Goal difference...

Rozay

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Has been a concern for a number of years now. Whatever it is that we find ourselves fighting for at any given time, we seem to need to overcome a significant goal difference deficit in addition to any points we may need to make up.

In the last decade, have we not lost out on the league title and CL qualification on goal difference? Last season, we put in a phenomenal late effort to overturn the goal difference deficit against Leicester that was there for ages, and we currently sit second in the league on goal difference. In fact, in the entire top eight, only one team has an inferior goal difference to us. I appreciate that we lost a match 1-6, but the team with the best GD lost one 7-2 on the same day.

This really needs to be sorted out. I’m sure it’s a combination of factors, but one that is easier to remedy is that over the years, we have gone ahead and then proceeded to retreat and decide that we can only achieve the win by ‘holding on’ for it.
 

Shiva87

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Our goal difference has a lot to do with the fact that we haven't been convincing winners in most of our games. They have been very tight affairs, with our mentality shining through and taking us to a win. When it didn't, we have dropped points (Leicester for e.g.).
 

Rozay

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Our goal difference has a lot to do with the fact that we haven't been convincing winners in most of our games. They have been very tight affairs, with our mentality shining through and taking us to a win. When it didn't, we have dropped points (Leicester for e.g.).
Yes but our goal difference is being assessed (over a number of years) against team’s that are of similar strength to us. After all, if other teams were so much better, whether we are fighting for first or fourth - they still have the same points as us. Teams with less points than us this season have better GDs. and it’s been a theme for years. I think the teams with more points should generally have a better number, but I do wonder if there is some sort of mentality issue.

If the other teams were ‘tighter at the back’ than us for example they should be above us.
 

Fetshu

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Not only do we have to tighten it up at the back, but it also comes down to us not converting our chances in front of the goal.
Just take our three last matches -

Villa - Pogba's clear cut chance, Bruno's shot + some moments that I'm not remembering.
Wolves - Bruno and Rashford chances. Could've put the game to bed much-much sooner.
Leicester - Countless goal scoring chances, that we didn't convert and we paid the price by dropping 2 points.

It's a double-edged sword -
From one side, I'm glad that we're creating that many goal scoring opportunities again. This is something that we have struggled with in the last few seasons. We didn't create as much, but we put our chances away.
From the other side, this is exactly why OP created the post in the first place - we're struggling with not only converting (barring the Leeds game, where we also had tons of additional chances on top of the 6 scored), but the GD can come back and bite us in the arse. This is why most of our games, if looking at the scores, seems really ''tight'' and close.

I'm sure someone can either debunk or confirm my previous statements about chance creation and scoring this season vs previous one's, but just thinking back on it, that seems to be the case.
 

Shiva87

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Yes but our goal difference is being assessed (over a number of years) against team’s that are of similar strength to us. After all, if other teams were so much better, whether we are fighting for first or fourth - they still have the same points as us. Teams with less points than us this season have better GDs. and it’s been a theme for years. I think the teams with more points should generally have a better number, but I do wonder if there is some sort of mentality issue.

If the other teams were ‘tighter at the back’ than us for example they should be above us.
The problem is that you are comparing teams under different regimes, and against different teams. GD is really an irrelevant stat until the last two games of the season. You get the same points for a 1-0 win or for a 5-0 win.

We first need to address our issue of winning games consistently. Once that is done, the details on better goal difference etc can be worked on.

As a fan, I've seen Ole and his teams go on solid runs and then drop points meekly and fail to rediscover the form. While this team looks different, I hope they can stay on this run. If that breaks, the most important thing would be to go on another 10-15 game run.
 

Leftback99

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We have more 'easier' home (for what it's worth) games to come in the second half of the season where we would hope to improve it.
- 7 is due to the Spurs and Palace games from the start of the season when we clearly weren't ready.
 

RedSky

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It's all due to our home form. If you look at our away form our GD is pretty good +10.

Our home form however is -1, but if you look at the fixture list below, you'll see that we've had a fairly tricky start. Below has been our home form:

ClubDateResultGFGA
Crystal Palace19-Sept-201:313
Tottenham4-Oct-201:616
Chelsea24-Oct-200:000
Arsenal1-Nov-200:101
West Brom21-Nov-201:010
Manchester City12-Dec-200:000
Leeds Utd20-Dec-206:262
Wolves29-Dec-201:010
Aston Villa1-Jan-212:121

The only clear victory was the Leeds game, all the others have been tight affairs or bad loses. We do have some good fixtures in the 2nd half of the season though to equal this back up. On the flip side, this also means that we've got tough away games to come.
 

Santoryo

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This season we've conceded a lot more goals than should be allowed for a team fighting at the top. We've actually scored loads this season(only second to Pool in the league) but have conceded at an alarming rate.

We've been scoring 3+ goals for the most part this season. The last few games goals have been harder but I'll chalk that down to this tight Christmas schedule and I expect us to get back scoring loads of goals again.
 

drunkmonkmeth

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We dont have a real #9 most games and cavanni is past his best but still our best striker.. martial is going thru a patch and rashford is good at everything but finishing and alot of our chances get wasted by him getting into great positions and squandering it.
 
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I agree, our goal difference needs to be improved.

I'm not sure what the underlying issue is. In the league we're scoring more (over 2 goals per game whereas the average last season was 1.73), but we're also conceding more (1.5 goals per game this season compared to just under one per game last season). You'd presume we were throwing the kitchen sink at scoring and getting caught on the counter, but it doesn't seem like we often concede from getting caught on the counter. And we're not going all-out attack. We often play one of Fred, Matic, McTominay to help shield the defence. So why are we conceding more?

Has the defence regressed, despite the addition of Telles and having time to gel as a unit? Was it just the dodgy start with Covid? Was it individual errors such as not tracking the Villa free kick, or giving away cheap penalties? Perhaps it's a bit of everything. It does seem to be improving though, slowly.
 

Will Singh

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We are on track to scoring 70 goals this season which hasn’t been done since SAF days. Problem is the amount we are conceding which we shouldn’t be doing with the amount we’ve spent on defence and a quality keeper....!
 

Withnail

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While our finishing can and should improve, it isn't a huge issue. We're second only to Liverpool in goals scored.

The main reason our goal difference is so bad is that we had two horrendous performances at the start of the season and conceded 9 goals in two games which is skewing things a bit.

In the 13 games since Spurs we've a GD of +15 so I don't think this is a general problem unless we expect more hidings.
 

Amerifan

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Without running the numbers, it seems that a high GD comes from running up the score on the bottom table teams. Once a game is in hand, some managers rest starters and give kids a chance, others work the starters. A good argument can be made for both approaches, depending on where the squad is.
 

DRJosh

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We've conceded the most goals amongst the top 11. The Liverpool result has obviously made things worse but our lack of consistency in defence may be the difference between winning the title and coming in 2nd or 3rd.
 

The United

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Our defense needs to be tightened up a bit. The offense is acceptable at this moment.

Conceding from set pieces has been the most problematic thing for us this season.

Then, some people want us to play with only one DM at the base. I can't imagine if we do that regularly with our leaky defense at this moment.
 
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cyril C

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We have more 'easier' home (for what it's worth) games to come in the second half of the season where we would hope to improve it.
- 7 is due to the Spurs and Palace games from the start of the season when we clearly weren't ready.
Home games. Can we have the rest of the season on AWAY games please.