Despite winning having a near-perfect record in the Premier League this season, Manchester United have come under heavy criticism from pundits and supporters.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side sits third in the table, with only goal difference separating them from the summit. From their first five games, United have won four and drawn one.
Solskjaer would be right in feeling some of the criticism against his side is unfounded considering the praise some of his counterparts are benefitting from.
Chelsea are the current placeholders at the top of the Premier League but according to the stats, Manchester United are on par with the European Champions.
Data collected from the first five rounds of the Premier League by statistical website FBref shows that Manchester United have accumulated 7.6 Expected Goals (xG) and conceded just 5.5 Expected Goals Against (xGA).
Expected Goals, or xG, is a statistical tool used to measure the quality of chances and the likelihood of a shot being scored. If an effort is valued at 0.15 xG, 85% of that shot will not result in a goal. Expected Goals Against is used in the same manner but in the defensive third.
Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea boast an identical record, also accumulating 7.6 xG and 5.5 xGA, which indicates that Manchester United are not as far away from challenging for the title as many would assume.
Admittedly, it’s early days, and although it’s not fair to draw any conclusions just yet, there is plenty to be excited about with this United side going into the rest of the season.