Saturday 27th September 2014
Manchester United vs West Ham United
After a fantastic result and performance last weekend against a North West club with unlikely title aspirations, West Ham this week come up against a North West club with very unlikely title aspirations.
After a summer of massive change and transition, with big money arrivals and high profile departures, Manchester United have a lot of players on their books that could rightfully stake a case at being the clubs key player.
However, the club record signing of Argentina's Angel Di Maria is the one that stands out.
The flying winger has had a massive impact in his three Premier League games so far. Okay, the results haven't been what they would've wanted against the three promoted sides (W 1, D 1, L 1), but in each of those games Di Maria has been the main man for United.
In those games, he has attempted an enormous 17 take ones (47% success), scored two goals, collected two assists, and created a further 7 chances. He's been an attacking powerhouse in a team that is clearly set up to score goals.
The image below shows Di Maria's attempted take ons in his last run out, last weekend's epic against Leicester City. As you can see the Argentine completed 3 of his 6 attempted take ons, with the majority coming in the dangerous areas outside of the box.
And this is the area that West Ham will need to watch out for. Di Maria is dangerous in that inside left position, and this is where he spends most of his time operating.
The heatmap below shows the areas in which Di Maria made the most impact in his only Old Trafford appearance so far, against Queens Park Rangers.
How do you stop Manchester United?
To be honest, it isn't really a case of stopping United, and more taking them on at their own game. With the attacking talents that the Red Devil's possess, they are likely to score goals against almost any defence.
You could look at the performances of Burnley, Sunderland and Swansea City and take heart from these performances, but those games were when van Gaal was experimenting with the disastrous 3-5-2 formation.
Instead, West Ham should take the approach of Leicester City.
The Foxes got at United, but also defended very aggressively. In fact, Leicester actually committed as many fouls as they did complete tackles (11). But it was actually their pressing and hassling on the ball that worked so well.
The images below show (left) the 21 interceptions made by Leicester players on Sunday, and (right) the blocks they made. As you can see, the Foxes pressed the United players high up the pitch, blocking and intercepting passes in the attacking right area of the pitch (largely thanks to the performances of Jamie Vardy and Ritchie de Laet).
You don't need stats to tell you that United's area of weakness is their defence, but you can have some anyway!
So far this season United have conceded eight goals in their five matches, and appear to have abandoned any sense of defensive responsibility in favour of scoring as many goals as possible.
Already this season, United have made a massive 7 individual errors leading to shots on goal - only Everton have a worse record this season. But perhaps what makes this worse, is that each of those errors have been made by a different person. This isn't a case of one person making errors and underperforming to drag the others down, this is a group of players who are just not defending.
Obviously you'd imagine that they will sort this defensive weakness out eventually, but should they carry on at this rate, United will have commit 53 errors leading to goals this season.
The key to playing, and beating, Manchester United this season is to simply attack.
They will probably score against you, but if you show any sort of attacking desire, you probably will too.
Head to Head
47% Head to Head Win % 33%
60 Won 42
26 Drawn 26
42 Lost 60
238 Goals Scored 167
167 Goals Conceded 238
