Indeed, United’s venerable stadium has seen better days. But the “Theater of Dreams” has now become a “Theater of Nightmares”, and not only because of its dilapidated state.
What is especially striking if you look at the data: United has big problems when it comes to scoring goals: 13 goals in twelve league games, only five teams are worse. Marcus Rashford scored the striker’s only goal in the match against Arsenal (1-3).
Last Premier League goalscorer at Old Trafford: Jadon Sancho
United are going through an extremely difficult time, especially in front of their own fans. Only eight goals were scored in seven home league games. The last goal by a striker in the Premier League at Old Trafford dates back to May 28: it was precisely Jadon Sancho, who was sent off the field by coach Erik ten Hag earlier this season.
In terms of goals scored, Manchester ranks fifth with 178 attempts. But the success rate is weak: 0.07 hits per shot on goal, 15th in the Premier League.
“The calculation is very simple: if you shoot on goal so often but rarely score, that means the shots are often taken out of embarrassment,” said former United striker Louis Saha. “They just can’t make the right decisions in the final third when it comes to passing and running. They don’t create enough real opportunities to score.”
Rio Ferdinand mourns Harry Kane
Saha is not wrong. The Opta database has 25 great opportunities for United, 1.9 per game and equivalent to 13th place out of 20 teams. Only five of them were used. In percentage terms, only two teams are worse: the two promoted teams, Sheffield United and Burnley.
Rio Ferdinand’s mohawk swells when he thinks of Kane. “Every time I see Kane with the ball in his hand after a hat-trick, it makes me want to vomit,” the United legend said on his Five podcast.
These are not easy times for the former defender, after all Kane has already scored three hat-tricks for Munich. Ferdinand envies the 30-year-old player everything, his problem lies in the failure of his former club. “Why? Why didn’t we go look for him?” Ferdinand asked.
Rasmus Hojlund shines in the Champions League
Instead of Kane, Rasmus Hojlund found his way to Manchester. United paid the Dane 75 million euros. A lot of money for someone who only scored nine goals this season in 32 Serie A games in his last stop in Bergamo. Hojlund showed that he has what it takes in the premier class: the 20-year-old scored five goals in four games there. In the League, however, he is still waiting for the first goal from him.
Saha does not spare his criticism of the new addition. “You have to find your own solution. It’s not just about Rasmus getting a good serve, he also has to work with the defenders, chase the ball and stay calm in his position,” he said. Hojlund has the quality “to become a United star. But his skills are still not enough at the moment because he is not Harry Kane,” Saha said.
In general, Manchester’s offense gives the impression that it has no solutions against deep rivals. “With all due respect, you would have expected them against Luton. (1:0, editor) They would dominate and create many opportunities, but they didn’t. They still don’t create space for the forwards and even when they try to play directly, it’s almost like they’re doing it in slow motion,” Saha said.
Nikola Krstovic transferred to United
It is not surprising that, given the break in United’s attack, there is speculation in the English media about possible winter signings. The last name mentioned was Nikola Krstovic, a 23-year-old Montenegrin who works at US Lecce. His recommendation: four goals in eleven Serie A games. Cost of around ten million euros in transfer fee.
United fans shouldn’t care who scores the goals at Old Trafford. If it gets wet from above, at least they want to celebrate their own team’s goals.