It's no surprise fans are dozing off at Old Trafford this season...
One of the many accusations being flung at the feet of Louis van Gaal is that the Manchester United manager’s style of football isn’t exciting enough. It isn’t the ‘United Way’, according to the army of Twitter accounts who are all clearly qualified to manage at an elite level. We suspect that if the Red Devils were playing entertaining football but still losing to Norwich, Stoke, Sunderland, FC Midtjylland the fans still wouldn’t be too impressed…
However the dig at LVG that his football isn’t entertaining, does have a statistically sound foundation. Of the 92 grounds in the football league, no ground has seen as few goals per game as Old Trafford. It’s called the Theatre of Dreams, and if you’re struggling to sleep, flick on a review of United’s home games in the league this season and that will sort out any kind of insomnia.
In 12 league games at Old Trafford there have been just 20 goals – an average of just 1.66 goals a game. The same average that the poor folk in the Riverside have had to witness, and marginally worse than the 28 goals in 17 games at The Madjeski Stadium. You have to go down to non-league Braintree Town and Cressing Road to find a football ground that has seen fewer goals this season. There have been just 24 goals in 16 games at Cressing Road this term, which makes for serious bleak viewing in the National League.
Back to Old Trafford and the statistics don’t get any better. In 75 per cent of United’s league games at home, both teams haven’t found the net and there have been four 0-0 draws in front of the Stretford End this season. The only ground to have seen more 0-0 games this season is Portsmouth’s Fratton Park.
So where does that leave the crunch clash between Manchester United and Arsenal on Super Sunday? Well the stats suggest it’d be wise to back under 2.5 goals and both teams not to score. They’re skinny prices at and respectively, but in the last 20 league fixtures between these sides at Old Trafford 75 per cent of them have had under 2.5 goals and 60 per cent of them have featured both teams not scoring.
Throw in the Theatre of Dreams facts from this year and it doesn’t look like a goal-fest.
Arsenal haven’t won a league game at OT for the best part of a decade, while there’s little between them in the betting with Arsenal at and Manchester United at . At the risk of getting splinters on the fence, the draw is a very tempting shot, while the on the match to finish 0-0 looks too good to turn down.