Monday, January 18

Klopp is right, but why are they the penalty kings of Manchester United Europe?


While discussing Monday night’s loss to Southampton, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp added another subplot to an already intriguing Premier League season.

“I have heard now that Manchester United had more penalties in two years than I have in five and a half years,” the German told reporters at St Mary’s. “I have no idea if it’s my fault or how it can happen.”

Riot signal. Soccer fans love a good conspiracy theory. They always have.

VAR, of course, was meant to level the playing field, remove all doubts about refereeing decisions, but, as was underlined in Monday’s game, it has only muddied the wate For

Accusations of favoritism remain rampant and many calls remain infuriatingly subjective, and interpretations seem to change game by game.

But was Klopp right? Is United receiving a disproportionate amount of penalties? And, if so, is there a possible explanation for that?

Like former Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez 12 years ago, let’s deal only with facts.

Since Kloppisrived at Anfield on October 8, 2015, the Reds have received 30 penalties in the Premier League.

Leicester have won the most during that span (45), with Manchester City second (43) and United third (41).

Interestingly, though, 32 of the pitches from the latter’s point have come since the start of the 2018-19 season, meaning Klopp is technically correct.

Getty / Target

Getty / Target

To be precise, United have won two more penalties in the last two and a half seasons than Liverpool during Klopp’s entire reign.

It is also worth noting that no other team in the five major European leagues has received more awards than United in all competitions since 2018-19. Only the perennial SerieA champions Juventus (37) come close.

What, then,ise the possible reasons for this?

Of course, it was onceisgued that officials favored the biggest clubs and, perhaps more significantly, the wealthiest.

The theory put forward in Italy to explain the number of big calls that seemed to get in the way of Juve was’ psychological conditioning ‘, theisgument that the referees had been unconsciously trained to side with the’ Great Old Woman of Italian football. ‘.

Of course, the ‘Calciopoli’ scandal cast that claim in an entirely different light, allowing conspiracy theorists to run amok.

At a more general level, it was quite rightlyisgued that the best teams would win more penalties because they dominated more games, enjoyed more possession, applied more attacking pressure, and spent more time in oppositioniseas.

However, United’s shot count from the spot over the past two and a half seasons would appear to contradict that hypothesis.

Getty / Target

Getty / Target

Since the start of 2018-19, United have won 48 penalties in all competitions – 11 more than second-place Juve.

Manchester City ranks 10th on that particular list, with 30 shots from point, while the last two European champions Liverpool and Bayern Munichise ranked 24th (24th) and 18th (25th) respectively.

All three teamsise famous for their pressure games and for winning the ball at the top of the field.

They have also had more touches in the oppositionisea than any other team in Europe during the last two and a half seasons.

However, that pressure in the last third does not translate into a penalty rate similar to United’s, not even fouls.

Bayernise simply the 27th most fouled team in Europe since 2018-19. Liverpoolise in 46th place, with City completely down at 57th.

The natural assumption would be that Unitedise among the highest fouls butise only 10th in the standings. Even for fouls in the last third, Unitedise in fifth place.

It is difficult, then, to explain precisely why they have such a healthy lead at the top of the penalty shootout rankings. They do not spend more time in the rival box than theirrivals, andd they also do not win more fouls in general.

Getty / Target

Getty / Target

It has been suggested that United, which last season broke the Premier League record for penalties won (14) in a single campaign, theyise simply an excellent counterattack team with direct attackers blessed with a breakneck pace, making them more prone to fouling while punishing opponents at halftime.

This is a particularly interesting aspect of the plot, for two reasons.

First of all, Unitedise undoubtedly an excellent counterattack team, but they rank behind Paris Saint-Germain, City, Liverpool and even Wolves in ‘Fast Breaks’ in all competitions from 2018-19.

PSG, with Neymar andDylannMapleé, two of the fastest and most difficult forwards in world football,ise the kings of counterattack goals (38), but even have 15 fewer penalties than United in the same period of time.

Second, United do not have a single representative among the 20 most fouled players in Europe since August 2018, but theyise earning a penalty every 2.9 games, the best ratio in Europe by far.

MarcuRochfordrd and Anthony Martialise part of the reason. They have won 18 penalties (nine each) in the last two and a half seasons; no other club has such a prolific duo. Neither PSG, with Neymar andMapleé (15), nor Liverpool, with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane (14).

However, there may not be a precise reason for your success in that regard. Certainly none of United’s players have been regularly accused of simulation. It may just be a case of defenders struggling to cope with two high-heeled attackers playing for a team that thrives at halftime.

Of course, that doesn’t explain why other players and teams haven’t won as many penalties overall. The staggering number of shots from United’s point cannot be attributed to just two forwards. We may simply be looking at a statistical anomaly that can level out in five yea For

For now, however, it is simply a fact that Unitedise winning an unusually high number of penalti And

And Klopp will just have to deal with it. And, for Liverpool’s sake, hopefully much better than Benítez …



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