Talking Numbers: A Deeper Look Into Man United’s FA Cup win

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Manchester United are through to the sixth round of the FA Cup, as they managed to get past West Ham United, but only after extra-time. It was a tough match for the Devils who started in a changed starting XI, with the likes of Alex Telles, Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek and Mason Greenwood all in the lineup. The goal from Scott McTominay, which got the Devils their 1-0 win, came only after 97 minutes of play, halfway through the first half of the extra-time.

It was not maybe something United fans expected, as there was the need for the additional 30 minutes, but the most important for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his players will be that they are through and still within a chance of winning the FA Cup. Three more wins will get the Devils there, but those three are the toughest ones. The road is still very long and let’s first see what will the quarterfinal draw tell us.

Yesterday, we wrote about the four things we learned after watching the game, but this time we will be taking a closer look into some of the numbers surrounding this game.

Manchester United Dominate Numbers

Manchester United truly dominated this match. There was the fact that 62 per cent of the time, the ball was in United’s possession and that is accros 120 minutes of football. Man United made more than 1000 touches of the ball, completing 729 passes, almost double the number of West Ham’s passes. They also made 17 shots on goal, five of them on target and also 11 of those shots were coming from the inside of the West Ham’s box. It was pure domination, as West Ham were ready to concede all of that for the hope of a counter-attack that will shock the hosts. That never came their way, as David Moyes’ team chose a truly risky strategy.

Rashford’s Dribbles Tell Plenty

Manchester United attempted 27 dribbles in this match, but more than a third of them came from Marcus Rashford. The Englishman attempted 10 dribbles on his own and that might sound great – he was taking on people, trying to create something from his abillity to get past players, but this time, that was not an ideal tactic. The reason for that is that Rashford only managed to make three successful dribbles.

The reasons for that are simple – West Ham played with huge numbers of players behind the ball, making it tough for Rashford to have enough space to complete his move and progress the ball. But United’s usual tactic of relying on individual flashes of brilliance from the front four players was not a good option for this match, where the team effort is needed to break up the opposition.

Fred Loses His Head Again

Fred was the player that had the most of the ball in this match. He made a staggering 155 touches of the ball and he made 139 passes, more than a pass per minute, being by far the busiest player on the pitch in that regard. Yet, the Brazilian still managed to ‘lose his head’ when trying to get the ball back. Fred can be erratic in such attempts, as he attempted nine tackles to win the ball back, but he was dribbled past on six occasions. That is still something he seriously needs to be working on, as it can often leave his team vulnerable. Maybe not so much in this game against this opposition, but there will be those who will know how to get the most of that.

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