Friday 23 August 2019

Revealed: The statistics that highlight why Man United need a defensive overhaul this summer

Manchester United's Phil Jones looks dejected after the match. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
Manchester United's Phil Jones looks dejected after the match. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Manchester United's defensive frailties were exposed by Lionel Messi and Barcelona in Tuesday night's Champions League tie at the Nou Camp and their overall defensive record this season makes for pretty grim reading.

David de Gea's huge error in United's 3-0 second leg defeat against Barcelona and unconvincing performances from a backline that included the much-maligned trio of Ashley Young, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling contributed to a heavy 4-0 aggregate defeat that inspired manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to suggest he has a big job on his hands to rebuild the club's aura.

The statistics from this season suggest his chief priority in the transfer market this summer should be rebuilding a defensive line that have conceded 60 goals in the 46 games they have played this season in all competitions.

Those statistics make for even more unpleasant reading when compared with some of their domestic rivals, with only four teams keeping fewer clean sheets in the Premier League this season and two of those teams being the already relegated duo of Huddersfield and Fulham.

United have kept just seven Premier League clean sheets this season, which does not compare favourably to table toppers Liverpool (18) and their nearest rivals Manchester City (16).

clean sheets.jpg

United have been strongly linked with moves for Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld and Independent.ie reported last week that they have placed West Ham holding-midfielder Declan Rice on their transfer wish list for this summer, with Solskjaer likely to target defensive improvements as he looks to stabilise the United squad he inherited from Jose Mourinho in December.

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