Three goalless draws in succession: Manchester United are doing much better defensively lately but are struggling to score.
The last time United went three consecutive games without scoring was in 2015, when Louis van Gaal was manager. Ironically, the last of those three games was also against Crystal Palace.
The last time #mufc recorded three 0-0 draws in a row was October 2015 under Louis van Gaal. The third of those 0-0s was also against Crystal Palace in the Premier League #mulive [bbc]
— utdreport (@utdreport) March 3, 2021
Another concerning statistic is that United have now registered six stalemates in the Premier League this season – the most of any side in the competition and the joint most they have ever registered.
6 – Manchester United have had more goalless draws than any other team in the Premier League this season. This is their joint-most in a single campaign in the competition (6), along with 2004-05 and 2016-17. Gloom. pic.twitter.com/izef2lR9IL
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 3, 2021
It is also ironic that this should have happened under a manager who is credited with bringing an attacking and swashbuckling style back to the Red Devils. Of course, the reconstruction of this Manchester United side remains a work in progress, but nonetheless, an inability to score in three consecutive games feels like a backward step in that development.
It is true that United were, until this trio of blanks, the top goalscorers in the division. But that statistic may have been skewed by the anomalous 9-0 victory over 10-man Southampton. Excluding that tie leaves them beneath Leicester and Liverpool and level with Leeds United in terms of goals scored.
Today signalled the return of Edinson Cavani and also the complete absence from the squad of Anthony Martial, who has absorbed much of the blame from fans for this season’s failures in front of goal. Yet it was a case of ‘plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose’ as the Frenchman himself might say – the changes manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made seemed to make no difference to the outcome.
Both Scott McTominay and Dan James have made some important contributions in recent weeks but when looking for something special to transform a frustrated offence, they are arguably not skilful or unpredictable enough to be game changers under normal circumstances. The bold call in this case would have been to unleash Amad Diallo after an hour or so but Solskjaer did not have the faith to do it.