Much was written about Shinji Kagawa, the diminutive playmaker signed from Borussia Dortmund this summer. The failure of Manchester United to land Eden Hazard meant the bosses at United talked about Kagawa in almost as glowing terms. Kagawa plays in a similar position and possesses almost all attributes as Hazard but then he did not have the whole of Europe chasing him. He was signed for a relatively modest sum of 17 million pounds and that meant less pressure than his celebrated contemporary.
WIth Hazard having shown the way with an immaculate debut performance in Chelsea colours, all eyes were on Kagawa to replicate or even better such a performance in United colours. United lost to Everton with Marounne Fellaini scoring a bullet header to seal a much deserved victory for the Merseyside club.
Coming to statistics, according to Opta stats, Kagawa made 37 passes in the final third, with 90% accuracy. He made 77 passes in total with an overall accuracy of 86%. The numbers sound pretty impressive. Santi Cazorla made 40 passes in the final third with 90% accuracy and made 85 passes in total. Pretty impressive stats for the newcomers to premier league.
Another interesting point to note is that while Cazorla is top on the Opta stats creativity list after round 1 of premier league fixtures, Kagawa does not feature in the top 5. Clearly, his passes, although made in the final third were not that impactful as say the passes Hazard made for Chelsea. Clearly, both Cazorla and Kagawa impressed for their respective clubs but in terms of impact on the result, Hazard had the last laugh.
Kagawa alone should not be blamed for United's loss on Monday. The strikers should also split the blame for not finishing well. But on evidence, Kagawa does seem like player of very high quality. If he keeps performing at this level, United would have found their passmaster, one who can dictate play and make telling contributions in the final third.
In conclusion, Hazard takes this round, purely in terms of his influence on the result. While Kagawa was solid when it comes to passing, he would have to work on impacting the results. It is still early days and there is absolutely no reason why United would not benefit from Kagawa's masterful displays.751165