Data analysts rank Man Utd as the 31st best team in Europe this season

Manchester United Training Session and Press Conference

Manchester United have endured a seriously frustrating season.

They spent the first four months of the campaign under Jose Mourinho wading through allegations of dressing room discontent and lingering closer to mid-table than the top four.

Of course, Mourinho was eventually sacked in December and the arrival of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer - initially as an interim manager - inspired a brief renaissance at Old Trafford.

However, since the dramatic comeback at Paris Saint-Germain, their form has completed nosedived and United have won just two of their last 11 matches.

Such dire results have seen United miss out on Champions League football, raised questions about Solskjaer's suitability and reportedly pushed players like Paul Pogba towards an exit.

Man Utd's tough season

Bearing all of that in mind, there's a feeling around the club that a Premier League title challenge is out of the question next season and they'll continue to fall short of Europe's top teams.

That's certainly reflected in the statistics run by FiveThirtyEight this season, a world-renowned data company that analyses everything from politics, economics and sport.

Now that the season is just a few days away from completion, their 'Global Club Soccer Rankings' are starting to look very interesting and it makes poor reading for United.

Huddersfield Town v Manchester United - Premier League

Ranking European clubs

The rankings, which take the size and previous performances of clubs into consideration, have placed the Red Devils in a lowly 31st place.

Just in case that doesn't sound bad enough, that sees them placed below teams like Atalanta, Eibar and Getafe who barely have 10% of United's resources and cash.

Clubs like Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal and Juventus will probably be disappointed with their placements, too - check out the full list down below: 

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Somebody tell Solskjaer to look away.

The overall rankings are certainly interesting, too, and perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that Manchester City and Liverpool lead the way with their massive points tallies.

For a little bit of context on the results, check out FiveThirtyEight's reasoning for the data and it could explain why United tumble so far down the list.

"At the heart of our club soccer forecasts are FiveThirtyEight’s SPI ratings, which are our best estimate of a team’s overall strength," the website explains

Manchester City v Liverpool FC - Premier League

"In our system, every team has an offensive rating that represents the number of goals it would be expected to score against an average team on a neutral field, and a defensive rating that represents the number of goals it would be expected to concede.

"These ratings, in turn, produce an overall SPI rating. As a season plays out, a team’s ratings are adjusted after every match based on its performance in that match and the strength of its opponent.

"Unlike with the Elo rating system we use in several other sports, a team’s rating doesn’t necessarily improve whenever it wins a match; if it performs worse than the model expected, its ratings can decline."

Where do you think United will finish next season? Have your say in the comments section below.

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