In the last sixteen games of their 2020-21 campaign, United scored 2.25 goals per match, but this season that number has dropped to 1.68. The defence has also substantially worsened, with the Manchester club conceding an average of 1.5 goals each game, compared to last year’s 1.18.
United’s struggle to regain their form from last season is evident in these stats.
But why has this been the case?
The Manchester club have had a plethora of injuries throughout the early stages of the season. Their captain, Harry Maguire, sustained an injury in September, and his teammates missed him at the back. A recent injury to Raphael Varane will undoubtedly unsettle the team even further.
United have also had injury troubles at the other end of the pitch. Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are both constant threats in front of goal, but without them, the team has struggled to convert as many chances as last season.
Manchester United have been in a state of disarray since Sir Alex Ferguson retired from management in 2013. In the meantime, other teams have gone from strength to strength.
Liverpool won their first-ever Premier League title and a sixth Champions League under Juergen Klopp. Chelsea, the reigning European champions, have looked outstanding under Thomas Tuchel, and Pep Guardiola continues to improve Manchester City. Even Arsenal and West Ham are in better form than United at the moment.
The current set-up at Old Trafford seems to be counterintuitive to the team competing for league titles again. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lacks the experience that the other elite managers in the Premier League have. The Norweigan also has a relatively limited line-up of high-level back-room staff.
England’s current stand-out sides all have tactical wizards at the helm, and their game plans are the reasons why they win consistently. The United gameplan seems to lack direction to the degree that their talented squad can’t compete in this year’s title race.
However, if Solskjaer can reinstall the feel-good factor he gave the players last year, and his squad doesn’t suffer any more injuries, the Norweigan may still have a chance to turn it around.
Featured image credit: Getty