Manchester United crashed out of the FA Cup to lowly Championship side Middlesbrough yesterday and some of the match statistics pinpoint exactly why Ralf Rangnick’s men lost the game.
Statman Dave notes that United enjoyed 71% possession, had 30 shots, created 25 chances of which seven were big chances, yet scored only one goal.
Manchester United’s attack vs Middlesbrough:
30 total shots
25 chances created
7 big chances created
1 goal scored
A poor display of finishing in front of goal for Manchester United cost them tonight. 🥅 pic.twitter.com/fVgbeGsMQA
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) February 4, 2022
Other stats from Crab Stats Graphics showed that the Red Devils’ expected goals figure for the match was 4.2, meaning that on an average day they would be expected to score 4.2 goals from the chances they created.
This is the regular time racing chart. I don't have stuff set up to deal with extra time. pic.twitter.com/26AdfXcnal
— Crab Stats Graphics (@CrabStats) February 4, 2022
Squawka noted that the main culprits were Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes, who had 10, six and six shots, respectively, without scoring a single goal between them.
Cristiano Ronaldo (10), Marcus Rashford (6) and Bruno Fernandes (6) had 22 shots between them against Middlesbrough.
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 4, 2022
Although the one goal that United did score through Jadon Sancho would have been enough to win the game had it not been for a very dubious VAR decision on the Middlesbrough goal, it is nonetheless true that Rangnick’s men should have buried the game long before that incident.
Ronaldo also missed a penalty after Paul Pogba was brought down in the box in the first half.
Since Rangnick’s appointment, United have improved defensively, conceding just eight goals in his 11 games at the helm. Previous manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s last 11 games saw the Reds ship 23 goals.
However, improvement at the other end has not been so marked. Rangnick’s Reds have scored 15 compared to 13 in Solskjaer’s last 11 games.
While Bruno Fernandes arguably squandered the best chances of the game yesterday, it is perhaps the form of Ronaldo that could make the biggest difference to United’s fortunes as the season continues.
With the side now controlling games so impressively and being so much steadier at the back, finding the back of the net could be the final piece of the puzzle and there is every reason for fans to stay positive about the rest of the season despite the depressing defeat yesterday.