It has been that sort of a season for Manchester United which compelled you to feel glad about it coming to a close with the club flailing to its lowest ever league points tally in 22 seasons. Several records and stats came into existence (or were rather shattered) following unceremonious defeats at the hands of fortuitous opponents. The fact that David De Gea was voted the Player of the Year speaks volumes about the team’s disastrous campaign.
Meanwhile I indulged in a number-crunching exercise to further analyse the collective as well as individual failures in the Red Devils’ camp after Sir Alex’s departure. Apart from the expected dearth in quality on several fronts, it surprisingly resulted in a few heartening outcomes as well.
One of the very obvious and spiteful drawbacks of the Moyes era was the shear demise of the club’s prowess playing at home. A collection of opponents who earlier feared visits to the Theatre of Dreams cleared their backlogs facing David Moyes’ men at the fortress. Apart from back-to-back 3-0 embarrassments against Liverpool and Manchester City at their own backyard, the 2013 champions also handed Newcastle their first win at the Greater Manchester facility since 1972.
Looking back at the apocalyptic season, a shock 2-1 result against the Baggies at Old Trafford in September was the point when things began to nosedive. At the conclusion of the dreadful spell, 7 defeats combined with 3 draws resulted in United dropping 27 points at home. This would surely have been a blasphemy of sorts under Sir Alex, whose side dropped merely 9 points at Old Trafford the preceding season. The 34 point-total collected away from home is however still respectable and nears the tally that Fergie’s side managed in 2012/13. Interestingly, the period of play coined as ‘Fergie time’ has also produced five goals less this season. Five crucial wins possibly?
The Robin van Persie impact
Talking of performances home and away; one of the pivotal figures in United’s 20th title triumph was Robin van Persie who marked a total of 36 appearances and amassed 26 goals and 8 assists in the campaign. Call it Moyes’ misfortune or RvP’s haunting injury record, the former Arsenal man’s lack of action certainly made a massive difference to the team’s fortunes in front of goal, which reflected in the results. The 2013 Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year clocked 1584 minutes on the field, almost exactly half of what he had done in Sir Alex’s last season at the helm. Owing to the same, the Dutch international was able to create just 16 critical chances as opposed to his 71 in his debut season as a Red Devil.