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Manchester United have lowest big chance conversion rate in Premier League after West Ham draw

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 27: Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Manchester United takes his shirt off after the final whistle during the Premier League match betw
Image: Manchester United have the joint-worst conversion rate of clear-cut chances in the Premier League

Not for the first time this season, Manchester United peppered their opponent's goal at Old Trafford on Sunday but were unable to come up with a winning strike.

Jose Mourinho's side fired off 17 shots against West Ham but after Zlatan Ibrahimovic cancelled out Diafra Sakho's early opener they were unable to hit the net again.

The 1-1 draw - which leaves United 11 points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea - had similarities with their home ties with Burnley and Stoke City over the past two months. The Manchester club had 62 shots in those games combined but managed just one goal.  

It's a recurring problem and raises questions about the quality of United's finishing. A closer look at the stats shows there's an issue.

during the Premier League match between Manchester United and West Ham United at Old Trafford on November 27, 2016 in Manchester, England.
Image: Ibrahimovic scored against West Ham - but has missed more big chances than any other Premier League player this term

Manchester United have created 164 chances in the Premier League this season, scoring 18 goals. On average, they score one goal for every 9.1 chances they create.

That's the third-worst conversion rate in the Premier League, ahead of only West Ham (9.7) and Southampton (11.7).

Chances needed to score

Team Chances created Goals Chances per goal
Arsenal 139 28 5 (1st)
Chelsea 164 29 5.7 (2nd)
Leicester 97 16 6.1 (3rd)
- - - -
Man Utd 164 18 9.1 (18th)
West Ham 137 14 9.8 (19th)
Southampton 152 13 11.7 (20th)

In contrast, Chelsea have created exactly the same number of chances as United but have scored 11 more goals, hitting the net 29 times from their 164 openings. That equates to one goal for every 5.7 chances created. Arsenal are even more efficient, scoring a goal for every five chances.

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Opta also log clear-cut chances created and scored by teams. These are moments when a player would be reasonably expected to score, such as in one-on-one situations.

Big chance conversion rates - Selected Premier League clubs

Team Big chance created (PL rank) Big chance conversion % (PL rank)
Man City 25 (1st) 60.61% (2nd)
Liverpool 23 (2nd) 58.06% (3rd)
Man Utd 20 (3rd) 30.77% (20th)
Chelsea 19 (4th) 48.15% (9th)
Arsenal 18 (5th) 51.72% (5th)
Tottenham 9 (T14th) 47.62% (11th)

United are third in the table when it comes to creating clear-cut openings. They've fashioned 20 such chances - including two against West Ham - putting them behind only Liverpool (23) and Manchester City (25), two sides praised for their attacking football.

Manchester United's English striker Marcus Rashford (L) shoots in a one-on-one with the goalkeeper but sees his shot saved during the English Premier Leagu
Image: Marcus Rashford was guilty of wasting a good opening against West Ham

However, United have missed more of those clear-cut chances (18) than any other team in the Premier League. Their clear-cut chance conversion rate is the joint-worst in the division - on average they score just 30.77 per cent of those big openings, the same rate as Watford.  

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has missed nine clear-cut chances this season, three more than any other player in the Premier League. Paul Pogba (three), Marcus Rashford (two), Wayne Rooney (two), Juan Mata (one) and Jesse Lingard (one) have also been culpable.

Paul Pogba
Image: Paul Pogba has missed three clear-cut chances this season

Of course, there is the argument United are simply coming up against inspired goalkeeping. Stoke City's Lee Grant and Burnley's Tom Heaton received plaudits for their performances at Old Trafford, while Darren Randolph pulled off several fine stops for West Ham.

But Mourinho's men must find a way to be more clinical in front of goal if they are to stay in touch with the Premier League's leading sides.

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