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Manchester United cannot score from corners – and that points to a bigger problem

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On the face of it, there was nothing significantly particular concerning the objective. Burnley partially cleared a nook by Bruno Fernandes, who picked up the unfastened ball and performed a brief cross into the toes of Paul Pogba simply outdoors the penalty space. From there, Pogba switched the play to Mason Greenwood, who minimize inside and hit a deflected shot previous Bailey Peacock-Farrell to place Manchester United on the right track for a late win at Previous Trafford.

That was April 18 final yr, virtually 10 months in the past, and the importance of the objective is that it was the final time United scored from a nook within the Premier League. A complete of 156 corners have been delivered since and United haven’t discovered the web from any of them. Watford have had three managers over the identical interval.

The statistics make for even bleaker studying when put next with the success a lot of their top-flight opponents have had from such dead-ball conditions. Like United, Leeds have taken 156 corners over the identical 10-month window and scored 9 targets from them. Arsenal have taken one fewer and scored seven occasions, Aston Villa two fewer and plundered eight targets.

If Newcastle are to keep away from relegation, their effectiveness from corners might show an important weapon. They’ve managed seven targets from the 123 corners they’ve had since United final managed to attain from one. West Ham? 9 targets from 162 corners. Liverpool, the league’s nook kings? Fifteen from 241. Chelsea and Manchester Metropolis every have eight targets from their previous 186 and 245 corners respectively since final April. Southampton, United’s opponents at Previous Trafford on Saturday lunchtime, have scored seven targets from their final 168 corners.

It’s a quite awkward file for United on condition that they employed a set-piece coach final summer season when Eric Ramsay was drafted on to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s workers and, whereas the problems pre-date Ralf Rangnick’s appointment as interim manager in November, there was little seen enchancment underneath the German regardless of the significance he attaches to set items.

In an interview with the Coaches’ Voice earlier than he took over at Previous Trafford, Rangnick defined how he dedicated 30 per cent of his coaching time to set-pieces on condition that “30 per cent of all targets are scored both on or straight after a set piece so, as coaches, it’s essential to be alert to that”. 

Rangnick admitted just lately that the scenario was “a little bit bit bizarre” and recommended it was partly “a query of coaching time”, which implied that an onerous schedule, Covid-19 associated issues and the glut of different points he’s attempting to handle had been limiting the time to work on set items. However the lack of objective menace from corners appears like an more and more urgent downside for a workforce struggling for targets as a complete – United have scored greater than as soon as in simply three of Rangnick’s 12 video games in cost – and considerably incongruous given the aerial powers of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani and Harry Maguire and the peak within the squad. 

Coaching time apart, Rangnick additionally argued that it’s “a query of deliveries” and it was maybe no shock to see annoyed United followers speaking up the standard of James Garner’s corners throughout Nottingham Forest’s 4-1 hammering of Leicester within the FA Cup final Sunday when the midfielder, on mortgage from Previous Trafford, whipped in menacing ball after menacing ball.

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