Data Rant: rebuilding United’s attack

Wayne Rooney

It would not surprise Data Rant if Louis van Gaal and Ed Woodward are being guided by a team of statisticians both on the pitch and in the transfer market. Indeed, Van Gaal has often spoke fondly of “computer gurus,” while Opta has long offered highly detailed data to professional football teams – much more so […]

Data Rant: United’s summer game of Moneyball II

Morgan Schneiderlin

The ‘Moneyball’ approach is now omnipresent in sport. Sabermetics, econometrics as applied to baseball, translates poorly to football, but the overall thought still holds. The idea of ‘buying’ goals and assists, rather than players, is not all that revolutionary. Last summer, Data Rant utilised the Moneyball approach to look at some potential signings. With Manchester […]

Data Rant: Nathaniel Clyne

Nathaniel Clyne

Towards the end of last season the press was replete with articles citing a “senior source inside Old Trafford” as evidence that Manchester United was beginning preliminary negotiations with Nathaniel Clyne and his club Southampton. Yet, Ed Woodward has done little to counter Liverpool’s acquisition of the full-back this week. It is unlikely that Liverpool […]

Data Rant: in search of goals

Memphis Depay

Manchester United has qualified for next season’s Champions League and a good result against Arsenal – together with any further slip-on on the London side’s part – may even see the Reds sneak directly into Europe’s premier club competition. United must finish third to avoid a Champions League play-off against potentially difficult opposition next August. […]

Data Rant: Long ball Louis

Louis van Gaal, Long Ball

Perhaps a detailed statistical analysis of Louis van Gaal’s long ball football is not necessary – it is plain that the strategy has not worked this season. Manchester United’s performance against Tottenham Hostpur last Sunday may have been excellent, but the game saw United attempt a long ball 12.3 per cent of the time* – […]

Data Rant: Moyes vs Van Gaal

Moyes v Van Gaal

Manchester United’s victory against Premier League strugglers QPR increased the Reds’ total to 40 points this season. It was United’s 22nd game of a mixed campaign. Much has been made of the total after 21 games – just 37 points – the same amount David Moyes’ side had amassed at the same time last season. So who has really done better […]

Data Rant: Ashley Young

Ashley Young Antonio Valencia

Louis van Gaal has transformed Ashley Young from stuttering winger to a functioning wing-back this season. The 29-year-old has not set the world alight in the new role, but his presence has served a useful purpose amid an ongoing injury crisis at Old Trafford, with new signing Luke Shaw absent for most of the campaign. If […]

Data Rant: United’s use of width

Angel Di Maria

Perhaps a push for the Premier League title is a step too far this season, but a place in the top four appears an achievable goal after Sunday’s draw with Chelsea – it leaves Manchester United only three points off the coveted fourth spot. Not least because Southampton and West Ham United are unlikely to […]

Data Rant: the first five games

Ryan Giggs Louis van-Gaal

It is some surprise that under Louis van Gaal Manchester United has made a worse start to the season than under David Moyes last year. It is surely the calibre of the Dutchman that has kept discontent at a minimum. With so much investment in the summer, United’s minimum goal is to finish in the […]