12 amazing stats from Man Utd’s brilliant comeback win vs Barcelona
Manchester United have made it past La Liga giants Barcelona with a 2-1 victory to progress to the last 16 of the Europa League.
Having taken a 2-2 draw back from Old Trafford in last week’s first leg, the tie remained hanging in the balance at Old Trafford.
Erik ten Hag’s men got off to a slow start on the night, going behind to a Robert Lewandowski penalty as Barcelona dominated the opening half in their characteristic possession style.
But United came roaring back into the tie after Ten Hag substituted Wout Weghorst off for Antony at half-time. The hosts got back to level terms in the 46th minute with a well-taken goal from Fred before a superb finish from Antony completed the comeback midway through the second half.
From there, Barcelona struggled to test David de Gea as United managed the game intelligently, with their off-ball organisation key in denying the visitors opportunities.
“When you can beat Barcelona, one of the best teams at this moment in Europe, then your belief can be really strong that you are able to beat anyone,” Ten Hag told reporters in his post-match press conference.
“When you are eight points ahead of Real Madrid in La Liga and you beat Real Madrid in the Super Cup 1-3 and we have seen Real Madrid playing against Liverpool this week [winning 5-2] and you beat a really good opponent, we have the potential to beat all good teams.”
“Oh yes, I think so, yes,” he added, when asked if he believed this was his biggest win yet as Red Devils boss.
“We’ve had some good wins, Liverpool and Arsenal at home, really good wins but I think this over two legs, one tie, Barcelona: it’s a big win.
“We have great personalities, starting with David [De Gea], Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, Casemiro, Bruno [Fernandes], winning types. Everyone has such a strong belief in this team and fight.”
Here are 12 amazing stats from Manchester United’s big statement victory:
— The two teams were exactly level for expected goals – 1.2xG on the night. But United registered twice as many shots (12) as Barcelona, and a considerable proportion of the visitors’ xG was Lewandowski’s penalty, which is judged at 0.76xG.
— Lisandro Martinez won possession eight times, won seven duels, registered four tackles, four clearances and five accurate long balls.
Lisandro Martinez's game by numbers vs. Barcelona:
8x possession won
7 duels won
5 accurate long balls
1 chance created
What a difference he's made to this Man Utd defence.
— Squawka (@Squawka) February 23, 2023
— Barcelona hadn’t lost a match in which they were leading at half-time since April 2021. Manchester United’s comeback victory broke a 37-match unbeaten streak when the Catalan giants were ahead at the break.
— Across the two legs, United scored four goals against Barcelona – that’s 57% of the tally they’ve conceded in 22 La Liga matches this season.
—Saturday will mark exactly 10 months since Richard Keys dubbed Erik ten Hag “Erik ten Months” on his blog. Safe to say those 10 months haven’t quite gone as Ten Hag predicted.
– Fred registered 47 touches – and he was absolutely everywhere.
—That was Manchester United’s 28th win in all competitions this season. No side in Europe’s major leagues has won more.
— United have now won 14 and lost just one of their 18 matches since Cristiano Ronaldo departed in December.
— Bruno Fernandes’ assist for Fred’s opener takes him up to 25 goal involvements (12 goals, 13 assists) in European competition for Manchester United. Since he made his debut for the club back in February 2020, only Robert Lewandowski (37), Kylian Mbappe (33), Karim Benzema (27) and Mohamed Salah (27) have registered more.
— Ten Hag’s side lost two of their opening four home matches this season but, since then they’ve gone unbeaten in 18 matches at Old Trafford (16 wins, two draws) – via @OptaJoe.
— Antony’s match-winner was the 19th goal United have scored via a substitute this season. That’s the most of any side in Europe’s major leagues. Depth.
— Fred has now scored five goals at Old Trafford this season. Only Marcus Rashford (17) has more. The Brazilian has also either scored or assisted six of United’s last 16 goals.
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