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

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Manchester United are already out of a competition. The League Cup campaign is over for the Red Devils, as they crashed out in third round, following a 1-0 loss to West Ham United. The match at Old Trafford was decided by Manuel Lanzini’s early strike, to make it first win for David Moyes over Man United since getting sacked in 2014.

This was also the first win West Ham have had at Old Trafford since 2007, showing just how long that winless streak was for the Hammers. But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s much changed starting XI allowed it for West Ham to progress further in the competition, as United did not show enough cohesion in attack, ultimately failing to be a bigger threat to their opponents. We already wrote after the game what we learned from this loss which will allow United to further focus on the remaining three competitions, but now let’s have a look at some of the numbers.

Wayward Shooting Not Helped By Positioning

Manchester United have made a total of 27 shots in this match. They conceded quite early and had since tried to get back into the game. When the result had to be chased, especially in the latter stages of the game, it became an increasingly more urgent affair for them. Thus, it was no surprise to see United shoot that often. But a closer look tells a story of why there were no goals coming their way. Of the 27 shots, only six went on target for Alphonse Areola to take care of. A total of 14 shots, just over half of all shots, came from the distance, from the outside of the box. Another six shots came from tougher angles from the inside of the box… What this actually means is that United’s attacking play failed to get the team into more of those dangerous opportunities, as the players were forced to take shots from worse positions…

Lack Of Passes Into Dangerous Areas

We wrote last night about United’s lack of cohesion among the four of the most attacking players that started the match – Sancho, Mata, Lingard and Martial. But another look at Mata’s and Lingard’s passing, the two of those players who are more inclined to make good passes for others, shows how much United struggled in getting the ball into dangerous areas more often. Juan Mata made 35 passes in total, Lingard 45, but looking at the map of the passes they made in the final third shows a big ‘circle’ around the box and the most dangerous areas. West Ham’s low block had a big part in that, but Man United players generally did not how to get past it. There were no runs from Sancho or Martial, there were not many passing combinations between these four players and that made it easier for West Ham to get a clean sheet.

Another important thing to mention is here is that there was not much successful dribbles from Man United players, which could have helped beating players and stretching West Ham’s defence. There were 14 of them in total, but three of them in Man United’s half and too many did not resulting in something of more value for the team…

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