Football

Are Manchester United most vulnerable after a midweek European match?

Fight between Manchester United and Celta Vigo players

Manchester United have been, by far, the busiest of all English teams this season. With 60 matches played already, the Red Devils still have four more matches due to play within the next fortnight. And despite a tight schedule, the Mancunians have lost the joint-fewest 4 league matches alongside Sunday opponents Tottenham Hotspur. But have their European excursions been the reason behind the majority of these defeats? The stats do suggest so.

In fact, three of Manchester United’s 4 Premier League defeats this season have been in games played on a Sunday immediately after a European match. Watford, Chelsea and Arsenal are the three teams who took advantage of United’s jam-packed programme to the fullest. While the loss to Watford followed the 1-0 defeat to Feyenoord days earlier, defeats inflicted by London duo Chelsea and Arsenal were preceded by wins over Fenerbahçe and Celta Vigo respectively. The other defeat which the Red Devils suffered came post the first international break of the season against Manchester City, coincidentally the first defeat suffered by the north-west giants this term.

 

Also Read: Tottenham Hotspur host Manchester United in White Hart Lane swansong

 

Manchester United vulnerable after Europe?

Comparing United’s situation with teams like Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur of last season that played in the very competition and the Chelsea team that lifted the 2012/13 edition of the Europa League, we came across some interesting inferences. 3 of the 10 league defeats suffered by the Merseysiders last campaign came after a Thursday night outing. Only one of Spurs’ 6 league defeats came on a Sunday immediately after a Europa League match. Same was the case with 2013 winners Chelsea — the exception being having suffered 7 losses in the league that term. The other noticeable thing here is except Tottenham, remaining three teams reached the Europa League final and went on to play in excess of 60 season matches.

 

TEAMS SEASON MATCHES LEAGUE DEFEATS LEAGUE DEFEATS AFTER A UEL GAME
Manchester United (16/17)     64     4*        3
Liverpool (15/16)     63    10        3
Spurs (15/16)     53     6        1
Chelsea (12/13)     69     7        1

 

Although the blame for suffering the blips in the league can’t be entirely put down to Thursday night football as other factors like fatigue and injuries also had its role to play, this stat certainly shows that United are most vulnerable to a defeat immediately after playing in the Europa League.

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