Manchester United’s first draw under Erik ten Hag highlighted a major flaw within the squad that carried over from last season.
The lack of ruthlessness and clinical finishing acts as a damning deficiency in United’s pursuit to win every game.
United held 63% of the ball all game against Newcastle United. With possession so high, one would assume there were chances galore.
Still, the home side only managed two shots on target. Two shots on target in 90 minutes of football.
Fallibility and hesitation in front of goal are hurting United. The performance came immediately after United needed 34 shots to beat Omonia in the Europa League on Thursday.
Moreover, of United’s 15 total shots against Newcastle, seven have come from inside the box. But still, there was vagueness or modesty in front of goal, even at such close range.
Newcastle managed to put his body at risk on several occasions. The Magpies blocked five of United’s shots.
But no great defense can excuse the two big chances that Fred and Marcus Rashford wasted towards the end of the match. Nor can it excuse Diogo Dalot’s loose duck shooting in injury time despite having a clear view of the goal.
Ignore the specs of those two missed clear chances and focus on the stats for a moment – two big chances aren’t enough.
United had the vast majority of the ball and also completed more than 200 more passes than Newcastle (508 to 299).
With such, United should not have resorted to more than half of their penalty kick attempts outside the opposition penalty area (8 shots). And they certainly should have created more than two big chances.
Newcastle were there for the taking in the second half as United increased their intention. The visiting team failed on any of their six dribble attempts after the 45th minute as United snuffed out any attacking hopes with 12 tackles.
The back four and midfielder did their defensive homework. But United’s attack still begs the question: how can they not be more clinical?