Manchester United have struggled to score goals in the opening two games of the season. But it is not all doom and gloom.
Like most Manchester United fans I have been left massively underwhelmed with the way the team have started this season.
The midfield looks unbalanced, and the team have scored just once in the opening two games. And to top it all off, the away struggles continue, with yet another loss.
Look hard enough, and there are positive signs
Manchester United have been a hard watch across the opening two games, however, the data from the two matches gives us reason to be encouraged.
Statistics available via FotMob show a couple of areas of note. And that comes with the work high up the pitch, despite the lack of goals.
United have created the third highest number of ‘big chances’ across the opening two games in the Premier League, with six. Only Brighton (nine) and Newcastle (eight) have managed more.
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Wasteful finishing has let the team down, but it is a positive that the chances are being created in the first place.
Also of interest, is to see Manchester United have won the ball back in the final third more than any team in the Premier League, ranking first in this area.
United have done this 12 times in total. The closest another team has managed is nine.
Ten Hag plans are dependent on a centre-forward
These numbers demonstrate the front-foot aggressive way Erik ten Hag wants his team to set up and play.
Which is fine, providing there is a striker who can put away the chances.
Take away the disappointment at the generally underwhelming displays, these numbers do offer some hope, for when Rasmus Hojlund returns.
Manchester United’s £64 million striker is on ice right now, recuperating from a minor injury before he makes his debut.
United’s poor start has created a little extra pressure for the Dane, but if the team create chances for him and win possession back in key areas, his task will be made a lot easier.
These are all good signs that when Hojlund is ready to play, Ten Hag’s masterplan may finally click into place.