Another season is behind us. Manchester United have not improved on the previous Premier League campaign in terms of points won, but this time around there will be more reason for optimism. The Red Devils have finished third and not sixth and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first full season as Man United manager was not so bad many have expected it to be. With the Europa League knockout stages coming in August and us having a few days to take a look back, this might be ideal time to get a fresh look at the numbers behind our Premier League season.
As you already probably know, the top goalscorers for Manchester United in the recently finished season were Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford. Both netted 17 goals, with only Mason Greenwood behind them with a double digits (10 goals). In terms of performances, it could be fair to say Martial was more getting to the numbers you might not have expected from his chances, as the Frenchman’s expected goals stood at 10.8, whilst Rashford even slightly went below his 17.8 xG.
The two of them did really well do reach these numbers and it should be noted Rashford scored four of his goals from the spot. He failed to convert another two of them, but with the arrival of Bruno Fernades he might not take penalties that often anymore.
Fred’s Erratic Dynamism
As you can already see, in this campaign evaluation, we are looking at advanced numbers and not the more generic stats. That is why we are concentrating here on Fred, as the Brazilian is one of those players that could be offering more insight into the lack of great options in the centre of the park. Nemanja Matic has been brilliant this season, Paul Pogba is playing really well in recent times, but Scott McTominay and Fred are not at their levels.
The depth in midfield is not great and Fred’s numbers show some reasons why he is not ideal option. He was the player that made the most pressures of all Man United players this season (707, almost a 100 more than the second-placed Wan-Bissaka), but he does not get much from all those pressures. He made 98 attempts to get the ball back, but was dribbled past 69 times, making his tackle completion rate at below 30 per cent! That is not great for a player in his position.
Attackers Should Get Into Better Shooting Positions
This something we often talk about in our match reports, but looking across the whole season, Man United’s most prominent attackers are not getting into great chances. On average, Rashford and Martial get their shots of 0.13 or 0.14 xG per shot, which is not great value and that should be much closer to 0.20 xG per shot.
This shows what we have seen often – our players make a lot of shots from worse positions than some elite attackers might. Also, it is important to note neither of these players is out and out striker and that might be something for United to improve or to even strive for in the market.
While You Are Here
Dean Henderson has won the Sheffield United’s Young Player of the Season award for the second year in a row. That is not a surprise, as our goalkeeper on loan at Bramall Lane has done brilliantly in his first season in the Premir League. He was an integral part of Sheffield United finishing in ninth place in their first season back in top flight in over a decade.