The current Manchester United defense is the worst in 11 years. In the first 19 games of the 2012-13 Premier League season, Manchester United have conceded 28 goals, an average of 1.47 goals per match. The last time United had a worse defensive record was in 2001 when they conceded the same number of goals in their first 19 matches.
While United’s defense has been woeful this season through a combination of poor performances by Jonny Evans, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra, as well as occasional goalkeeping lapses by David de Gea, the club is still seven points ahead in the Premier League title race. A large part of the reason for has been the impact that new signing Robin van Persie has had on the club, scoring 27% of United’s league goals this season.
To illustrate how long ago United equaled their poor defensive record, United came third in the table in the 2001-2002 season while Arsenal won the title and Liverpool finished in second place.
Manchester United’s lapses in defense have been numerous this season, but most Premier League teams haven’t been able to take advantage of them due to poor defending themselves. Matches that were there for the taking, but where the opposition failed to take advantage included Reading, Newcastle, Fulham, Southampton, Aston Villa and Manchester City.
As long as van Persie remains fit and keeps on scoring the goals, while opposition teams are unable to take advantage of United’s weaknesses, Manchester United will be fine this season in the Premier League but will be quickly exposed in the Champions League where simple mistakes will be punished more severely.
Here’s Manchester United defensive record for the past 11 years:
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