The alarming statistics behind Manchester United’s sorry season

Manager Erik ten Hag described it as “definitely the worst defeat” of United’s campaign and here, the PA news agency looks at the key statistics.

League position

With three games left, United’s defeat at Selhurst Park was their 13th of the league season, setting a club record in the Premier League era. It also dropped them to ninth in the standings.

If that holds true, it would be United’s lowest Premier League finish. Their next games against sixth-place Newcastle and title-chasing Arsenal will both be at Old Trafford before they travel to Brighton for the final game.

Following the competition’s rebranding in 1992, they won nine of the first eleven titles, finished second in the other two, and never finished outside the top three in 21 Premier League campaigns while Sir Alex Ferguson was manager.

With four games left in the first season of a six-year deal, David Moyes, his replacement, was fired after they finished seventh in the first season following his departure. That term, they dropped 12 games, a total they matched in 2021–2022 but hadn’t topped until Monday night.

They have also placed second and third twice apiece, fourth and fifth once apiece, and sixth three times in the ten years since Ferguson left, with this season certain to set a new low.

Defensive record 

With the 4-3 losses to Chelsea in the league and FC Copenhagen and Bayern Munich in the Champions League, Monday’s thumping was United’s fourth consecutive game in which they had given up four goals this season.

These 15 games account for 49 of the 81 goals they have given up in all competitions, the highest for the team since the 1976–77 campaign, when you also factor in the 11 times they have allowed three goals.

With 55 of those coming in the league, they are challenging another club record from the Premier League era. The last time they conceded more than 57 goals in a season was during the 2021–22 campaign, which resulted in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s dismissal as manager and Ralf Rangnick’s disastrous interim tenure.

They are 11th out of 20 clubs in the league with just eight clean sheets, yet they have only played in 48 games across all competitions, meaning they have conceded three or four goals more often than they have kept clean sheets.

With a current goal differential of minus three, they are headed for their first-ever Premier League loss. Solskjaer and Rangnick’s team finished with zero goals, having never before finished in single digits. Opta, the competition’s official statistics suppliers, report that they have been behind 931 minutes and 9 seconds in games compared to 929 minutes and 47 seconds ahead.

European exit

With their lowest-ever point total, United also eliminated from the Champions League in the group stage for the sixth time.

United has participated in 26 of the 33 group stage seasons since the 1991–92 European Cup, and this season they placed last in their group for just the second time.

The other was in 2005–06, when they scored six points as opposed to four this season.

In 1994–1995 they were third with six points; in 2015–16 they had eight, and in 2011–12 and 2020–21 they had nine.

In the group stage of this season, only Antwerp, a Belgian team, gave up more goals than United (15), a total that was also shared by Celtic and Red Star Belgrade.

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