What happens to Manchester United in February?

Having looked at Everton’s performance by month I thought it would be quite interesting to look at the team that has dominated the Premiership for the past twenty years.

Firstly lets have a look at how they control the ball during the season.

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Basically whichever month we choose United are dominant. To put this in context the average league champion has a TSR of ~0.632, United have been consistently near to this level for 12 years. That’s a pretty remarkable achievement.

So how does this dominance translate to results and goals?

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So United seem to start slowly, ramp up their results beginning in November and, with the exception of February, remain absolutely dominant until the end of March, after which their results begin to tail off.

Could their results during the busiest period of the season, November to March be a squad effect? When other teams with smaller squads tire over the busiest time of year United have enough players to rotate and stay fresh? I’m not sure.

Just a hunch but I’d suggest that the drop-off in April and May could be explained by two things. First – there’s a few seasons in there where they’ve effectively won the title already and probably don’t play their best players every game/care as much. Second – I’d venture to suggest that their qualcomp is higher during those months. I know if I was scheduling the season I’d try and get as many potential title deciding games towards the end as possible. Any other suggestions?

Something strange happens in February though.

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Take out February and that’s a pretty normal looking graph. However in February United’s sh% sits 2 standard deviations above the team mean whilst their sv% is 2 standard deviations below the team mean. That’s pretty bizarre. Anyone got an explanation?

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