Man Utd’s Crossing Conundrum

Man Utd appear to have a serious lack of ability in crossing during recent seasons. Something which has been highlighted this season with having a very physical striker who could score a lot more goals through quality crosses.

How does this season compare to those seasons previous in terms of; Crosses Per Game, Crossing Accuracy and Successful Crosses Per Game?

Personal Word Document
Calculated from Stats at Premierleague.com

Under Fergie, Man Utd played fast down the wings with quality crosses which usually either resulted in a goal, or forced an own goal. In the 12/13 season Man Utd made an average of 22 crosses per game, over five over those crosses made it successfully into the striker. The number of crosses went up over Moyes but the quality was slightly worse. There were still more than five successful crosses per match.

The two seasons under LvG (with his philosophy), the number of crosses, accuracy and therefore successful crosses had plummeted in his second season. 21 crosses per match with only a 19% chance of finding its target meant that there were less than four accurate crosses per match. However, Martial was the main striker (with Rashford later) on who prefer to receive the ball on the ground and use their pace!

In Mourinho’s first season, United’s crossing accuracy sharply rose to 24% giving us over five crosses per match. This season however, Man Utd’s crossing has become less accurate and Lukaku has only 4 crosses on average per match to feed off.

These are the top five players at crossing for Man Utd who have played over 5 matches:

Personal Word Document
Calculated from Stats at WhoScored.com

Not one player manages an average of more than one successful cross per game. That’s simply not good enough when we need to utilise our striker’s best assets; strength an aerial ability. We either need a drastic change of general style of play, or more realistically; purchase a player with excellent crossing skills.

World’s Best Crossers 17/18:

Personal Word Document
Calculated from Stats at WhoScored.com

Four of the five players have already been linked to Man Utd over the last few transfer windows. The only player on the list that hasn’t is Bourigeaud.

The two players that excite me the most on the list are Philipp and Kimmich: Both young, both play in positions that need strengthening and both are affordable. Max in on fire this season, making almost the same amount of crosses per game as the Man Utd team combined and already making nine assists. He’s only 24 and would be significantly cheaper than Danny Rose at roughly £15-£20mil.

Manchester United must work on their crossing, it’s starting to hamper the team by not having the option of going wide and attacking from the flanks. It’s becoming predictable an easy to play against. We need activity in the market and I would be happy with Max or Kimmich as realistic solutions. This is where we need the board to step up!

Jason Bowditch

Supported United since the days of the yellow and green Sharp Jersey! Looking forward to Jose taking us back to the glory days of old. We're stepping in the right direction. Exciting times! Come on the lads!

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Sean Murray

outstanding article Jason..i tweeted last week wanting to know stats around united’s crossing deterioration. Thanks for fleshing it out so well!