Manchester United supporters have this evening taken to social media to highlight a graphic, comparing the defensive statistics of Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk with those of Red Devils’ legend Nemanja Vidic.
Van Dijk’s stellar season
Dutch stopper van Dijk has acted as the heart and soul behind Liverpool’s challenge for the Premier League title this season.
The former Southampton man’s near-unrivalled combination of athleticism, aerial prowess, aggression, positional awareness and poise on the ball have come together over the last 16 months at Anfield to see van Dijk establish himself as one of the world’s finest in his position.
To this point, the 27-year-old has missed just 35 minutes of Liverpool’s league campaign.
And, despite the fact that, with just 2 games remaining, it is Manchester City who sit in pole position to retain their Premier League crown, van Dijk’s standout performances in Jurgen Klopp’s back-4 throughout the season saw him deservedly named as the PFA Player of the Year on Sunday night:
— PFA | Professional Footballers’ Association (@PFA) April 28, 2019
Of the statistics to have come to light on the back of van Dijk being named as the Premier League’s best, none has been more widely-marvelled over than the fact that the stopper has not been dribbled past on a single occasion over the course of the Premier League campaign thus far:
0 – No opposition player has completed a dribble past Virgil van Dijk in any of his 36 PL apps this season. In fact, this run stretches back to last March, meaning he hasn’t been dribbled past by an opponent in any of his last 45 PL apps. Immovable. #PFAAwards #POTY pic.twitter.com/Y8BIsle0vq
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 28, 2019
van Dijk vs Vidic
However, one set of fans who have today moved to play down just how impressive the Liverpool stalwart’s season has been are the Manchester United faithful.
In a graphic quickly spreading across social media this evening, the defensive stats racked up by van Dijk have been compared to those amassed by former Red Devils’ powerhouse Nemanja Vidic during the 2008/09 Premier League season, as showcased below:
Van Dijk (this season) vs Vidic (2008/09 season) stats. Van Dijk isn’t even the best defender beginning with the letter V, let alone the best defender in PL history. Put some respect on Nemanja Vidic’s name. pic.twitter.com/8k3ngP4W0W
— The Man Utd Way (@TheManUtdWay) April 30, 2019
While Vidic’s stats are an absolute sight to behold, it should be noted that they do also paint the picture of a Man United side who were forced to defend considerably more than the ball-dominant Liverpool of this season.