Manchester United’s 1-1 draw against Arsenal brought the same old problems to the surface. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team once again failed to score more than once, which is the 16th time that happened to his team in 19 matches since his appointment on 28 March.
That is a really poor record and with that point on Monday night, it became official that United made their worst start in 30 years, since that 1989-90 season. Alex Ferguson was close to getting sacked back then…
But this match showed that solving current problems is going to take time, whether with this manager or this hierarchy at the club, that is another question.
Expected Goals Tell The Usual Story
Man United once again struggled to create chances. By now it feels like we are pointing this out after every single match, but that absolutely has to be said. The expected goals confirm that, as United’s total was 1.13. Basically, one goal they got and that was all they deserved.
Even that goal from Scott McTominay was mostly down to him striking the ball really well, rather than team having a clear plan of how to create big opportunities. Arsenal’s xG of 1.70 is higher nicely reflects their performance. They got one goal, but it would not have been a surprise had there been one more, especially as Lucas Torreira had that great chance 51 minutes into the match.
Pereira And Lingard Pointless In Their Roles
Playing Jesse Lingard as a number 10 and Andreas Pereira as a right winger points out a lot of issues. Some of those are in regards to a tiny squad, but others are also that those roles are not getting the best out of them. Lingard’s only quality is energetic movement around the pitch, but that is easy to defend against when you do not have anything else to complement that with.
The two of them had one dribble completed, three key passes and zero successful tackles COMBINED, plus a total of 0.19 xG from Pereira’s four shots, as Lingard had none. That is seriously appalling.
McTominay Does The Most Work
Scott McTominay was obviously United’s best player last night. Not only he scored the only goal, but he was the one that had the only real chance on the night, with that close range header. The midfielder had completed two dribbles (no other player on the pitch had more), made four out of four successful tackles (meaning he was never dribbled past) and he added two interceptions and one key pass.
Saka Shows His Talents
It was a nice surprise seeing Bukayo Saka start for Arsenal and he was one of their most dangerous players. Obviously, we still have not seen much of him, but he seemed lively all around the pitch and he did his fair share of work. He made FIVE successful tackles from the wing (who said Pereira?), created two chances and never looked intimidated by the occasion. Good for him and for Arsenal, who will have to pay attention to how they will integrate him in the team.