In the aftermath of Manchester United’s draw with Newcastle at the weekend, fans have raised concerns over the lack of minutes that are actually being played in games of late.
And with questions over the refereeing of Sunday’s clash at Old Trafford also being asked, the stats seem to suggest that these worries are fully justified.
The ball was 'in-play' for 53.4% of the total match time (including injury time) – 20 games have seen a lower ratio than this in the 2022-23 Premier League.
Overall match time was 98 mins, 17 secs – the ball was 'in-play' for 52 mins, 31 secs of that.
— The Analyst (@OptaAnalyst) October 17, 2022
With the total duration of the 0-0 draw at the weekend being 98 minutes and 17 seconds, it is therefore quite shocking to see the ball was only in play for 52 minutes and 31 seconds of that time.
Although this isn’t a new phenomenon in football, it has come under the spotlight again due to such poor decision making.
Coupled with such inconsistent officiating in matches, specifically around the time added on, the issue has angered fans once more.
The Reds have been on the receiving end of this before, most notably against Manchester City recently, where 5 second half goals and multiple substitutions amazingly somehow only amounted to 2 minutes of added time being played.
Newcastle it seems, do have form however, when it comes to using the allotted time in a way that is advantageous to them.
A look at last season’s stats shows that the North East club were participants in no less than 4 matches where the ball was in play for 45 minutes or less.
In one match, away to Aston Villa in August 2021, the ball was only in play for 41 minutes of the 90, the excessive time wasting resulting in actual football played for less than 50% of the match duration.
But it wasn’t just the issue of time, or lack of it, that has fans of the Red Devils backs’ up.
Referee Craig Pawson was guilty of a standard of refereeing that surely has to be investigated by the authorities.
Allowing such blatant time wasting by Newcastle, which contributed to the overall issue and should have been taken into consideration by the officials, sets a precedent that nobody wants to see present in the modern game.
The introduction of VAR was supposed to help, but even with the technology to assist, United’s Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo were denied a penalty.
And with an obvious goal by Ronaldo still not being given, coupled with the lack of acknowledgement over mistakes, surely something has to be done to stop the rot, and fast.
- Get all the match build-up, articles, news, puzzles, nostalgia and humour
- Online football content like you’ve never seen before
- No ads, no clickbait, no fake news – just 100% pure United
- Instantly delivered to your device with easy and secure online ordering
- Click Preview to see more or buy for just £1.25/$1.50
- Limited time offer: SAVE £10 on a season pass – use discount code SEASON35 at checkout.