Manchester United finished sixth in Premier League 2018-19, with 66 points. They won 19 matches and drew nine, while losing the remaining ten games. With 65 goals scored and 54 conceded, Man United were far from the top four finish and with a worse defence than Wolves, Everton, Leicester, Crystal Palace and Newcastle. Compared to last season, United not only finished four spots lower than in 2018, but they won 15 points less this season and conceded 26 goals more than the 28 in previous campaign. There were also six wins less, another clear sign of how bad things went.
With expected goals at 68.62 and expected goals against at 52.30, Man United slightly underperformed their underlying numbers in both columns. According to Understat’s expected points, Man United were expected to finish fourth in the league, ahead of Tottenham, Wolves and then Arsenal in seventh. With 0.13 xG per shot, Man United were creating decent chances, but overall, did not shoot as often as some of the other top six clubs. Their xGA per shot of 0.11 is simply not good enough and teams like Liverpool should be the model – shutting up the shop and when conceding shots, conceding those from wider areas.
Where Did Goals Come From?
Man United scored 65 goals and 44 of them came from open play – almost 68 percent. That is not good enough for a team chasing Champions League – Devils scored staggering nine penalties and 12 goals from various types of set-pieces. While scoring goals from the spot is always great, Man United ground out too many points via penalty, which is not an ideal long-term tool. Scoring from open play should be paramount, especially when having a leaky defence. Tottenham and Chelsea scored 46 from open play (and conceded much less overall), whilst Arsenal were even better with 52.
When Were Man United Scoring?
Man United scored 35 goals in the first half of their matches and 30 in the second half. The Devils were the slowest in the opening quarter of an hour of both halves, scoring just seven goals in the first 15 minutes of the match. They were the best before the halves would finish – 15 goals between 31-45 minutes and 13 after the 76th minute. Of course, United were also shooting more often during those periods.
Who Was Leading The Attack?
How much things have been messed up this season for Man United tells the fact that Paul Pogba was the best goalscorer in Premier League. He scored 13 goals, Romelu Lukaku came second with 12, while only Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford were the only other players with double digits – they both scored 10.
Pogba’s expected goals are even close to 16, which means he underperformed in front of the goal, but scrap all those penalties he was taking and his expected goals shrink to 8.27, which is more accurate. Romelu Lukaku was expected to score 13 goals and Rashford between 11 and 12. But the more intriguing part is that Rashford and Pogba were the ones making the most shots – 3.20 and 3.14 per 90 minutes, respectively.
However, with both of them making too many shots from long distance and low value chances, it is obvious why their expected goals were at such a low level for high volume shooters.