Patrice Evra: How Manchester United Left-Back Can Still Improve
The performance of Patrice Evra last weekend mirrored the Red Devils' convincing display.
Just like Evra.
The French left-back has been written off before, his age cited as the main reason for an apparent downfall.
Since 2009, it could certainly be said he has not been the same player. Too often in recent seasons he has been caught out of position pushing too far up the left flank. Or going forward, it could be said he no longer has the same attacking verve.
Why spend £15 million on the 28-year-old when Evra clearly still has mileage at the top level?
This may not be the case forever, but by the time Evra is really past it, Baines will be into his 30s.
Not to mention the other, less noticeable qualities United would lose were Evra to leave, as would be the case if Moyes signed his former player.
The Frenchman would not want to stick around to play No. 2. And why should he?
He is a winner moulded in the form of Sir Alex Ferguson.
So much so that the Scotsman was never afraid to make Evra captain in the stead of an injured Nemanja Vidic.
He is a positive dressing-room influence capable of putting a smile on his teammates' faces.
But one game does not make a season, and if Moyes were to decide against buying Baines, there are still a couple of areas Evra could improve in.
As previously mentioned, his defensive awareness can often leave something to be desired.
One of his biggest weaknesses in the past has been him getting caught out at the far post with an opponent leaping behind him to head a cross towards goal.
His attacking instincts can often get the better of him.
He is quick to track back, but sometimes quick simply isn't enough.
He can be error-prone too.
A recent statistical comparison by EPLIndex.com between Evra and Baines showed the former makes a mistake every 1020 minutes per game, while the latter does every 1710 minutes.
Baines is a superior crosser too, picking out teammates 30 percent of the time to Evra's 23 percent.
However, the Frenchman is superior in a number of other categories, such as tackle success, pass accuracy and aerial dominance.
This is just more evidence that the supposed improvement Baines would bring to the side is not as great as some think.
He may be the best left-back in the Premier League right now, but Evra is not far behind.
Sure, he still has plenty to work on to fully convince Moyes he is up to the task.
But with the Red Devils in desperate need of reinforcements in other areas of the pitch, selling Evra down the river seems like a wholly unnecessary evil.
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