After the shocking excuse for football that was the Nations League, real football in the form of Premier League action returns this weekend, with the blues welcoming United to Manchester for the second time this year.
Yes, it’s derby day. A chance to put one over the Stretford Rangers, take the derby day bragging rights and make it a miserable journey back to London for United fans.
The blues have been on fire so far, winning five and drawing two of their opening seven matches, while Erling Haaland has scored more goals on his own than United have as a team. Let’s not dwell too much on that as we take a look at the reds season so far.
After a difficult start, which was incredibly funny while it lasted, United have rallied. The reds lost their opening two fixtures, 2-1 at home to Brighton and 4-0 at Brentford. Since then, they beat Liverpool 2-1, won 1-0 at Southampton and 1-0 at Leicester. In their last Premier League match, they inflicted a first league defeat on leaders Arsenal (3-1). That was back on 4th September and haven’t played a PL game since. Their match at Crystal Palace was postponed due to the death of the Queen, while a home match against Leeds was also cancelled due to what we understand to be policing issues, where officers were seconded to London to police the Queen’s funeral.
United have played twice in the Europa League, losing at home to David Silva’s Real Sociedad and winning 2-0 at the mighty Sheriff Tiraspol. They currently lie fifth in the league and have a goal difference of 0, having scored and conceded 8 goals so far this season.
Ones to watch
Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho are United’s top scorers with three apiece in all competitions. All three of Rashford’s goals have come in the Premier League, scoring against Liverpool and a brace at home to Arsenal, while Sancho has two Premier League goals and one in the Europa League.
Rashford has played six matches and had five shots on target. His shot accuracy is 50% while his goal conversion rate is 38%. Sancho on the other hand has a shot accuracy of 100%, and with three goals from five shots in eight games, his goal conversion rate is 60%.
Other scorers for United are Bruno Fernandes, Cristiano Ronaldo and Antony, who have a goal apiece.
Rashford also leads the assist chart. From five chances taken, two have been scored, while Christian Eriksen has created ten chances, from which two have also been converted. Fernandes and Diogo Dalot have created the most chances with 11.
With 382m Eriksen has attempted the most passes and has a pass accuracy of 80% from eight games, the highest from United’s regular starters.
Who’s the boss?
Dutch manager Erik Ten Hag is the latest man tasked with turning United from exceptionally poor to mediocre. He replaced interim boss Ralph Rangnick to become United’s sixth permanent manager six Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.
After losing to Brighton and Brentford, Ten Hag became the first United manager to lose his first two matches since John Chapman in 1921. As an interesting side note, when United faced City that season, the blues won 4-1 and United finished bottom of the league.
Ten Hag has only presided over eight matches so far, and with five wins and three defeats, his win ratio is 63%.