Manchester United were on a roll of good results, after getting two Premier League wins in a row and beating Club Brugge 5-0 in Europa League in the process to qualify for the next round. But then on Sunday, they drew 1-1 at Goodison Park, after a blunder from David De Gea which made things more difficult.
A 1-1 draw at Goodison is not a bad result per se – many clubs get stopped at that ground and they lose points – but given the context in which Man United are, that draw is not great either. Man United might be fifth place with 42 points, but the fact is that this side is getting closer to breaking a negative club record for points in a single Premier League season.
It looks like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first full campaign will bring in less points than that of David Moyes. For that not to happen, United will have to win eight out of their 10 remaining matches. But, let’s return to the game itself.
Here are some things we have noticed after getting a closer look at underlying numbers.
Everton Create Better Chances
Well, after a couple of weeks of decent expected goals numbers, this time that was not so great. Manchester United did not really create good open play chances, except for that Odion Ighalo opportunity late on, when his shot was saved by Jordan Pickford. In the end, Everton ended up with creating 2.10 xG and United remained behind with 1.13.
That is, essentially, a whole goal of difference and Everton seem to have been better in terms of chance quality in the eye test. Richarlison had a great chance early in the second half and Gylfi Sigurdsson another one in the stoppage time, but they were left unlucky in those situations.
Man United mostly tried with shots from distance, although one such was scored (with the help from Pickford). Oddly enough, despite all of the chances, Everton scored from a big De Gea mistake…
The Contrast Between Matic And Fred
Nemanja Matic and Fred have done well in central midfield again, but they also showed how contrasting their performances and roles can be. Matic made four successful tackles from as many attempts, measuring himself when to go hard in and when to position himself wisely, while Fred was his usual energetic self. The Brazilian made six attempts to tackle opponent, but was dribbled past five times. Matic also made four interceptions to Fred’s none.
Baines And Shaw Show What They Can Bring
It was interesting to see that the two left-backs in this match had similar roles and were both eager to offer attacking intent to their sides. In fact, both Leighton Baines and Luke Shaw have created three chances for their teammates from the left flank, mostly from the outside of the left corner of the box. They both added a few tackles on the other side of the pitch and their overall performances were left somewhat shadowed by some other unexpected events.