It hasn’t been an smooth ride to start the season for Manchester United.
With off-field headlines surrounding manager Jose Mourinho’s relationship with captain Paul Pogba and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward swirling, United’s on-field performances have left fans underwhelmed.
A 2-1 opening day win over Leicester was followed up by a 3-2 loss to Brighton. The Red Devils’ defence looks fragile, while there are also major concerns over their potency in attack.
United may have scored four times in their opening two games, but chances have been few and far between for Mourinho’s men.
Rubbing salt in the wound has been their main rivals’ strong starts. Manchester City are unbeaten while Liverpool have won all three of their matches without conceding a goal.
And one stat in particular has emerged that United fans won’t want to see.
Manchester City have had 129 touches in the opposition’s penalty box; Liverpool have made 113. Meanwhile, United have had just 25.
Reds attacker Mohamed Salah alone has had 31 – that’s six more than the entire United team.
Mo Salah has had six more penalty box touches than United this season, though they do have a game in hand. https://t.co/SorFUpezPJ
— Andrew Beasley (@BassTunedToRed) August 27, 2018
In fact, the only team with less touches in the opposition box is Huddersfield, and they have only scored one goal all season.
Stats aren’t everything of course, United do have a game in hand on their rivals and if they beat Tottenham on Monday night they will only be a point behind City.
But it is a damning indictment on United’s staid attacking play, especially from the team who plays at ‘the Theatre of Dreams’.