Talking Numbers: A Closer Look Into Man United’s Terrible Leicester Loss

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Manchester United have gone to Leicester last weekend in the hope of getting three points and getting closer to the top of the table, but they are now only getting further away from it, losing 4-2 to the Brendan Rodgers’ side. And that is not only points-wise, but also in terms of performance and general feeling around the way this team plays.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team was disjointed, imbalanced and lacking any clear plan – everything opposite to the way Leicester looked in this game. On Sunday, we wrote about the three things we learned from this game, but today we will take a look at some of the numbers and underlying metrics to further show what the game at the King Power Stadium was about.

The Expected Goals

We start from the expected goals, which once again paint a great picture in terms of what we had seen on the pitch. We thought after the game that Leicester had far more chances and far more better ones in terms of quality and this metric shows us the same. Leicester scored four goals after creating 3.1 expected goals, while Man United scored twice with the total of 1.3 xG. That is about right in terms of the final score as well, as Leicester got a clear two-goal difference in the end. They made a total of 22 shots, a staggering amount, with 11 of them going on target. Thus, David de Gea’s seven saves were rendered unimportant, as he still was not able to keep four shots out of reaching the net. Man United, on the other hand, made 18 shots, but of far lower value, and only six of them went on target.

Leicester Strikers Have Plenty Of Fun

This match was a good indicator of what does not work at Man United, while working at Leicester. For example – the attack. Leicester’s forwards simply had fun, due to being organised and hard-working with and without the ball, not just one of those two things. All of Jamie Vardu, Kelechi Iheanacho, Patson Daka and James Maddison made three shots on Untied’s goal. Those 12 shots contributed to two Leicester’s goals. To make things worse, Patson Daka had spent just 14 minutes on the pitch, but he managed three shots on target from 14 touches and one goal to confirm the victory. Where was United’s defence to prevent all of this from happening?

The Difference In High Pressure

We already mentioned Leicester did well everything that United did not and high pressing is exactly one of those things. When we look at the numbers, we see the entire Leicester team made 260 pressures, 73 of which were successful, meaning they gained the ball 73 times from those situations. Man United, on the other hand, had just 142 pressure attempts, winning possession on 37 occasions. That is a stark difference in work rate which was especially epitomes with attackers. While Vardy and Iheanacho, their strikers, made a total of 62 pressures themselves, Ronaldo, Sancho and Greenwood got that number up to 34. If you factor in Fernandes, those four players still did less pressing-wise than Leicester’s two strikers. Man United are not a pressing team and they are getting further away from becoming one with the squad they have. With the way the modern football is developing, high pressing seems to be a very important weapon for every big team…

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