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Should Manchester United be concerned about defending their title?



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In addition to being the champions in 2007-08, Man United were also the best team in the league, both, offensively and defensively. The scored the maximum goals and conceded the fewest — also ending up with the maximum number of clean sheets as well.

The following table gives the goal scoring and conceding details of the top four. Man United led on all counts:

2007-08 EPL Season

And now here’s the same table for the 2008-09 season so far. Numbers in brackets show the expected number had the clubs maintained last years averages. We are only 11 games into the season and the averages will change, but there is enough of an early trend to worry United fans and bring a cheer to their Chelsea counterparts.

2008-09 EPL Season so far

United are still as good as last year in banging in the goals but their defense seems to be slipping. The numbers point to a clear fall in their defensive standards from last year. Their performances against Liverpool and Chelsea where they couldn’t defend one-goal leads corroborate what the numbers have to say. Last year, United were winning these games, holding on to one goal leads splendidly. Not so this year.

The other interesting thing shown by the numbers is the huge leap taken by Chelsea — both offensively and defensively. Liverpool have the same number of points, but Chelsea under Scolari have started doing what Abramovich always wanted — decimate the opposition with their attacking prowess. And at the same time they seem to have improved on their defense — supposed to be the highlight of Jose’s reign. Wonder what the great one has to say now

But more importantly, are we seeing a worrying trend for United?

What do you think?