Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been under scrutiny this season for some questionable results and while fans are right to be concerned, has the situation been exaggerated?
The start of the campaign did not go as planned as the legendary Norwegian’s men were put to the sword by Crystal Palace, losing at 3-1 at home.
United would then scrape by Brighton undeservedly 3-2 only to be humiliated by Tottenham Hotspur 6-1 at Old Trafford.
Wins vs Newcastle and PSG would be marred by a drab draw with Chelsea but a 5-0 destruction of RB Leipzig would soon let that be forgotten.
Back to back disappointing defeats to Arsenal and Istanbul Basaksehir resulted in Solskjaer’s job being on the line and it was only a win vs Everton before the international break that bought him some time.
First 12 Games in All Competitions
13/14: 6–3–3, 18GF – 13GA
14/15: 4–4–4, 17GF – 18GA
15/16: 9–1–2, 25GF – 9GA
16/17: 7–2–3, 21GF – 11GA
17/18: 9–2–1, 33GF – 6GA
18/19: 5–4–3, 20GF – 18GA
19/20: 3–6–3, 12GF – 10GA
20/21: 7–1–4, 26GF – 17GA
We started 17/18 very well. pic.twitter.com/HCGLqph6ew
— UtdArena (@utdarena) November 12, 2020
When considering the stat above, there are both causes for concern and causes for optimism over the period of time in question.
For example, David Moyes’ season in charge in which Manchester United would eventually finish seventh is only slightly different to this season’s start.
Jose Mourinho‘s last season in charge when he imploded saw that side concede just one goal more than this current team.
The positives are that even in Louis van Gaal‘s first season when United conceded more than they scored they went on to finish in a top-four spot.
The other good news is they’ve scored the second-best amount of goals as well as having a decent goal difference in comparison to other seasons.
It’s also important to note the 6-1 defeat to Tottenham makes the numbers for this season an anomaly a little bit so the goal difference and the goals conceded would typically look better if it was a ‘normal’ season.
Manchester United have had a history of not making the best starts and were typically strong finishers under Sir Alex Ferguson, picking up their best form from the busy winter period onwards so there’s hope that history repeats itself in that regard.
However, in such an unpredictable and open season it feels as though the club are being left behind already as they sit in 14th in the league.
On the other hand, win their game in hand and United would be just five points from the top so by no means is it as hopeless as fans felt.
United have had some world class goalkeepers over the years and some entertaining ones too. Take our quiz below to find out how much you know about United’s number 1’s, past and present.