Manchester United’s first draw under Erik ten Hag highlighted a major flaw within the team which has been carried over from last season.
The lack of ruthlessness and clinical finishing is acting as a damning inadequacy in United’s pursuit of winning every game.
United held 63% of the ball over the full game against Newcastle United. With such high possession, it would be assumed that there were chances galore.
Yet, the home team only managed two shots on target. Two shots on target in an entire 90 minutes of football.
The fallibility and hesitancy in front of goal is hurting United. This performance came immediately after United needed 34 shots to beat Omonia in the Europa League on Thursday.
What’s more, out of United’s total 15 shots against Newcastle, seven were struck inside the box. But still, there was inaccuracy or bashfulness in front of goal even from such close range.
Newcastle did manage to put their bodies on the line on multiple occasions. The Magpies blocked five of United’s shots.
But no great defending can excuse the two big chances which Fred and Marcus Rashford squandered towards the end of the game. Nor can it excuse Diogo Dalot‘s cowardly duck from shooting in injury-time despite having a clear sight on goal.
To dismiss the specifications of these two missed clear-cut chances and focus on the statistic for a moment – two big chances is not good enough.
United held the vast majority of possession and also completed over 200 more passes than Newcastle (508 vs 299).
With such, United should not have had to resort to taking over half of their attempted shots on goal outside of the opposition penalty area (8 shots). And they should definitely have created more than two big chances.
Newcastle were there for the taking in the second-half as United upped their intent. The away team did not succeed in any of their six attempted dribbles after the 45 minute mark as United snuffed out all attacking hope by making 12 tackles.
The back four and the midfield did their defensive duties. But United’s attack still begs the question: how are they not more clinical?