Manchester United won their consecutive Premier League matches for the second time this season, but more importantly, the Red Devils have now won 10 points from the last four matches. Even those two dropped points came against Chelsea five minutes into the stoppage time. Therefore, an upturn in results is evident.
Against Bournemouth, it was not exactly what we wanted to see. In our article from Friday, we pointed out that Man United need a win where they would not stutter, where the performance would be a strong one from minute 1, all the way to minute 90. That did not happen and again the Devils had to dug deep and make a comeback. It came, ultimately, in the stoppage time and now the team will be in a good mood before their matches against Juventus and Manchester City.
Here are some interesting things the stats show us from the match at Dean Court.
Man United’s xG Improvements
Expected goals is a useful tool we often discuss here and right now it is also useful to see the changes Man United have been making recently. They are a good indicator of quality of chances a team takes and Man United have improved in that regard in the past month. While the average value of Man United’s shots in the past months – or even the past season – was around 0.11 and early into the season it was even 0.10, against Bournemouth it was close to 0.17.
While that might seem like no big deal, actually that is a huge difference. Man United had an overall xG of 2.98 and looking at the match, Mourinho’s players really could have scored more than two goals on Saturday. However, the more important thing than a single match is the trend – and Man United’s trend has improved. Team’s xG against Everton was 2.52 and 2.41 against Newcastle. Only against Chelsea it was well below 2.00, but nevertheless, it is obvious United have slightly improved in that regard. Attack is still not ideal, but the bigger problem right now lays with the leaky defence.
Rashford’s Impact Was Evident
It was not only the winning goal that made Marcus Rashford stand out. Sure, it won the match and it will mean worlds of good for the young Englishman, but it was his overall performance during the 35 minutes he was on the pitch that made things even better. After starting the match on the bench, Rashford was ready to change things around when he got the chance.
It is hard to deny that Ander Herrera made a huge impact when he was subbed on as well, but as we talked about it yesterday, it was also obvious that Herrera was giving a platform for attacking minded players to shine. Rashford came on and his display was a really good one.
He was just seven minutes on the pitch when he got himself into the best chance of the match so far, but his shot from close range was blocked. Rashford also created two chances for Pogba’s and Lingard’s shots from inside of the box. This performance could even give more headaches to Mourinho now that he is trying out lineups without Lukaku in starting XI.