The tactics of new manager Erik ten Hag appear to be finally finding favor with Manchester United.
The Dutchman had a rough start because consecutive losses to Brighton and Brentford were not in the plan. Since then, United has developed a dynamic style of play, and they enter Sunday’s Premier League match against West Ham with a seven-game unbeaten streak across all competitions.
However, there is one undesirable side effect of this new approach under Ten Hag, and that has to do with the team’s discipline. Even though United hasn’t had a player receive a red card yet this season, they still have the joint-worst statistics for receiving cautions.
There have been a remarkable 32 yellow cards issued to United, Everton, and Nottingham Forest combined. United has participated in the fewest games (11 out of the three), so their average number of cards each game is approximately three.
As Scott McTominay can testify, athletes eventually become aware of those stats. After receiving five cautions, he missed a league game, and now two more players are about to do the same.
Both Diogo Dalot and Bruno Fernandes have received four cautions thus far. Both Portuguese players will be required to sit out the league match at Aston Villa on November 6 if they receive a yellow card against West Ham.
Both players actually have a good amount of time to try to avoid receiving another booking.
According to Premier League rules, any player who receives five yellow cards before the season’s 19th game will be suspended for one match. The aforementioned pair, along with Harry Maguire and Lisandro Martinez (both have three cards), will have to walk a tightrope up until the Arsenal game on January 21. Tomorrow is United’s 12th league game.
Ten Hag will, of course, be concentrating only on results, and thus far, he appears to be on track to improve upon the dismal performance of last term.
However, during the course of the previous seven seasons, United has consistently placed in the bottom five of this particular ranking (combining the total amount of yellow and red cards earned). They are expected to keep that undesirable record with their upcoming performance.