Bruno Fernandes shoots on target against Manchester City in the Premier League at Old Trafford

Why the Reds are still shooting for success

Tuesday 19 January 2021 10:55

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was a dead-eyed finisher for Manchester United and prided himself on hitting the target whenever a chance came his way.

After taking over as manager in December 2018, he suggested he wanted his players to always shoot when they get a clear sight of goal and the stats are showing no side has had more attempts on target than the Reds in this 2020/21 campaign.

While there have been some tight games against other top teams - goalless draws with Chelsea, Manchester City and now Liverpool - nobody can accuse Ole's men of lacking in entertainment value.

United and Liverpool have both fired 96 shots on target in 2020/21, even if clear-cut chances were at a premium at Anfield on Sunday. It was a case of two of the sides battling towards the top of the table cancelling each other out for long spells but Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba still had great opportunities to take all three points, only for keeper Alisson to prove his worth in the home goal.

Leeds United are next in the list of teams with the most shots on target, perhaps unsurprisingly considering their attacking philosophy under Marcelo Bielsa. Manchester City, who have been expertly prioritising defensive solidity of late, are ranked fourth while Chelsea are fifth.

Furthermore, our players feature prominently when breaking down these shots on target to individuals. Bruno Fernandes is particularly high in this field with 21, which is remarkable considering he operates in midfield and is also performing strongly in other areas, such as through balls and pressing.

Marcus Rashford, who started at centre-forward at the weekend but usually plays in a wider role, is also on this particular leaderboard, on 20, and remains a constant threat to defences. Next best for United is Anthony Martial (13), followed by Paul Pogba (8) and Edinson Cavani (6).

Leeds hit-man Patrick Bamford is the division's leader for shots on target, with Everton attacker Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Tottenham talisman Harry Kane also right up there.

When it comes to shots either on or off target, Fernandes has had a total of 53 in the Premier League, with Rashford on 44 and the pair are some way clear of Martial on 29. Penalties do not count in this metric, but Bruno has had an additional six of these.

Next on the list of Reds with the most scoring attempts is a centre-back - Harry Maguire. The skipper is always looking to get on the end of set-pieces and has mustered 20 efforts this term so far.

Stats via up to 19 January 2021.