest.
Aaron has made 50 blocks this season, seven ahead of his nearest challenger, Southampton's Kyle Walker-Peters.
"I reckon it’s probably down to there being situations where I’ve needed to tackle but, in that moment, there have been more situations I have had when I have had to block shots and crosses," he told United Review, the official matchday programme. "I know there have been times in football where, if you don’t block a shot, it can go in. So the best thing to do is simply to attempt to block every shot and every cross."
Despite his all-action style, Wan-Bissaka has still to pick up a yellow card this season. "That’s the first time I’ve heard it. But it’s very good to hear, that I have had no bookings against me this season. I know you cannot just dive into any tackle. You’ve got to make sure you time it right. It is a case of always concentrating and making sure you are timing them right as well."
If the full-back goes up end marking Villa danger-man Jack Grealish, who usually operates from the left for the Midlanders, he knows he will have to stick to those principles against the man who is the most fouled in the division.
"I know he is always up there with getting the most fouls," added Wan-Bissaka. "We all know he’s a tricky player when he's out there on the pitch.
“He is a great player. He’s unpredictable and can go inside or outside with the ball. I played against him last season and just have to be ready to take it as it comes. It is another challenge I am more than ready to take on. But he’s not the only player we need to be paying attention to – they have lots of other good players like John McGinn, Ross Barkley, Trezeguet and others. We know it will be a tough game."
WHAT'S HAPPENING TODAY?
Firstly, Happy New Year, Reds!
Today is all about our opening game of 2021 as United take on Villa at Old Trafford. We know victory would take us level on points with Liverpool at the summit, with the Merseysiders not in action until Monday night, against Southampton.
We'll have the best coverage on MUTV, our Official App and ManUtd.com in the build-up to the game, with the teams officially released at 19:00 GMT.
However, before that, there is one piece of housekeeping for us this afternoon, as we are due to announce the Player of the Month for December.
Heading into 2021 like... gallery
New year, same focus for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Reds...
WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY?
Everyone at Manchester United was saddened to hear the news that our former manager Tommy Docherty had passed away at the age of 92. 'The Doc' led United to FA Cup triumph in 1977 and was renowned for his all-action, attacking side.
Elsewhere, Edinson Cavani was handed a three-match ban by the Football Association, meaning he misses the clash with Villa tonight. Ole brought us the latest team news ahead of the contest, and a full press conference, and we published a big interview with star midfielder Bruno Fernandes.
We also discovered when the Reds will be playing Burnley after our first scheduled game of the campaign was postponed. Of course, we marked Sir Alex Ferguson's birthday by looking at some precious artefacts in the United Museum.
On the final day of 2020, we also marked some of the incredible achievements from United star Marcus Rashford in the last 12 months.