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Analysing some underlying metrics by Man United this season.

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Tactical Analysis, facts and transfer Rumours: Some underlying metrics/ stats by Man United this season.

BraggsSports ( will take on a deep dive into the Manchester United team so far this season to unravel some tactical analysis, stats as well as if possible some transfers which they should consider this summer.

HT: Aston Villa 1-0 Man United (FT: Aston Villa 1-3), yesterday 9/05/21

There was a stat mentioned yesterday that this season, Man United has been behind 1-0 more times than they’ve been up 1-0. In the Premier League this season. There have been 202 games in which a team was losing at half time. Only 16 of those games (8%) have resulted in comeback wins. Man United is responsible for five of them (31%). That’s wild.

This stat is wilder than the one above: Man United have gone ahead in just 13 games this season in the Premier League. Only Wolves (10), West Brom and Sheffield United have gone ahead less than them. It’s something they need to work on but I do believe it’s a personnel-first issue.

Bruno Fernandes goal involvement stats

I haven’t done the research but I think/know both Van Nistelrooy (44+6) and Cristiano Ronaldo (42+8) reached 50 goal-involvements in a season for Man United. I’m not sure who else has in the last, say, 30 years. Surely York/Cole should have something close??

Fernandes is currently on 44 (27+17)

In any case, Man United don’t need a defensive-minded midfielder unless Pogba (1) stays and (2) he is going to play deeper. That only happens if they sign Jadon Sancho or if Mason Greenwood suddenly matures into an excellent right-sided midfielder.
The point: They need a playmaker who’ll sit in midfield.

The fact that ~35% of United’s sustained progression from phases 1 and 2 come from Shaw – yes, I have calculated this, is actually quite abysmal for a top club. Man United need a proficient playmaker to sit deep and control games who is also good out of possession. They don’t have that.

Should Man United consider a Xabi Alonso type of player transfer?

If there’s a Xabi Alonso type of player out there right now, but there isn’t sadly because he [Alonso] was actually quite a niche player. Man United should pay upwards of £60m for him [Alonso type of player] if he could give them 7-8 years elite level football. Alonso’s archetype is absolutely perfect for their pivot at the moment.

I will just mention one person here; Brozovic [Inter Milan]. He’s actually a no. 1 choice if realism wasn’t a factor but because it is – he’s just won a title and is a key member under Antonio Conte – he’s not even a consideration. Other names who could be available, I’ll say Rice, Ndombele, Camavinga, Elyess Skhiri from Koln FC, Tchouameni, (Partey maybe) etc.

You know how Bruno Fernandes plays without Pogba? The amount of creative load he has in those games? Well, it’s ~30% of the team by himself. Jadon Sancho has the same for Dortmund when they’re fully fit. He is *definitely* their main man and it isn’t close.

An Example if Man United signs Sancho

A front four of Pogba, Fernandes, Sancho and Cavani is amongst the best in world football. The depth with Rashford, Greenwood, Martial (if he stays) and Van de Beek means Man United can rotate a lot if needed. Again, I’m not saying that should be the starting four but could be a very balanced one.

Editor’s Pick

Imagine these possibilities:
LM: Pogba, Sancho, Rashford, Martial
AM: Fernandes, Pogba, Sancho, Van de Beek
RM: Sancho, Rashford, Greenwood, Pogba
CF: Cavani, Martial, Greenwood, Rashford

The amount of depth is incredible just by adding one player and retaining a couple. Fundamentally, I think Solskjær drops Pogba back to CM and starts Sancho, Rashford and Cavani/Martial with Greenwood still finding his way into a more prominent role. However, the effectiveness of that, of course, does depend on who partners Pogba in that deeper role.

If a framework falls during rotation it indicates:

  • The rotation players are significantly worse than starters
  • The framework isn’t diverse enough to satisfy rotation
  • There is some overreliance on starters to uphold the framework
  • The framework is too fundamentally weak

The reasons why Ole Gunnar doesn’t rotate the squad that much

Ole Gunnar definitely knows the problem exists hence why he’s reluctant to rotate as much at times. However, the *why* is still yet to be discovered though my supposition is that it’s all the above in different ways. How that is solved is enough issue entirely.

The notion of fitness doesn’t apply seeing as though this has happened all season. It’s the very reason why Van D Beek was held to Bruno’s standards by fans (and wrongly so). The framework is currently attached to personnel and Ole needs to loosen that a bit over the summer.

Obviously i don’t rate Ole highly but simply doesn’t mean i don’t support him or don’t want him to succeed. I don’t rate him simply because of these few things. Man United are too dependent on their key players which is Why others struggle to replace them because there’s no foundation in place for them to follow, they’re basically expected to do exactly what the ones they’re replaced with did which is impossible.

For example: De Gea vs Henderson

The ‘debate’ between de Gea and Henderson isn’t settled via a game-by-game review. Good players have good games. Rather, devise a criteria for what Man United’s GK should be, choose this whole season as a starter sample and then analyze each player based on that.

Lets hear from you in the comment section on what you think. 

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