February 2, 2012

MONTH IN REVIEW: Star & Stats For United In January

Manchester United's first month in 2012 was a very indifferent one, as they enjoyed success, but also suffered some setbacks, as well.

United had some crucial wins in January
Overall, the Reds won four of their six matches in January and have remained level at the top of the Premier League standings, as they were at the start of the month, but they exited their third cup competition of the season.

In January United faced a treacherous test, as four of their six matches were away from Old Trafford, which they won two - Manchester City and Arsenal - and lost two - Newcastle United and Liverpool.

After averaging nearly three goals (2.85) per game in December, the scoring dropped considerably as the Reds managed just 11 goals in their six games, a 1.83 goals per game average. Impressively, their were eight Reds who scored goals - four different midfielders - which shows that there are going throughout the squad. Even though all of the forwards that played in the month scored, there were only two - Danny Welbeck (3) and Wayne Rooney (2) - who had more than a goal to their name.

At the other end, United conceded two more goals than they did in December playing a game less - as they notched 1.33 goals-against-average. Of course, these stats don't factor in an ever-changing back-four or a much tougher schedule, either! Sir Alex Ferguson has faced so many injuries to his back-line as every defender, with exception to Patrice Evra, missed two games. And he even had to call on his third choice goalkeeper, Ben Amos, in the final game of the month, as David de Gea and Anders Lindegaard missed it through illness and injury, respectively.

There were a few players who played consistently over the month to earn an honest shout for the player of the month. But, Antonio Valencia was, again, the biggest threat for United - and that showed in both of the matches that they lost. Against Newcastle, he was inexcusably used as an emergency right-back, and the United attack sputtered out of control because of it. Then against Liverpool, and for whatever reason, his teammates could not get him the ball in the second half and the attack faltered again. The Ecuadorian has had a fine couple of months, but the form he is in right now is sending shivers down the spine of opposing defenders. His finest performance of the month - and there were a few of them - was against Arsenal as he scored a goal and registered an assist in the 2-1 win.

GP 6 W 4 D 0 L 2 GF 11 GA 8 GD +3

04 - Newcastle United (PL-A) - L, 3-0 (52,299)
08 - Manchester City (FA-A) - W, 2-3 (46,808)
14 - Bolton Wanderers (PL-H) - W, 3-0 (75,444)
22 - Arsenal (PL-A) - W, 1-2 (60,093)
28 - Liverpool (FAC-A) - L, 2-1 (43,952)
31 - Stoke City (PL-H) - W, 2-0 (74,719)

Welbeck - 3
Rooney - 2
Berbatov - 1
Carrick - 1
Hernandez - 1
Park - 1
Scholes - 1
Valencia - 1

Giggs - 2
Valencia - 2
Rafael - 1
Rooney - 1
Welbeck - 1

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