Stats: Below average! Despite top four, United still act mid-table in 9 areas

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has his work cut out if he is to improve on various areas of team performance.

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is beginning to overturn what was threatening to be a disastrous start to the domestic campaign.

United lost to Swansea City on the opening day of the season, while MK Dons compounded a nightmarish August as the underdogs banished United from the League Cup at just the second round.

The embarrassment was not complete until Leicester City humbled the Old Trafford lot with a 5-3 score, however, victories over West Ham United and Everton have seen van Gaal's troops march up the Premier League ladder to their current ranking; fourth.

The addition of Angel di Maria to the attacking set-up has no doubt boosted the club's all round effectiveness up front, but there are still a number of areas the Dutch coach will need to improve if his team are to sustain a top four push.

  Total Pass / gameFwd Pass / game% of Fwd passFinal Third Entries / gameGames
United 564.57 161.71 29% 59.86 7
Division average 458.75 164.34 36% 62.39 7

United are way ahead of the Premier League average when it comes to total passes per game, with 564 passes casting an obvious shadow over the division average of 458. Yet when it comes to forward passes - for example, passes towards goal - United lag behind both in terms of volume and forward pass percentage against total passes.

Manchester United also struggle to get the ball into the final third as frequently as the majority of other Premier League teams.

  Headers Won / gameTackle / gameErrors that led to shot / gameGoals Conceded / gameGames
United 13.86 18.29 1 1.43 7
Division average 16.59 19.51 0.4 1.4 7

United's defensive ability is also questionable. Not only are United seemingly inferior in the aerial battle, but also do not commit to as many tackles, are more error prone in costly areas and concede more often (only six teams have a worse concession rate).

  Big chance missed / gameCross accuracyGames
United 1.14 18% 7
Division average 0.81 20% 7

Because of the might of United's attack - with di Maria, Radamel Falcao and Ander Herrera all proving to be exciting summer purchases - there are few areas where United need to make vast improvements, but if they were to focus on drills on the training ground then crossing practice would be advisable.

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