Talking Numbers: A Closer Look Into Man United’s Unconvincing Wolves Win

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Manchester United maybe failed last weekend to get a good result against Saints when they were the better team, but this time the result ended up being completely the opposite against Wolverhampton. Man United got all three points at the Molineux despite not being at the top of their game and despite the fact it was Bruno Lage’s team who had more and better chances. In the end, it was Mason Greenwood’s goal that saved the day for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team, but after looking at the things we learned right after the game, now let’s have a closer look at some of the numbers and what we can take from them.

The Beaty Of Expected Goals

On their opening day of the season, Man United accumulated 1.5 expected goals in terms of the quality of the shots taken and they ended up scoring five goals against Leeds United. The following weekend, they got to 1.5 expected goals once more, but managed to just once get the ball past Southampton goalkeeper, earning a 1-1 draw. But this time, United’s attack was far worse and the team won. Man United accumulated just 0.6 expected goals, but Greenwood’s very good finishing from a tight angle was enough to score one goal, while being lucky that Wolves could not break the deadlock despite accumulating 1.8 expected goals. That is more xG than United managed in any of their three games. And yet, their poor finishing was there to stop them once again, as Wolves now have no points and no goals scored after the first 270 minutes of football.

Man United’s Poor Chance Creation

Man United not only had just 0.6 expected goals in this match, but they also had enough shots – 10. The problem is that those shots were from very low value, except for that early Greenwood chance when he shot off target following Daniel James’ cross. But if we take a look at those 10 shots, we will see just three went on target. One was Fred’s long-range shot which was not problem for Wolves’ Rui Patricio. The other one, excluding Greenwood’s goal, is Pogba’s shot from a similar, tough position which was not going to make it a huge problem for the hosts. Man United’s midfield was not efficient and that resulted in slow attacks which failed to produce very good goal opportunities.

Greenwood Does The Most

And at the end, we still have to talk about Mason Greenwood. Man United’s young star not only came to the rescue once again, but his overall performance showed he was eager to play, trying things out when the midfield was not functioning properly and getting himself on the ball. He scored the goal, had two more shots, but also had three successful dribbles out of four attempts. He even created two chances for his teammates, being the team leader in that regard as well. Despite playing as a centre-forward, Greenwood made a progressive pass in the final third, showing he was trying to move out of his position and get things done, before returning to his place in attack.

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