Ole Gunnar Solskjaer jumped up to second in the bookmakers’ list of managers next in line to leave their job following Manchester United’s disappointing 2-2 draw with Aston Villa on Sunday evening.
But while it’s obvious that results have not been good enough this season, the problems at Old Trafford go way beyond the pitiful amount of points United are currently picking up.
The draw against Villa took them to 18 for the campaign from 14 games – their fewest since way back in 1988-89, a staggering 31 years ago.
Back then, United also picked up 18 points and went on to finish 11th in the table. If they achieve something similar this term, there seems little chance of Solskjaer leading them into next season.
The Norwegian bizarrely claimed that the Premier League table, in which United currently sit ninth, is not his biggest concern after Tyrone Mings cancelled out Victor Lindelof’s header to earn Villa a point.
But there are plenty more statistics which should worry Solskjaer as he enters a pivotal week, with games against Tottenham – and former manager Jose Mourinho – and fierce rivals City in the space of four days.
The Red Devils have now kept just two clean sheets in 22 matches since the ex-Molde boss was handed the reigns on a full-time basis on March 28, having fulfilled the role as interim manager for a little over three months.
That’s fewer than any other ever-present Premier League side has managed in that time, with relegation-threatened Watford and Southampton both recording three.
United actually kept three consecutive clean sheets of their own in February, but they have conceded a whopping 36 goals in the 25 games they have played since then.
Thirty-one of those have some since Solskjaer signed a three-year contract, meaning the Old Trafford outfit have let in more than Newcastle, Burnley, Everton, Wolves and the rest of the ‘big six’ – bar Arsenal – during that time.
Villa struck twice on Sunday, with Jack Grealish and Mings ensuring Dean Smith’s side avoided defeat in a game against the traditional top six for the first time in over four years.
The miserable statistics don’t end there for Solskjaer, however, with his side also struggling at the other end of the pitch.
United endured another frustrating day in their worst start to a season since 1988-89
United have scored with only 8.86 per cent of their shots since he was given the job permanently – the fourth-worst conversion rate of any current Premier League side during that period.
They have found the back of the net on 28 occasions – less than Bournemouth and Burnley, and the same amount as West Ham, Wolves and Crystal Palace.
It all adds up to dismal record for Solskjaer, who has now won only six top-flight games since taking permanent charge – the same amount as Bournemouth and less than every other club except Southampton, Watford and Brighton.
He also finds himself four points worse off at this stage of the season than Mourinho was last year.
The Portuguese was given the boot before Christmas, and while Ed Woodward has publicly backed his current manager’s project, the pressure is on Solskjaer to deliver better numbers, performances and results.
If the current trends continue, United may join Arsenal in the hunt for a new boss before the year is out.