Yes, it is international break yet again. And yes, we hate it too, not because it cannot be fun – it will be fun this time to see which teams will all qualify for EURO 2020 – but in the end, there are no Manchester United games. That is why we will take the opportunity to take this short break from club football to take a look at what we have seen from Man Untied since the start of the campaign and see what we learned that maybe we did not know at the beginning of the season.
Here are the things we want to talk about
Defence Is Doing Well
Manchester United had a terrible start and after a 1-0 loss at Bournemouth’s Dean Court, it was the worst start after 11 league matches since 1986. Whilst that will not give us another Sir Alex Ferguson this time, it is worth noting that throughout that run of poor results the defence was doing quite well. That was obvious by the number of goals conceded and also by the expected goals against model. Now, after 12 rounds of Premier League season behind us, Man United have the best xGA of all teams. Even better than Liverpool.
That means that the underlying metrics were always saying United have been doing well defensively, even though there are still clear issues, such as defensive set-pieces.
Rashford And Martial Should Not Do It All
When you look at the squad Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has, there are two names that are the only logical solution for scoring dozens of goals – Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford. But then again, when you look at the underlying numbers and see who is creating the most and the best chances per 90 minutes, it is again that these two forwards pop up. It is simple – there are no creative enough midfielders offering that spark that is necessary for Rashford and Martial (and Dan James, after all) for them to be able to score the goals they need to score. They should not be asked to do it all.
Europa League Offers A Good Platform
We do not like that Man United have to play on Thusrday nights, since that means Europa League football, but since we are there, then let’s get the most out of it. And Man United managed to qualify with two games to spare and without conceding a goal in a group that consists of AZ Alkmaar, Partizan Belgrade and Astana. Solskjaer has given the chances to youngsters to play and Brandon Williams in particular took the most out of those opportunities.
The Signings Are All Making An Impact
This is how it should be, but it is good to see that for once the signings are fitting in properly and are making an impact. Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been really good at right-back, quite reliable, whilst Harry Maguire’s odd mistake is nothing to the calmness he offers with and without the ball. Daniel James shined early on after signing for United and the Wales international will be backed to only do better in months to come.