Talking Numbers: A Closer Look Into Man United’s FA Cup Exit

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Manchester United have ended this cycle of the season, but they did not do it in style. The Red Devils have lost their final match before the players went on a two-week break due to international commitments, leaving things in a negative mood. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side was doing well in recent weeks – there were two consecutive wins in the Premier League and there was the win in Europa League at San Siro, which meant United were to play in the quarterfinals of the competition.

But then, when the team had the chance to book their place in the semifinal of the FA Cup and even miss out on both Chelsea and Manchester City, to play against Southampton against whom they have scored nine goals earlier this season, they lost to Leicester 3-1. It was a sobering defeat, leaving the Devils with just one realistic option of winning silverware this season. Apart from that chance, this season could be completely the same as the last one – trophyless.

Here are some of the things we learned from the Leicester defeat after looking at the numbers.

United Allow Better Chances

Manchester United created as many chances and had almost as many shots as Leicester, but it was clear throughout the matchat that it was the Foxes who had the better opportunities. United made nine shots, five of which were on target and Leicester had 11, also five of which were going on target. But it was Leicester who scored the three goals, as United allowed them the better opportunities. We do not have to go further than that opener, when Fred was careless and made a poor backpass towards Dean Henderson. That kind of a chance for a team cannot be created easily and United’s attempts were enough only to get them one goal, from Mason Greenwood.

Too Many Lost Possessions

Another thing that was hard to miss throughout the game was the fact that United were losing the ball all too often. They lost possession 27 times, compared to Leicester’s 21. And that might not seem like a too big of a difference, but with more context, it becomes obvious United were losing the ball in much more dangerous areas.

For example, 12 of Leicester’s 21 lost possessions came from their attacking players, in either wide areas or far away from their goal. But United lost the ball three times in their own third, one of them leading to a goal, and further five in central areas which meant Leicester were getting space to make strides forward.

Iheanacho’s Star Performance

After the game, we did not write all that match about Kelechi Iheanacho, but this time we definitely must do that. The Nigerian and former Man City forward scored a brace and also assisted Youri Tielemans’ goal, having a hand in all three Leicester goals. Just saying that would be enough to describe how incredibly valuable he was for the Foxes, but there is also the fact he created another two chances apart from that assist. Also, he had two interceptions and two successful tackles, helping out defensively as well. A true star performance.

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