While there have been glaring weaknesses all over the pitch this season for Manchester United, last season only a handful of cracks emerged.

One obvious problem to raise it’s head throughout the 2020/21 season was United’s poor record at set pieces, which cost the team by conceding a crucial Europa League final goal to Villarreal.

United sought to fix this problem in the summer by hiring a set piece specialist, former Chelsea coach Eric Ramsay.

Ramsay arrived with high hopes

Former boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told the club website: “He’s a very highly rated coach who is going to be working with individuals and in charge of set-plays as well. We’re excited. He’s young, fresh and with new ideas, an innovative coach we know from before. Kieran [McKenna] knows him really well from Loughborough, so we’re very pleased with that.”

Solskjaer has since been fired and McKenna has left to take charge at Ipswich Town. Ramsay remains at United, for now.


There were positive signs in pre-season, with United scoring three goals from set pieces in the 4-0 win over Everton. But this ended up proving to be a false dawn.

Manchester United Pre-Season Training Session
(Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Woeful set piece record continues

Based on the first half of the season, Eric Ramsay has not had the desired impact. The set piece problem has still not been fixed.

Manchester United are the only team in the Premier League not to score a single goal from a set piece, per WhoScored.com.

Liverpool have scored the most with 10, followed by Manchester City with 9, Arsenal on 8 and Chelsea and West Ham on 7 each. Manchester United sit on zero, with the next worse team, Norwich managing two.

It’s an appalling offensive record for which club captain Harry Maguire also deserves some scrutiny for, considering his impressive record for England, where he is the country’s joint top scoring centre-back of all time.

Last season United managed to score seven goals from set pieces, the joint 12th highest in the league. There needs to be a dramatic improvement to even catch this number this season.

A little defensive improvement

Defensively there has been some improvement. United have conceded four set piece goals so far this season.

This is the seventh best in the Premier League, with Leicester worst with 11 conceded, while Wolves have conceded none from set pieces, with Manchester City only conceding one. Liverpool have conceded three.

Last season United conceded 14 goals from set pieces, the second worst in the league. So it could be argued Ramsey deserves some credit for stemming this flow of goals against.

But matched up with the failure to score goals from set pieces at the other end, and it’s clear Ramsay is not having the effect supporters envisioned.

Manchester United v Manchester City - Premier League
(Photo by Daniel Chesterton/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

There is a lack of creativity and innovation from offensive free-kicks and corners, and in addition to not scoring, United never really threaten to score from these situations either.

With interim boss Ralf Rangnick running the rule over every part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s former coaching staff which remains, Ramsay has to improve to demonstrate he deserves to stay on next season.

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