Manchester United’s £16m deal to win EVEN MORE free-kicks and penalties

Manchester United’s £16m signing Ashley Young brings several key advantages to the team.

When Ferguson realised that you can’t buy a successor to Ryan Giggs for 3m (bye bye Obertain), nor can you force a right-sided winger (Nani), an ageing CAM (Park), a striker (Rooney), an OAP (Giggs) or a young defender (Fabio) to run up and down the wing and create chance after chance for United, he splashed the cash for Aston Villa’s Ashley Young.

United now have a specialist left-sided player, one who provides quality from set-pieces and cuts in from the left the same way Nani cuts in from the right, providing United with incisive pace and more match-turning ability.

Plus he seems to be a on a similar wavelength to Rooney and co – the advantage of bringing in a player at the right stage of their career, when they themselves want to improve for the football and not just chase the money. A good signing, and if he can combine well with the rest of the team for the whole season he will be a regular starter.

However, he’s also the Premier League’s most fouled player from the 2010/2011 season and the player to win the most penalties in the Premier League last season as well (leaving the likes of Charlie Adams and Cesc Fabregas, former midfield ‘generals’ now destined to sit on the bench of their new clubs, in the shade).


Ashley Young won 95 fouls last season in the Premier League, more than any other player. The winger also won more penalties than anyone else last season in the English top flight (five).

Most fouls won – Premier League 2010-11


Fouls Won


Penalties Won

Ashley Young


Ashley Young


Adam, Charlie


Fabregas, Francesc


Dempsey, Clint


Odemwingie, Peter


Gutiérrez, Jonás


Kevin Davies


Goals From Set Pieces in 2010/2011

Premier League 2010-11
Team Set piece Open play % Set Piece
Birmingham City 18 19 48.60%
Stoke City 22 24 47.80%
Newcastle United 25 31 44.60%
West Ham United 19 24 44.20%
Blackpool 24 31 43.60%
Wolverhampton Wanderers 20 26 43.50%
Blackburn Rovers 19 27 41.30%
Fulham 19 30 38.80%
Manchester City 22 38 36.70%
Bolton Wanderers 19 33 36.50%
Wigan Athletic 14 26 35.00%
Chelsea 24 45 34.80%
Everton 17 34 33.30%
Tottenham Hotspur 17 38 30.90%
West Bromwich Albion 17 39 30.40%
Aston Villa 14 34 29.20%
Liverpool 17 42 28.80%
Sunderland 12 33 26.70%
Manchester United 17 61 21.80%
Arsenal 13 59 18.10%

Young’s addition was welcomed by United fans as he would provide much-needed accuracy from set-pieces – United have suffered in recent years, not scoring as many goals from corners or free kicks as their chance creation rates would warrant. Just last season, United scored only 17 goals from set pieces whereas Chelsea scored 24, even though United were the top scorers in the league in terms of goals scored. Young’s addition to the squad was there not only to provide genuine pace and craft on the left wing but to also help United score more from set pieces.

Now, it seems, he’ll be helping them WIN more free-kicks and penalties too. A bargain?

We’re not seriously suggesting that United bought Young in order to win more fouls. They already have the referees on their side, don’t they? No, we’re not seriously suggesting that either.

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  1. Harris 12 August, 2011
  2. Kev 12 August, 2011