Up until this season, Paul Scholes’ goals from midfield had never properly been replaced at Manchester United. They were a bit of a rarity, a novelty, an occasional strike from Michael Carrick and co. that found the back of the net.
Yet, that has all changed under Louis van Gaal and the numbers certainly don’t lie in that respect.
Last year under David Moyes, United had eight goals from midfield and six of those came from Juan Mata who only joined the club in January. Given that a midfield should carry a strong goalscoring threat of their own, the numbers were indicative of how that threat really didn’t exist.
Fast forward to United under Louis van Gaal and already this season the club has scored 26 goals from midfield:
We have now scored 24 goals from midfield players this season, opposed to 8 from the previous season pic.twitter.com/07QpgN4Oav
— The Carrick Role (@TheCarrickRole) April 12, 2015
The extra two goals are from Ashley Young which the chart hasn’t accommodated for. That’s an extra 18 goals in comparison to last season with six games still to play which is a phenomenal increase and testament to the improvement under van Gaal. It takes pressure away from United’s strikers and spreads responsibility throughout the squad meaning that the club isn’t dependent on one or two players for goals.
It’s a great scenario for to be in and is certainly making it harder to teams to stop United going forward as the threat now comes from so many different places.
If Juan Mata isn’t free then Ander Herrera could pop up with a goal or Marouane Fellaini could get on the end of a cross. Having that multi-dimensional attacking threat keeps United somewhat unpredictable and as long as that continues, United will keep creating chances.