Talking Numbers: A Deeper Dive Into Manchester United’s Narrow Win Against West Brom

Manchester United have returned to Premier League action with an important win against West Bromwich Albion, their first at Old Trafford in the Premier League this season. That 1-0 victory was not pretty and as we mentioned in our piece just after the game, it was obvious this was far from what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to see from his team. Nevetheless, three points are three points and Man United really needed them, to start climbing up the ladder of the Premier League standings.

Bruno Fernandes scored the only goal from the penalty spot, but here is what we have seen after further focusing on this win through the underlying numbers.

Manchester United Create Enough For A Comfortable Win

It is completely fair to say that this Man United win was far from pretty and Solskjaer and the players admitted that after the game. It is also a fact that Man United were lucky not to concede before the scored the only goal of the match. But it is also a fact that Manchester United have created just about enough to win this game more comfortably than 1-0. Nemanja Matic said after the game the team need to start ‘killing off’ these matches earlier and expected numbers show that.

Manchester United created 2.43 expected goals worth of chances, while West Brom remained at just 0.44 xG. That is almost perfectly two expected goals more than West Brom and Man United really should have done this match with at least a 2-0 win. However, it is also important to win when the team is not playing up to their potential.

Martial Moves And Grooves

Anthony Martial was really into this game and he did his best to try and offer something new in United’s attack. Not only he made four shots, as many as Bruno Fernandes, but he also made nine dribbles throughout the match, completing six of them. He was able to progress the ball forward even when playing as a centre-forward against a defensively oriented team.

Fernandes Showcases Creativity When Given Space

Bruno Fernandes once again did what he does best – he was creative, he was trying to make high risk moves that were close to paying high rewards on a few occasions. Fernandes not only scored another penalty this season – which is a very important quality he offers, too – but he also created five chances for those around him, further showcasing how much importance he holds in this team. His qualities are obvious to everyone, hopefully he will get more creative support from his team-mates.

Townsend Has A Lot Of Work

And finally, one player from the away team showed that he can be good even under a lot of pressure. Conor Townsend played at left-back for West Brom, being directly pit against Juan Mata and it is fair to say he did well despite having a lot to do. Townsend made five blocks, he cleared four balls from danger and also made three interceptions, which helped ease some of the pressure the Baggies were withstanding.

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