Close look at Man Utd’s defensive record against fiercest rivals this season

Close Look At Man Utd’s Defensive Record Against Fiercest Rivals This Season
Liverpool's Dominik Szoboszlai (front right) shoots over the crossbar against Manchester United, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Tom White, PA Sport Data Journalist

Manchester United conceded 28 shots for the second-successive Premier League game as they drew 2-2 with Liverpool on Sunday, echoing December’s meeting which somehow finished goalless.

Here, we look at United’s defensive record, with a focus on the clashes against their fiercest rivals.


Frustration for Liverpool

Luis Diaz, centre right, scores Liverpool’s first goal at Old Trafford on Sunday
Luis Diaz (centre right) scored Liverpool’s first goal at Old Trafford (Martin Rickett/PA)

Liverpool have rained 62 shots on United’s goal in the league this season but have turned that into only two goals and two points as Erik ten Hag’s defence continue to defy statistical likelihood.

Jurgen Klopp’s side dominated December’s Anfield encounter with 34 shots to United’s six but only managed eight on target. Andre Onana saved well from Virgil Van Dijk, Mohamed Salah and Luis Diaz, but arguably the hosts’ best chance fell to famously-scoreless defender Joe Gomez in the closing stages.


Sunday brough a near repeat of that performance, Liverpool with 28 shots to United’s nine. Again, though, only seven were on target for a total of 15 out of 62 across the two games, scoring only twice with one of those being a Salah penalty.

Throw in another 25 Liverpool attempts in the recent FA Cup tie at Old Trafford – also a 2-2 draw over 90 minutes before United won 4-3 following extra-time – and Liverpool have taken 87 shots in three games against United this season without winning any of them.

Under fire

Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher, left, shoots at goal against Manchester United
Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher fired at goal against Manchester United (Bradley Collyer/PA)


Having gone 3-2 up on Chelsea last Thursday when Alejandro Garnacho scored in the 67th minute, United allowed their opponents to have the final 10 shots of a madcap game and paid the price as Cole Palmer scored in the 10th and 11th minutes of stoppage-time to complete his hat-trick and win the game.

Liverpool then had 15 without reply in the first half on Sunday and two early in the second period, meaning United had conceded 27 unanswered shots before Bruno Fernandes snapped that streak in style by equalising from 40 yards.

The Old Trafford side have now faced 252 Premier League shots in 2024 – far more than any other club. Brentford (227), West Ham (218), Sheffield United (212) and Luton (209) are the only other teams to face over 200 in that time, with only the Hammers of that quartet currently outside the league’s bottom five.

Chelsea, like Liverpool, had 28 total attempts against Manchester United but followed up with only six against Sheffield United, the league’s bottom club with a similarly wide-open style.


Over the whole season, United have faced 553 shots – just seven fewer than the Blades’ league-high total.

Despite that, the 46 goals Onana has conceded is the sixth-lowest total for any top-flight club this season, behind the top four of Arsenal (24), Liverpool (30), Manchester City (31) and Tottenham (45) as well as Everton (42).

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