Go inside the numbers of Manchester United's attacking resurgence.

By 90Min
September 18, 2017

Manchester United have come out firing so far in 2017/18. Jose Mourinho's team have scored 16 times in their first five Premier League games of the new campaign, finding the net at an impressive average of 3.2 per game.

It has led the club to jointly top the table alongside local rivals Manchester City at this early stage, enjoying an identical record to the 'noisy neighbours' after dropping only two points from a possible 18, and conceding just twice in the process as well.

Such free-scoring form shouldn't be considered out of the ordinary for United in the Premier League, with Sir Alex Ferguson assembling some of the most exciting team the country has ever seen during his long tenure in charge at Old Trafford.

But the truth is after four years of struggle since the legendary Scot retired in 2013, it has been.

Projecting the team's current rate of scoring over the course of the whole season would suggest United are on course to score 121 goals in their 38-game league campaign.

Alex Livesey/GettyImages

That number, of course, is unlikely. The Premier League record for a single 38-game season is 103 (Chelsea, 2009/10), while only two other teams have ever broken the 100-goal barrier (Manchester City & Liverpool, both 2013/14). But it shows just how strongly United have started the season in front of goal and how this season is different from the drudgery of the last few.

Mourinho's team have yet to face anyone of particular note so far - Everton at home was earmarked as the 'toughest' game in the opening two months of the season - and are likely to experience a dip in form at some point over the course of the campaign. But again, the early goals are still a valuable indicator of what United fans can realistically hope for.

Alex Livesey/GettyImages

The most Premier League goals United have scored in any of the last four full seasons came in 2013/14, when a doomed David Moyes steered an ageing group of title winners to 7th place. That season saw 64 goals, but United then scored fewer (62) in Louis van Gaal's first year, and then even fewer again (49) in his second.

Even when Mourinho took over in 2016 there wasn't an instant change. The team only managed 54 Premier League goals last season and finished 6th in the final standings precisely because they weren't able to put games to bed against smaller teams, especially at home.

What United have done on several occasions this season is blow opponents away in the period of games when they found themselves being pegged back in 2016/17. For example, nine of the 16 goals have been scored after the 80th minutes, with wins against West Ham, Swansea and most recently Everton all looking as though they would be laboured until the closing stages.

Dan Mullan/GettyImages

A few short months ago, any of those teams might have come out of one of those games with a 1-1 draw, but this season all three were beaten 4-0.

Keeping up the current rate of scoring and setting a massive new Premier League goal record would be a tremendous ask and is more than likely not going to happen. But fans know the goals are definitely there now and matching or surpassing the kind of goal tallies posted in the final years of the Ferguson era is certainly not an impossible dream any longer.

Manchester United Premier League Goals Each Season Over Last 10 Years:

Season League Goals League Finish
2007/08 80 1st
2008/09 68 1st
2009/10 86 2nd
2010/11 78 1st
2011/12 89 2nd
2012/13 86 1st
2013/14 64 7th
2014/15 62 4th
2015/16 49 5th
2016/17 54 6th
2017/18 121.6* ??

*Projected based on average goals per game so far

Italics indicates seasons since Sir Alex Ferguson retired

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