Talking Numbers: A Closer Look Into Man United’s Carrow Road Win

Manchester United’s performance against Norwich City was one of their best this season. A comfortable 3-1 victory was even more comfortable than the scoreline suggests and the Devils have now gone to two wins in a row away from home. Norwich were too naive yet again in this match – and most importantly – clearly lacking in quality.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team has had a fine evening at Carrow Road with several players enjoying themselves. Fred did a lot better than what we have been used to seeing and Scott McTominay showed again that he is slowly growing into an important player in this squad.

But here are some other things worth talking, after we had a look at some numbers.

Expected Goals Sky Rocketing

We like taking a look at expected goals models after watching Man United matches and this time we especially liked it. What it showed is exactly what we have seen. Man United were clearly the better team and could have easily scored more than three goals.

Understat’s model sees Man United having 4.51 expected goals, whilst Norwich remained at just 0.89. And these numbers seem very intuitive, too. With United having two penalties, which logically inflate the xG, United could have scored anywhere between four and five. That is exactly what would have happened if United scored either one or both penalties.

The Devils also had some open play chances that were not taken, like that close-range header from Anthony Martial or Marcus Rashford’s left-footed shot from the 52nd minute of the match.

Norwich’s Openness Leads To Chances From All Around

Norwich City did what they usually do. They played their expansive football, they tried to press and play out of the back and all of those things backfired at them. With United scoring goals and creating chances, Norwich were starting to play even more nervously, becoming more and more naive in their defensive problems.

That led to Man United creating chances from all over the place. And the fact that neither of Man United players had more than two key passes hides the fact that seven different players had made at least one key pass.

Rashford And Martial Function Well Together

Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial played very well together and they seemed to be working harmoniously at Carrow Road. Rashford was particularly vibrant, completing five of his eight attempted dribbles, while Martial had made four shots, but all four of them from the heart of the opposition box.

That is exactly what a winger and a striker should be doing and Norwich were hurting after their performances.

McLean Works Tirelessly

Emiliano Buendia was maybe one of Norwich’s most important players and he did a lot of defensive work, but Kenny McLean has made even more in that regard. McLean managed to make eight successful tackles from 11 attempts, whilst also trying to be creative and progressive at the other end. It was an interesting performance from the Scottish midfielder, despite the easy and somewhat naive loss of his team.

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