Recent Form (excl. Friendlies)
L D L D W L Last 6 L W L L D W
9 Goals Scored 10
12 Goals Conceded 9
W W W L L W Home/Away Form W L L L W D
16 Goals Scored 8
5 Goals Conceded 10
Form Player (excl. GK)
(Last 6 League)
Juan Mata - Stewart Downing
6 Appearances 6
436 Minutes Played 540
172 Sum Squawka Performance Score 237
29 Average Squawka Performance Rating 40
239 Passes Attempted 217
217 Completed 180
91% Success Rate 83%
5 Chances Created 18
0 Assists 3
4 Attempts on Goal 5
3 On Target 2
3 Goals 1
4 Take Ons Attempted 12
3 Successful Take Ons 3
75% Success Rate 25%
11 Tackles Made 10
2 Successful Tackles 2
18% Success Rate 20%
2 Interceptions 5
0 Clearances 9
0 Blocks 0
0 Defensive Actions Per Game 2
3 Aerial Duels 2
1 Won 2
33% Success Rate 100%
0 Defensive Errors 0
0 Leading to a Goal 0
26 March 2014
0-1 Wayne Rooney 8'
0-2 Wayne Rooney 33'
4-2-3-1 Starting Formation 4-2-3-1
Adrián - David De Gea
Guy Demel - Rafael
James Collins - Michael Carrick
James Tomkins - Phil Jones
George McCartney - Alexander Buttner
Mark Noble - Darren Fletcher
(83') Matthew Taylor - Marouane Fellaini
Stewart Downing - Shinji Kagawa
(72') Kevin Nolan - Juan Mata (78')
(58') Mohamed Diamé - Ashley Young
Andy Carroll - Wayne Rooney (77')
Jussi Jääskeläinen - Anders Lindegaard
Winston Reid - Patrice Evra
Pablo Armero - Tom Cleverley
(83') Antonio Nocerino - Luis Nani
(58') Matt Jarvis - Adnan Januzaj
Joe Cole - Javier Hernandez (77')
(72') Carlton Cole - Danny Welbeck (78')
Manchester United: Phil Jones, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling, Michael Carrick, Marouane Fellaini, Jesse Lingard, Ashley Young
West Ham United: Joey O'BrienCheikhou Kouyaté, Kevin Nolan, Matt Jarvis, Andy Carroll
Manchester United: Tyler Blackett
West Ham United:
Opposition Last Time Out (League)
vs Leicester City
Goals Scored: 3
Goals Conceded: 5
Starting Formation: 4-1-2-1-2
David De Gea
Rafael Jonny Evans (30') Tyler Blackett (S/O 83') Marcos Rojo
Ander Herrera Angel Di Maria (76')
Robin van Persie Radamel Falcao (72')
Chris Smalling (30')
Juan Mata (76')
Adnan Januzaj (72')
Best Player: Ander Herrera(SR: 74)
Worst Player: David De Gea(SR: -79)
Top 5's (Min 3 Apps)
Angel Di Maria 2 - 2 Diafra Sakho
Ander Herrera 2 - 1 Enner Valencia
Juan Mata 2 - 1 Mauro Zárate
Wayne Rooney 2 - 1 Carlton Cole
Robin van Persie 1 - 1 Mark Noble
Wayne Rooney 2 - 3 Stewart Downing
Angel Di Maria 2 - 1 Mark Noble
Radamel Falcao 1 - 1 Mauro Zárate
Ander Herrera 1 - 1 Cheikhou Kouyaté
- 1 James Tomkins
Juan Mata 93% - 90% Mauro Zárate
Chris Smalling 92% - 87% Mark Noble
Phil Jones 91% - 85% Joey O'Brien
Antonio Valencia 90% - 84% Steart Downing
Ander Herrera 89% - 84% Winston Reid
Chances Created per 90
Angel Di Maria 2.8 - 2.61 Stewart Downing
Robin van Persie 1.43 - 1.4 Mark Noble
Ander Herrera 1.1 - 1.26 Ricardo Vâz Te
Juan Mata 1.04 - 1.2 Aaron Cresswell
Antonio Valencia 0.88 - 1.12 Joey O'Brien
Successful Dribbles per 90
Adnan Januzaj 3.36 - 3.17 Mauro Zárate
Angel Di Maria 3.2 - 2.74 Guy Demel
Ashley Young 2 - 1.93 Enner Valencia
Ander Herrera 1.83 - 1 Cheikhou Kouyaté
Wayne Rooney 1.4 - 0.9 Diafra Sakho
Tackles Won per 90
Antonio Valencia 3.97 - 3 Cheikhou Kouyaté
Phil Jones 3.33 - 2.8 Mark Noble
Chris Smalling 2.2 - 1.87 Joey O'Brien
Ander Herrera 1.86 - 1.81 Mauro Zárate
Jonny Evans 1.72 - 1.65 Guy Demel
Aerial Duels Won per 90
Chris Smalling 4.18 - 3.5 James Tomkins
Jonny Evans 2.58 - 3.4 Winston Reid
Robin van Persie 2.01 - 2.8 Cheikhou Kouyaté
Phil Jones 1.67 - 2.24 Joey O'Brien
Tyler Blackett 1.63 - 2 Carlton Cole
Louis van Gaal - Sam Allardyce
16.6% Win % 39.8%
1 Won 57
2 Drawn 33
3 Lost 53
0 League Titles 0
0 Cup Wins 0
16/07/2014 Appointed 01/06/2011
0y 2m 12d Time in Charge 3y 3m 26d
61.3% Win % 39.7%
490 Won 351
157 Drawn 232
152 Lost 300
8 Sides Managed 7
7 League Titles 2
12 Cup Wins 0
Ajax Amsterdam First Managerial Role Preston North End
28/09/1991 Start Date 30/09/1992
22y 11m 29d Experience 21y 11m 26d