The table where Manchester United sit 20th - Kagawa could change it?

Kagawa United

An interesting statistic from Manchester United's season displays a lack of willingness to attack via the centre of the pitch.

Manchester United are used to topping tables, and their slip to eighth in the Premier League standings early on certainly has had fans a little worried.

But did you know there is actually one table where Manchester United sit rock bottom, in 20th place.

The table is a statistical measure of which areas of the pitch teams have attacked this year:

Manchester United have based less of a percentage of their attacks through the centre of the pitch than any other team, 25 per cent, with Swansea City topping the list (36 per cent).

Conversely this means the Red Devils have been busy on the flanks, basing 33 per cent of their attacks down the left side (12th highest) and 42 per cent of their play down the right side of the pitch (fourth highest).

There is one problem with this however; and this is key, United have not been enjoying a great deal of success with their attacks in wide areas as previous seasons, with players like Nani, Young and Valencia inconsistent, and Wilfried Zaha not afforded an opportunity.

The trio of Young, Nani and Valencia have just one assist between them all season, with youngster Adnan Januzaj providing his first Premier League assist against Fulham at the weekend.

The answer of course to United getting a bit more balance to their attack lies in the frequently benched Shinji Kagawa.

Kagawa is a central attacker who does not enjoy the same impact when he is positioned out wide, and the challenge remains for United to find a way to utilise him, without upsetting the Wayne Rooney-Robin van Persie axis.

United have always been a team who have benefitted from strong wing play, and it's understandable David Moyes wants to continue that.

However given the poor impact from the side's current wingers, the lack of focus on attacking through the centre, and Kagawa sitting on the bench, the question certainly should be asked if the system needs to be adapted to suit the players at the club's disposal.

Is Kagawa the answer for this, and shooting United up the Premier League table?

 

image: © Marcel Sigg

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