Manchester United’s season is not going as planned. The Devils have just nine points from the first eight matches and the most recent loss to Newcastle United created even more chaos around the club. The team is not performing well, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer does not seem like a person that knows exactly what to do change things around and there are no clear implications that things will improve drastically.
So now we will be looking at five statistics that can show us nicely how the season has been going for United. All the numbers we are talking here are for Premier League only.
Non-Penalty Expected Goals
We have all talked about Manchester United failing to create much and non-penalty expected goals are a good way to check that out. With penalties giving 0.76 xG per shot, counting those numbers for this would not be of much use for the end product. And Man United’s expected goals without the four penalties taken are awful. With 9.09, United are better than just four teams in the league. Man City are leading with 24.00, while even Chelsea have 16.48.
Not Shooting Good Enough
Man United do take a lot of shots when compared to the rest of the league, but with just 0.086 expected goals per shot, the Devils are not taking good enough shots. And also when looking at volumes of players, we see that Marcus Rashford is averaging just 2.4 shots per 90, which is not good for a player that wants to be scoring 20+ goals per season.
Lowest Expected Goals Against
But not all things are bad at Man United at this point and that must be acknowledged. And if one thing is doing good enough job, that is the defence. Man United have conceded eight goals this season, which is not perfect, but compared to the attack is a lot better. Also, the Devils are slightly underperforming in this regard, as they were expected to concede 6.18 goals.
That is the lowest xGA in the division and there is obviously enough space for improving this side of the performances.
Try To Score Twice
The most eye-catching stats are those about goals scored, or maybe should we say “not scored”? Delete that game against Chelsea on the opening day and you get five goals in seven matches and zero matches with more than one goal scored. In fact, United only played three matches in which they scored two or more goals since Solskjaer was officially appointed on 28 March.
Not Using The Set-Pieces Well Enough
Man United have done well enough this season to create chances from set-pieces, but they have not taken them. Their xG per shot after set-pieces increases from 0.086 to 0.174, a huge difference in these numbers. Also, that means they were expected to score around two goals from set-pieces, which if you remember the matches, you could have seen a couple of them being really good chances to convert. But United scored zero goals after set-pieces.
Obviously, there are some upsides from these numbers to be slightly positive about, but on the larger scale, things are not looking good. A bad result against Liverpool could mean for Solskjaer exactly what it meant for Jose Mourinho last December.