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Manchester United: This Season Versus Last Season After 8 Games

Manchester United have started each of the last two seasons with new managers to lead the team on its pursuit of success. Contrast that to the leadership of Sir Alex Ferguson, who led United for more than a quarter of a century. Last season, David Moyes’ tenure resembled a roar which ended in a whimper, as it was widely suggested that he lost the dressing-room, which led to him losing his post. This season, Louis van Gaal’s headstrong nature has lent United solidity, which seems to disappear when the players are on the pitch.

In terms of the starts to the seasons in question (2013-14 and 2014-15), after eight matches, United had 11 points last season, while they have 12 points this season. However, United were in eighth position the last time, while they are in sixth this time around. An important point to be remembered is that United played Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool in their first five games last season, whereas United have only faced Everton in terms of strong opposition this season. United have been boosted by the arrivals of Daley Blind, Ander Herrera, Radamel Falcao and Angel di Maria, which has made bettered the team’s performances over this season.

Performance score:

In terms of performance score (from Squawka), United had a performance score of 1,581 last season under Moyes, and a score of 2,000 under van Gaal this season. Last season, the 4-1 win over Swansea was United’s best performance, whereas this year, the best performance has been the 4-0 win over QPR. Last season, the performances against Liverpool and against Manchester City hurt United, and this season, the shoddy performances against Leicester and Swansea made fans gasp in shock. If last season, the defensive players: Michael Carrick, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra contributed in terms of their performance scores, then this season, the midfielders and the attackers have performed in the first eight games this season: Wayne Rooney, Angel di Maria, Daley Blind and Ander Herrera have the best performances, as per Squawka.

Goals scored:

Manchester United were not scoring freely, as their style of play laid more emphasis on passing into wide areas and crossing the ball into the box for the attackers to convert. United have scored 15 goals in 8 games, whereas they had scored 11 in 8 in the previous season. They have conceded 12 goals this time around, whereas they had conceded 10 goals in 8 games in 2013-14. The scorers have been varied this time around, with the midfield contributing more, as the scorers have been Angel di Maria, Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata, Robin van Persie, Ander Herrera, Radamel Falcao, Marouane Fellaini and Daley Blind so far; whereas last time, there were just four scorers: Robin van Persie, Adnan Januzaj, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck.


Angel di Maria has been the catalyst of United’s passing, as he has shuttled all around the opposition half to create 18 chances so far. Last time around, the lack of a creative midfielder (and the ill-used Shinji Kagawa) made United’s attackers depend upon crosses from the wings, which is why Patrice Evra had created the highest number of chances from the left flank. Rooney played behind the striker and assisted or scored in a partnership with van Persie. United’s pass accuracy (87%) has improved this time around, but that could be attributed to the improvement in short passing, a speeding up in their game and a reduction in their dependence on long passing or crossing as it was last season, as they had a pass accuracy of 84%.

Both starts have had their shares of ups and downs. Last season, United were shocked that Sir Alex Ferguson, but the myth that the team was great and was hard to beat was soon dispelled, as United dithered and dallied their way through games. This season, United have splashed the cash in an attempt to make the team a force to reckon with, but squad depth is a problem. United, under the tutelage of Louis van Gaal, have shown an improvement in their playing style and could challenge for a spot in Europe this season, if not more.

Stats via squawka