Man Utd's Consistent Inconsistency Is Hindering Any Potential Premier League Title Charge

Will Bitibiri
Manchester United mounted a comeback once again to defeat West Ham
Manchester United mounted a comeback once again to defeat West Ham / Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images
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Jekyll and Hyde is the original tale of the duality of man, both goodness and evil in one. To find the embodiment of the multifaceted football club, look no further than Manchester United.

A word that has tormented United since Sir Alex’s retirement like an itch that can't be scratched is inconsistency. 

From results like beating the centurion Manchester City side in their own back yard to then losing to a West Brom team at home who would be relegated a week later, strange transfer dealings or even differing managerial appointments. The Red Devils just can’t find that groove of form to take them back to the glory days of yesteryear.

Solskjaer's men have now set new club and Premier League records
Solskjaer's men have now set new club and Premier League records / Pool/Getty Images

What is more interesting is that United’s consistent inconsistency can now be observed when you watch them play for 90 minutes.

Solskjaer has managed an impressive run of nine away games with a 100% record. United’s away form in those matches has even set a new club record. In addition to that, United have set a new Premier League record by scoring two goals or more in those nine games. However, despite the results on the road being flawless, the performances have been far from perfect with the Old Trafford outfit having to come from behind to win five of those fixtures.

That's more than 55% of victories on this formidable run away from home being won when conceding first.

Manchester United came back from one down to beat West Ham 3-1
Manchester United came back from one down to beat West Ham 3-1 / Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

On Saturday, West Ham dominated United in the first half in all areas, including quality and desire. In the second half, things changed. United took hold of the game after making changes and mounted a momentous comeback. A similar story was played out against Southampton last week and even Brighton and Everton a few weeks prior. A poor start with a goal or two conceded becomes a proverbial kick up the backside and, with a few changes, United win.

Sure, seeing your team come from behind to win a game of football is a feeling that is unmatched. You could even argue that coming back from adversity is a symptom of great team spirit and belief. But how long can United rely on the club’s DNA of rising from the ashes?

The statistics can be seen in black and white. United are 19th in the table for their first half results (minutes 1 to 45). In other words, if United were to finish their matches at half time, they’d be firmly in the relegation zone with eight points.

Manchester United are in the relegation zone for points won in the first half of games
Manchester United are in the relegation zone for points won in the first half of games / Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Conversely, United would be third based on their performances in the second half of matches this season on 19 points, behind both Leicester and Chelsea.

Delving deeper, if we look at first halves at Old Trafford, United would be bottom of the league for points won. The Reds are in 15th place for points accumulated in the second half at home.

Now this is the best bit. If we look at the second half of away games, United are top of the league with a two-point gap over Chelsea, compared to 14th for their first half displays.

Manchester United top the league for points won in the second half, away from home
Manchester United top the league for points won in the second half, away from home / Robin Jones/Getty Images

As the stats show, the Red Devils' main obstacle remains their inability to be consistent. 

If United could somehow remedy their first half performances and start as they mean to go on, they could prove to be dark horses in this Premier League season and recapture former glories. Although they are gaining points by conceding first and going on to win games, there is no way that can be sustainable long term.

But then again, you never truly know what you’re gonna get with this United side, so saying anything with conviction seems pointless.

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