Friday 27 April 2018

The stats behind Manchester United's worst-ever start to a Premier League season

Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic after the game
Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic after the game

Samuel Lovett

It’s official. Manchester United have made their worst ever start to a season in the Premier League era.

Their 1-1 draw with West Ham now leaves United with 20 points from their opening 13 games, 11 behind table-toppers Chelsea.

United have not taken so few points after 13 games since the 1989-90 campaign, when Alex Ferguson’s side finished 13th in the old First Division, five points clear of the relegation zone, although they did go on to win the FA Cup.

The club also racked up 20 points after 13 games in the following seaon – but only after being deducted a point as a result of a brawl during a 1-0 defeat to Arsenal.

Jose Mourinho’s record compared to his predecessors makes for ominous reading too. Both David Moyes and Louis van Gaal were vilified for their seasons in charge as they struggled to turn United’s fortunes around and secure Champions League football.

Moyes, who lasted less than a season after succeeding Ferguson in 2013, took 22 points from his opening 13 league games, while Van Gaal amassed the same figure from 13 in 2014/15 before accumulating 27 at the same stage last season.

In contrast, Ferguson took 30 from 13 in 2012/13 when United last lifted the Premier League title.

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Despite his side’s evident shortcomings, Mourinho has insisted that he need time to rebuild United into the domestic and European powerhouse that it once was. Indeed, speaking earlier this month the Portuguese highlighted how Ferguson had required years to transform the club.

“The best manager in the history of the Premier League needed a few years to build such a successful period,” Mourinho said.

“If the best needed that time, means that the others also need that time.

“The job is as difficult as I was expecting. I was not expecting the job was easy. I said that I wanted to try to win the PL but at the same time I thought that was a risky approach with my words.”

But with Mourinho once again sent to the stands for his touchline behaviour against West Ham, and with United held to their fourth draw at Old Trafford, it’s become evident that the side's hopes of competing for the title are evaporating with each passing day.

Independent News Service

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