Man Utd Win More And Score More With Greenwood Starting – His Return Can’t Come Soon Enough

Man Utd Win More And Score More With Greenwood Starting – His Return Can’t Come Soon Enough

The numbers say the Red Devils are a better team when the teenager starts out and a lack of goals and creativity has hampered them this season.

At the fifth time of asking, Manchester United finally found their first home victory of the season in the Premier League; a 1-0 win over West Brom on Saturday night.

Three points were a must for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and while he was delighted to move up the table, there was realism after the game on how the team should improve. They have scored just three goals in five league games at Old Trafford this season and two of them have come via Bruno Fernandes and the penalty spot.

There is a general acceptance by the players and the coaching staff that things must improve and quickly. One of the solutions, Solskjaer believes, is the return of Mason Greenwood. “We need to improve, we need to give our game more fluidity and rhythm, be more clinical, take risks,” said the United manager. “We are really looking forward to having Mason back, fit again and well, so hopefully we can achieve some form as we did towards the end of last season.” It’s been a rough few weeks for Greenwood, both on and off the pitch, with the teenager finding himself at the center of unwarranted negative media attention and failing to pull off starts and goals to divert attention to his soccer skills.

Solskjaer revealed that the 19-year-old recently had nine days off to recover from illness, but the positive for both the coach and the young forward is that he has returned to full training and his return to the team of the day is imminent.

Not only does United create more opportunities, on average, when Greenwood is in the starting eleven, but he can also balance an attack that sometimes lacks him in his absence. In the Champions League group stage defeat to Istanbul Basaksehir, the uneven nature of United’s lead worried Solskjaer.

“Sometimes I felt like the whole team was too far left,” he said. “We were too open on the right, too many players wanted to play football on the other side.”

He was correct. More than 51 percent of their attacks in that game, which they lost 2-1, were from the left and only 19% were from the right. And there is a similar theme in every game this season, reinforcing why Solskjaer was so desperate to add a natural right-side attacker like Jadon Sancho to his ranks this summer.

Against Everton, another game Greenwood missed, the stats were similar; 51% of United’s attacks were from the left and 23% were from the right.

When Greenwood starts, as he did against Arsenal in the league a few weeks ago, United still favors that left side, but the difference between bands is not that marked. During that 1-0 loss, for example, United’s attacks on the right increased by as much as 31% compared to 34% overall on the left.

Since securing his place in the first team last season, Greenwood has started 33 times, predominantly on the right wing, in all competitions. When it starts, United’s average goals per game is 2.1. That compares to a total of 1.7 in the 44 games he hasn’t started.

United’s winning percentage, meanwhile, is 63% with Greenwood in the starting lineup and just 50% without him. His average shots per game is around 10 with Greenwood starting and drops to 8.8 without him on the team. His contribution in attack is undeniable, as evidenced by his surprising first goal in a 5-0 win against RB Leipzig last month.

However, it is not just his own contributions that Solskjaer will consider when debating whether or not to select the teenager. His inclusion has the potential to boost those around him primarily because of his movement.

Against West Brom at the weekend, United’s creativity was stifled by the decision to return to play with two midfielders in Fred and Nemanja Matic. He saw Anthony Martial, who is still trying to hone his craft as the number nine, with no serve and dropping deep to collect the ball.

Martial’s average position in most of the games he has played this season has been shifting to the left, almost above attacker Marcus Rashford, rather than down the middle. While Solskjaer wants his front line to be fluid, it’s one of the reasons for his team’s warped attack form.

Greenwood’s change of pace, the ability to take on his man and drive a cross into the area gives Martial more license, and more incentive, to enter the area.

However, he has started only four times in all competitions this season and his creativity has been lost. United will look to avenge Istanbul’s defeat when the Turkish champions visit Old Trafford on Tuesday night.

With the matches accumulated, the fact that he is approaching a comeback can only be a huge boost for Solskjaer as he looks to build some consistency in the Champions League and on the home front.

source: – target