Manchester United’s scoring problem: Just FOUR of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have found the back of the net this season, the fewest in the Premier League… so, why are the rest of the squad not sharing the goal burden?
- Manchester United have scored just 13 goals in 11 Premier League games so far
- Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Dan James and Scott McTominay have scored
- They have the joint lowest number of different scorers along with Crystal Palace
- Title challengers Liverpool and Manchester City have 12 and 11 respectively
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s midfielders have failed to contribute enough this season
In four Europa League games this season, Manchester United have had three different players on the scoresheet. In 11 Premier League fixtures, they’ve had four.
That surprising statistic is an indicator of just how much Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have struggled in front of goal this term, but it gets worse than that.
With just four scorers in the top-flight since the campaign kicked-off back in August – Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Daniel James and Scott McTominay – the Red Devils are joint bottom of the pile.
Anthony Martial is one of only four players to score a Premier League goal for United this term
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has seen his side score only 13 times in the top-flight since August
Only Crystal Palace have found the back of the net via so few players, with Norwich and Southampton, who are both in the relegation zone, above them with five each.
In fact, there is a clear correlation between the amount of different scorers a club has and their position in the table.
Liverpool have the most with 12 and currently sit six points clear at the top, while second place Manchester City are also second in the scorers table with 11.
Leicester and Chelsea, who find themselves third and fourth going into the weekend, both have nine different scorers so far this term, the joint-third best return.
Liverpool have shared their goals around, with Jordan Henderson scoring against Tottenham
David Silva has three goals for Manchester City this season and they have 11 different scorers
United, on the other hand, sit 10th in the table after scoring just 13 times so far and already face an uphill battle to challenge for a Champions League spot come the end of the season.
Solskjaer decided that his squad could cope without Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez last summer when he allowed the pair to join Inter Milan.
But despite the emergence of Mason Greenwood as a goalscoring threat in Europe, it would be hard to argue that United are better off without them, at least when it comes to goals.
Lukaku managed 23 in all competitions last season and he has hit the ground running in Italy, bagging 12 in 16 games for Antonio Conte’s side so far.
Romelu Lukaku has been in superb form for Inter Milan since leaving United, scoring 12 goals
Marcus Rashford, pictured scoring a penalty against Leicester, has also netted in Europe
Solskjaer’s hope was that other players would step up in the absence of the big Belgian, but that hasn’t been the case.
Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira have all failed to impress going forward despite being attack-minded midfielders, while Paul Pogba has only played six times all season after suffering with a troublesome ankle injury.
The Frenchman scored 16 times from midfield last season, while Premier League goals were also spread among the likes of Lingard, Mata and Ander Herrera, who departed for PSG in the summer.
Jesse Lingard has failed to score this season as United’s midfielders struggle in front of goal
United will look to sign an attacker in the winter transfer window, with Solskjaer admitting as far back as September that ‘you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that it’s a forward that next time we’re going to recruit – we’re looking for some creativity and goals’.
But whether it’s the manager’s tactics, a lack of confidence in front of goal, or simply a struggle to create chances for those outside of the front three, United’s midfielders must start to contribute to their goal tally if they are to rise up the table.
If the burden remains on the shoulders of Rashford and Co, it could be a long, hard season, even with a new striker arriving in January.
Summer signing Daniel James has scored three goals but United still want another striker