Sofyan Amrabat might be required by Manchester United to help them with their worst flaw.

On transfer deadline day, Man Utd acquired tough midfielder Sofyan Amrabat, who might assist Erik ten Hag while on loan.

Even though there were some improvements in the late loss at Arsenal, it still feels like Erik ten Hag’s team is having trouble clicking in the early going. Manchester United has had another challenging week off the field.

Although what transpired in the game has been an afterthought in a week where the narrative has justifiably focused on Jadon Sancho and Antony, there were positives to be taken from the way United played at the Emirates compared to what had come before in the previous three games.

It’s also true that some of those advancements have been exaggerated a little bit, such as Ten Hag’s assertion that his team deserved to win the game. There is no disputing that Arsenal generated the better chances, even if they were only worth a point.

And right now, that is the main focus of many of this season’s problems. The drive to dominate has harmed United’s defensive record, which was the foundation of their success last season. United has become a more aggressive pressing team this season, playing a much higher line.

The equilibrium still isn’t quite right after four games. United does appear to be moving the ball better and are producing more opportunities, but they appear to be playing much worse defense, and Ten Hag should be very concerned about the caliber of the chances they are giving up.

At Old Trafford, United had a lucky clean sheet against Wolves to start the season, but in their following three games, they have allowed seven goals. Despite these numbers, Andre Onana has had a strong start to life at Old Trafford and has received no criticism.

Instead, the problem is more with the system and the desire to play in the opposing team’s half than it is with the individuals involved. United is moving forward, but doing so exposes them, and they haven’t quite found the perfect balance.

The statistics can be used to summarize it. United held the opposition to an expected goals (xG) total of fewer than one in 20 of their 62 games in all competitions last season. It has been at least 1.2 (against Nottingham Forest) and up to 2.2 (against Wolves) and 2.3 (against Arsenal) in the four Premier League games played so far this season, with Tottenham scoring 1.7.

These statistics aren’t for everyone, but they can be helpful as a game guide to show how the better opportunities were created and to get a sense of how the play was balanced. It is very obvious that compared to previous season, opponent clubs are finding it simpler to generate more and better scoring chances against United.

It is important to note that United themselves appear to be improving. They only managed an xG of 0.9 against Arsenal, but in their other three games, it ranged from 2.1 to 2.8. The problem, as it so often is, is taking those chances.

But when contests culminate in shootouts, relatively few great teams are successful. Ten Hag’s true want is control, which is now lacking from United’s game.

Finding a method to do that without significantly compromising the attacking intent will be difficult when the entire first-team roster returns to Carrington following the international break. With 82 shots in four games and an average of one shot per game, Brighton are a dangerous opponent for a club that gives up too many chances.

total of nine xG.

Although they fell 1-0 at the Amex late in the season, they played solid defense and were only defeated by an extremely late goal. Last season’s United handled Roberto De Zerbi’s distinctive style of play reasonably well, winning an FA Cup semifinal on penalties after a goalless draw.

To defeat the Seagulls at Old Trafford, it appears they may need to reclaim that form. United will have a difficult season if they keep giving up chances at the same rate they have been.

Perhaps Sofyan Amrabat, who arrived on deadline day, will be crucial to that. The 27-year-old is tenacious and aggressive, a natural defensive midfielder, keeps things simple with the ball, and it’s not yet evident how he will fit into this midfield. He might provide control and a strong defensive posture.

Ten Hag usually worries about Amrabat’s health because he withdrew from the Moroccan team on Friday after suffering an injury. Although there were rumors he was injured when he arrived at Carrington, United claimed he was perfectly healthy when he left for international duty once the legalities surrounding his signing were finished. It now seems possible that he sustained a new injury.

That might yet ruin his chances of making a debut.

Next weekend, but when he is well, he might assist United in resolving a problem that has hindered them thus far this year.




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