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Jekyll and Hyde is the original story of the duality of man, both good and evil in one. To find the embodiment of the multifaceted soccer club, look no further than Manchester United.
One word that has plagued United since Sir Alex’s retirement like an itch that can’t be scratched is inconsistency.
From results like beating the Manchester City centurion in his own backyard to later losing to a West Brom team at home that would be relegated a week later, strange transfer deals, or even different managerial appointments. The Red Devils just can’t find that rhythm in a way that takes them back to the glory days of yore.
What’s more interesting is that you can now see United’s constant inconsistency when you watch them play for 90 minutes.
Solskjaer has put together an impressive run of nine away games with a record of 100%. United’s form in those games has even set a new club record. On top of that, United have set a new Premier League record by scoring two or more goals in those nine games. However, despite impeccable road results, the performances have been far from perfect and the Old Trafford team had to come back to win five of those games.
That’s more than 55% of the wins in this formidable escape from home won by conceding first.
On Saturday, West Ham dominated United in the first half in all areas, including quality and desire. In the second half, things changed. United took control of the game after making changes and mounted a momentous comeback. A similar story played out against Southampton last week and even against Brighton and Everton a few weeks earlier. A bad start with a goal or two conceded turns into a proverbial kick in the back and, with a few changes, United win.
Sure, seeing your team come from behind to win a soccer game is an unbeatable feeling. You could even argue that coming back from adversity is a symptom of great team spirit and faith. But how long can United trust the club’s DNA to rise from the ashes?
Statistics can be viewed in black and white. United are 19th in the table in first-half results (minutes 1-45). In other words, if United finished their matches at halftime, they would be firmly in the relegation zone with eight points.
By contrast, United would be third based on their performances in the second half of this season’s games with 19 points, behind Leicester and Chelsea.
Going deeper, if we look at the early stages at Old Trafford, United would be at the bottom of the league in points won. The Reds are 15th in points accumulated in the second half at home.
Now this is the best part. If you look at the second half of away games, United are at the top of the league with a two-point difference over Chelsea, compared to 14th in their first half.
As the stats show, the Red Devils’ main obstacle remains their inability to be consistent.
If United could somehow remedy their performances in the first half and start as they intend, they could try to be dark horses this Premier League season and reclaim old glories. Although they are scoring points by conceding first and winning matches, there is no way it can be sustainable in the long run.
But then again, you never really know what you’ll get with this United team, so saying something with conviction seems pointless.