After Chris Smalling, we have decided to have two players in today’s season ending player review. The reason for that is quite simple, one of them is Lee Grant who was close to not even making his Manchester United debut previous season. The other one is Jesse Lingard, the 26-year-old who was expected to finally reach his peak.
Talking about Lee Grant’s season is quite simple – as much as the last summer’s transfer was a shocking one, equally his (lack of) playing time was expected. He did not feature, as David De Gea and Sergio Romero are basically the best goalkeeping pairing of the Premier League and no one really expected him to play at all. On the other hand, Lingard was expected to build on his 2017-18 season, during which he showed improvements, especially midway through the season.
The attacking midfielder enjoyed some great performances during that period and now, approaching his peak years, it was expected that he would make another step up.
Appearances across all competitions
But ultimately, that did not happen. Lingard did not feature as much as some might have expected, making 36 appearances across four competitions. In his 27 matches in Premier League, Lingard scored four goals and added three assists and he managed to only add one FA Cup goal and one League Cup assist. But the minutes played tell a much more refined image of how much Lingard actually played.
His six appearances in Champions League amounted to 296 minutes, just over three full matches played. This highlights well that Lingard was never in the first plan, he was mostly rotated and tried in several different positions. His place in the starting XI was never warranted.
As for Lee Grant, that is quite simply. He played only 20 minutes in the entire season, in the League Cup match against Derby County. That match Man United did not win and Grant was simply not in the running for the place in starting lineup.
Did they perform above or below the expectations?
It is quite easy to conclude that Lingard played below his expectations during last season. With four goals and three assists in Premier League he was around his expected goals and expected assists numbers. However, the fact those underlying metrics were so low, tells the story of Lingard’s poor attacking involvement. Sure, his movements of the ball can be useful and his energy is often higher than that of the most of his teammates, but when things need to be produced, Lingard is simply not there.
With just 1.72 shots per 90 that is nicely illustrated and according to Understat, Lingard had only five good chances, per xG. Four of those five he converted, while the others mostly came from poor positioning and tough situations.
From Grant, on the other hand, nothing was truly expected.
Will they be part of Manchester United during the 2019-20 season?
Yes, both players are expected to be part of Manchester United during the 2019-20 season. Grant will most probably continue being the third goalkeeper, as he is a domestic player, which is useful for European competitions. Lingard, however, is even expected to start negotiating a new contract with the club in the near future.