Greenwood outperforming expectations as he hits ninth goal of season for United

Mason Greenwood’s recent form has surprised few. He’s been a talent, and a name, on the lips of Manchester United fans for a couple of years now.

For players and coaches, too, the ability of Greenwood has been obvious. But his last five goals have shown just how good he is as a finisher.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has often hailed the natural finishing ability of Greenwood, ranking it above that of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial and many others. The Expected Goals statistic, which remains controversial and disliked by many people, has demonstrated just how good Greenwood has been recently. 

Photo by Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images

Stats: Greenwood hits 9th goal of the season 

The 18-year-old struck his ninth goal of the season in United’s 4-0 win against Norwich City. The ‘Expected Goals’ for that shot was just 0.07. The stat is worked out by calculating the percentage chance of a player scoring from that position on the pitch and various other factors.

A certain goal would be 1.00 and a near impossible finish would be 0.01. Greenwood’s last five goals have come at a total xG of 0.36.

That’s an average of just over 0.07, meaning all of those chances have been seriously difficult to convert. But he has converted them nevertheless.

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Even over the course of the season, the xG for Greenwood’s goals is very low at 1.67. It effectively proves what most people can see without the need for statistics: that Greenwood is a brilliant finisher.

That’s particularly true on the edge of the box where the academy graduate is picking up the ball and finding the net so regularly.

In games against Norwich, Newcastle, Everton and AZ Alkmaar recently, Greenwood has shown his focus on goal scoring. He’s direct and confident. It was only a matter of minutes after coming on a substitute against Norwich when Greenwood hit the back of the net from outside the box. 

In last Wednesday’s miserable loss to Manchester City, Greenwood showed his quality in the number 10 position, assisting Marcus Rashford’s consolation goal. But it’s his finishing which has been so good.

Greenwood’s goals have earned 5 points for United

Additionally, Greenwood’s goals have been important. He’s not been a flat-track bully, though goals against Norwich, Newcastle and AZ Alkmaar haven’t changed games.

Greenwood’s goals have earned United points they would have otherwise missed out on in matches against Everton (1pt), Sheffield United (1pt), Astana (3pts) and Rochdale (draw before penalty shoot-out win in knockout competition).

For a young player to be having this impact already is sensational. It shouldn’t be underestimated. Long may it continue.

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Life-long Manchester United fan with a strong interest in the club's academy. Host of the Manchester United Weekly Podcast and United Through Time. First game at Old Trafford was the 7-1 rout of AS Roma in 2007.