Manchester United: A Fresh Start to the Post-Mourinho era

Last December, shortly after Manchester United suffered a humiliating 3-1 loss to Liverpool, Jose Mourinho was finally sacked. After appointing Ole Gunnar Solskjær as the caretaker manager, Man U. was given a much-needed fresh start and the club wasted little time in beginning a season turnaround.

At the time of Mourinho’s sacking, Man. U was sitting at seven wins, five draws, and five losses. They were approxitmately 19 points behind the top spot of the Premier League. Settling for 26 points after 17 games was Man U’s worst start since the 1990-91 season.

Since the arrival of Solskjær Man U has won five straight games, four of those games being Premier League play. As a result, Solskjær is the second manager in Man U history to win his first four Premier League games.

On this five-game winning streak, they’ve outscored their opponents 18 to 3. In their last four Premier League games, Man U. has managed to keep a passing accuracy of over 80 percent. This is while maintaining no less than 65 percent of ball possession and completing nearly 600 passes in each game. This is significant improvement on the offensive attack.

The improvement has allowed them to jump to fifth in the league in goals scored(43) and sixth in passing(11,077). In that span, Paul Pogba managed to score four goals in two games, thus allowing him to become the first player to score two goals in back-to-back Premier Leauge games since Wayne Rooney in 2012. Romelu Lukaku and Anthony Martial are both tied for tenth in the league in goals scored with eight respectively.

The defense has had some issues as they’ve allowed the opposing attack to maintain a pass accuracy of at least 65 percent. However, they’ve done a decent job of keeping them under 400 in passes. Man U’s conceding of 32 goals puts them seventh in the league in most goals allowed, their 203 interceptions places them 15th and their 335 tackles puts them 13th. On a positive note, they are ninth in blocks(70) and seventh in saves(69), but the defense needs to work on improving the defense.

While their last four league wins were against weaker clubs, it was sorely needed. Taking on and beating four weaker clubs is the fresh start Man U desperately needed.

On January 13th, Man U will have their first big test under Solskjær when they take on Tottenham. Tottenham’s Harry Kane is tied for first in the league in goals scored(14) and the club is third in the league in goals scored(46) and fifth in passes(11,584). Overall, Tottenham is third in the Premier League. Man U will certainly have their hands full, but a win keeps their momentum alive.

On February 12th, Man U will have their first major test when they take on Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their Round of 16 encounter in the Champions League. Until then, Man U have five Premier League games to play. If they can win those games in convincing fashion, it will continue to push the odds in their favor.

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