Talking Numbers: Man United Not Taking Chances, Rashford Does Well Nevertheless

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 10: Marcus Rashford of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on December 10, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

Manchester United have had a poor week. It started on Monday with a 1-1 draw against Wolves and it ended on Saturday with a 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace. The 4-0 win against Chelsea in the opening round now seems so distant, as Devils are left with just four points in the opening three matches. It means they are level on points with nine more teams in the league and their performances could be rated from best to worst in order of how they were played. That is not good.

Should Have Won But Lost

What is not good either is that this is the second match in a week that Man United objectively should have won, but in the end they are left with just a point in total. Man United had accumulated expected goals at 2.24 against Palace, letting in shots worth 0.68 goals, but still managed to lose it. Understat’s algorithm has calculated that, based on quality and quantity of shots, Man United had 78 per cent chance of winning the match.

Some might say Devils were unlucky, and they were with that penalty, as we will point out further below, but the entirety of the performance was bland. The team lacked creativity and a real attacking plan against a team defending deep. In the end, they had enough good chances, but two goals they should not have conceded made all the difference.

After three matches, Man United were expected to concede two goals, with just 3.47 non-penalty goals expected to score. Five of their six they actually scored were non-penalty goals. What does that mean? United were a bit lucky with goals they did score and have underperformed defensively…

Rashford Lively And Unlucky

Rashford had a fine game, despite not scoring from the spot. His shot was a good one, of a decent height and speed, sending the keeper in the opposite direction. In the end, it was the post stopping him from scoring. On the other hand, Rashford was trying to create things from the left wing, making three successful dribbles in advanced areas of the pitch, had three shots besides the penalty (although from tough positions) and created one chance.

Ayew With A Surprise Performance

It was Jordan Ayew who made a big surprise with his performance at Old Trafford, especially in the first half. Sure, it helps when you score, but it must be noted he was very composed when he got that opportunity. But that is not all he did. Former Swansea City forward was good in build-up play, keeping the ball for his teammates on several occasions and passing it on to continue the attack. He also completed two dribbles and won three aerial duels. With just 24 touches of the ball, he was able to offer relief to his teammates on a couple of occasions. In the second half, he did not make us much influence, especially as Palace decided to remain deeper and deeper. His goal against Man United was only his second for Crystal Palace in the league and first since January.

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