Who is the first choice penalty taker for Man United?
During the course of the 2016/17 English Premier League season a total of 106 penalties were awarded, equaling the record set back in the 2009/10 campaign, the highest amount recorded since the Premier League era began, so José Mourinho will have been disappointed that his Manchester United side were only awarded 4 of those spot kicks.
Mourinho often complains that his sides get a raw deal from match officials, so the fact that United only won a further 2 penalties in the first half of the 2017/18 season, making it 5 for the calendar year will not have improved his mood.
With Zlatan Ibrahimović seeing very little game time due to injuries and Wayne Rooney having moved on, the door is open for a new first choice penalty taker to emerge.
Romelu Lukaku failed to convert from the spot early in his United career, so Anthony Martial would now appear to be in the box seat.
However, the arrival of Alexis Sánchez from Arsenal may well shake things up further and the Chilean international is not the type of player to shirk responsibility.
Paul Pogba and Daley Blind have scored from the spot in European competitions since Mourinho took the reins, while Ander Herrera and Juan Mata have also registered successful spot kicks for United in the past but the Red Devils’ Portuguese manager insists that he will have the final say on a game by game basis.
Who takes corner kicks and direct free kicks for Man United?
Another area that Mourinho will have been disappointed with after his first season in charge is the number of goals United scored from dead ball situations.
Champions’ Chelsea led the way scoring 22 times from set piece plays in 2016/17, while United only registered in this manner 7 times. In fact, only 1 side performed worse, Sunderland, who would be relegated.
This seemed like quite a baffling statistic, bearing in mind that the United squad had a huge physical advantage over the rest of their Big 6 rivals but the signs are that they are now emerging as a real force in this department in Mourinho’s 2nd season in charge, having scored 10 times from set pieces at the time of writing, 1 less than the best ranked club Arsenal.
No player is really monopolizing set piece plays though and the frequency with which short corners are used remains a bit perplexing.
The door is certainly open for one player to seize the initiative and new arrival Sánchez looks certain to feature heavily in this department going forward.
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