Home » The Athletic: Manchester United are breaking records for the wrong reasons

The Athletic: Manchester United are breaking records for the wrong reasons

by Raj Dholakia
Erik ten Hag

Manchester United are enduring one of their most challenging seasons in recent history, struggling with defeats and a lacklustre performance that harks back to some of the club’s darker days.

Despite currently sitting sixth in the Premier League, they are six points behind treble winners Manchester City, indicating a stark contrast between their current form and their illustrious past.

The Red Devils have lost half of their matches this season, including a disappointing run in the Champions League where they conceded 15 goals in the group phase.

This form mirrors their 1973-74 season, the last time they faced relegation.

Erik ten Hag’s team has already equalled the total number of losses from the previous season, with 12 defeats in 24 games, a worrying statistic for United fans.

Under Sir Alex Ferguson’s tenure, United rarely experienced such frequent losses.

Only four of Ferguson’s 26 full seasons saw more than 12 defeats, highlighting the severity of the current situation.

Comparatively, only three clubs across Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues have lost more games than United this season.

United’s defensive woes are also a significant concern. They have conceded three or more goals in 38% of their matches this season, a rate not seen since the 1976-77 season. Offensively, they are underperforming too, with their last Premier League goal at Old Trafford scored by Jadon Sancho in the previous season.

In terms of European performance, United’s 15 goals conceded in the Champions League are the most by a Premier League team in a single group stage.

Their home form is equally troubling, as highlighted by The Athletic’s Duncan Alexander, who pointed out that Harry Kane has as many assists at Old Trafford this season as United’s captain Bruno Fernandes.

Historically, United’s current goal difference of -3 after 16 league games is their worst since the 1978-79 season. They’ve also lost four out of nine home Premier League games, a stark contrast to the first four seasons under Ferguson.

Despite these challenges, history shows that United’s season is not yet a lost cause.

In the inaugural Premier League season of 1992-93, after a similarly slow start, the signing of Eric Cantona spurred the team to victory. Fans and management alike will be hoping for a similar turnaround as the season progresses.

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