Manchester United made the worst possible start to the Erik ten Hag era on Sunday.
All the hope and excitement that came with their impressive pre-season campaign was erased in an instant as the Red Devils suffered the first Old Trafford defeat of their history to Brighton & Hove Albion.
Two first-half goals from Pascal Gross highlighted the problems with United‘s build-up play and defensive organisation as they floundered to a 2-1 defeat in which Alexis Mac Allister’s own goal hardly spared their blushes.
Terrible start for Man Utd
Obviously, it’s still early doors and United teams have even gone onto win the Premier League having lost their first game of the season, but it’s nevertheless a foreboding start to their campaign.
As such, the pressure is on for Ten Hag to turn things around and really start impressing his footballing philosophy onto the United players before another season starts to pass the club by.
Besides, opening up with a 2-1 defeat to Brighton leaves the Old Trafford club in rather unique circumstances when it comes to their statistical hopes for the 2022/23 campaign.
Every club’s chances of relegation
That’s because the data analysts over at FiveThirtyEight, who use a complex algorithm to predict potential outcomes in the beautiful game, don’t exactly give an optimistic outlook on how United’s year might turn out.
In fact, their statistical model for the 2022/23 Premier League season after the first round of fixtures actually sees the Red Devils considered more likely than Brighton to suffer relegation.
Ten Hag’s men are actually slapped with a 5% chance of dropping down to the Championship, which we ultimately know to be impossible, but nonetheless paints a damning picture of where United find themselves right now.
However, before you make too many assumptions about United’s bumbling start to the season, be sure to gain the full context by seeing how the data analysts rank all 20 clubs by their probability of going down in 2023.
20. Manchester City: <1% chance of relegation
19. Liverpool: <1%
18. Chelsea: <1%
17. Tottenham Hotspur: <1%
16. Arsenal: 1%
15. Brighton & Hove Albion: 4%
14. Manchester United: 5%
13. Aston Villa: 8%
12. Newcastle United: 10%
11. Leicester City: 10%
10. West Ham United: 12%
9. Brentford: 12%
8. Crystal Palace: 13%
7. Wolverhampton Wanderers: 17%
6. Leeds United: 24%
5. Everton: 26%
4. Southampton: 32%
3. Fulham – 35%
2. Bournemouth – 36%
- Nottingham Forest – 55%
Embarrassing for Man Utd
You know it’s bad when United are given quintuple the chance of plunging down to the English second-tier as their fellow ‘big six’ clubs who are handed a 1% probability at best.
Like we say, the Red Devils simply won’t go down, but the broader theme here is that the statistics really don’t favour their chances this season with their top four hopes capped at 13% and their title credentials slammed at just <1%.
Nevertheless, the data does more than just pan United because it also paints a worrying picture for Forest on the back of their opening day defeat, running contrary to many fans’ optimistic forecast for the promoted side.
Meanwhile, Villa are still sitting pretty despite suffering a reality check at Bournemouth, Leicester look set for a tumultuous season lower down the table and Frank Lampard’s Everton have a big fat target on their backs.
But remember, statistics aren’t the be all and end all in football and there’s still nine months worth of action yet to play, so there’s still plenty to go down as we wait and see who will go down.
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