Talking Numbers: A Closer Look Into Man United’s West Ham Victory

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Manchester United are finally getting on the right track. The Red Devils have won consecutive matches for the first time since early December with their late 1-0 win against West Ham United. Ralf Rangnick’s side had a tough job against the Hammers, their fellow rivals in the race for top four, after a surprisingly good and consistent campaign from David Moyes’ side.

Man United ultimately won the match, thanks to Marcus Rashford’s late goal, deep into the stoppage time. As we will see, the England international has brought the result United thoroughly deserved, something that maybe would not have been said about other matches, such as the one against Aston Villa recently. After the match, we wrote about the things we learned from this match, but let’s now take a look at some numbers and advanced metrics to see what else can be concluded about this United’s victory.

Expected Goals On Man United’s Side

As we had the chance to see while watching the game, Man United were the better side on the day and the numbers are further proving that eye test to be correct. Man United ended the game at Old Trafford with 1.8 expected goals to their name, leaving West Ham at lowly 0.3 xG. That nicely says how much better United were, as it would not have been a surprise if they were to have scored two goals in this match. Man United made 18 shots, albeit just three on target, but were still insisting on pushing against West Ham. The visitors only managed one shot on target from just six total shots, making it obvious just how more dominant Man United were.

Greenwood Wants To Do The Work With The Ball

Man United started with the quartet of Mason Greenwood, Anthony Elanga, Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Greenwood, again on the right, was especially eager to do the work, but mostly only when he had the ball at his feet. The youngster made five dribbling attempts on the wing, four of which were successful, progressing the ball further up the pitch and giving United opportunities to continue the attack. He did not press much, on mere eight occasions, and he managed to make two shots throughout the 81 minutes he was on the pitch. Greenwood did not look too dangerous, but he was trying to make things happen, also adding six progressive passes to his display.

United’s Mid-Block Hinders West Ham

Once upon a time, when Rangnick just arrived at Man United, many have expected his team to become a pressing machine. Clearly, the German has realised that will not be possible with the squad he has at disposal and has dropped that idea since. But against West Ham, it was interesting to see United’s pressing block in the central areas of the pitch, with Bruno Feranndes, Fred and Scott McTominay forming a triangle of players willing to chase opponents. All three of them made 17 pressures, winning the ball back on 18 occasions in total. Of 51 pressures, 30 were in the central third of the pitch, making it hard for West Ham to bypass that part of the pitch, giving Man United more opportunities to stay high up the pitch and try to dominate.

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