Opinion: The International break has been very good to Manchester United the past ten seasons, results wise.
Wayne Rooney’s push to surpass our own gentleman of football, Sir Bobby Charlton, in the England goalscoring charts is all well and good but in the end, all we real United supporters want is injury-free players to return from wherever our Reds play around the world, and a result in our next match.
After having seen a story online stating Manchester United fared well followed by several articles that contradicted this saying our form wasn’t as good after the break, I investigated myself using the Club Statistic page from the official Manchester United website. It made for some interesting reading.
The FIFA International match calendar includes games set for dates in late March, early June, early September, early October and early November. The early June are not relevant to season form so concentration is on the results of matches immediately following the four other breaks.
United’s match record immediately after international break last 10 seasons (not including June matches):
Manchester City 1-1 D (A) – September
Sunderland 3-1 W (H) – October
Charlton Athletic 3-1 W (A) – November
Wigan Athletic 2-1 W (A) – March
Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 W (H) – September
Wigan Athletic 3-1 W (A) – October
Sheffield United 2-1 W (A) – November
Blackburn Rovers 4-1 W (H) – March
Everton 1-0 W (A) – September
Aston Villa 4-1 W (A) – October
Bolton Wanderers 0-1 L (A) – November
Aston Villa W 4-0 (H) – March
Liverpool 1-2 L (A) – September
West Bromwich Albion 4-0 W (H) – October
Aston Villa 0-0 D (A) – November
Aston Villa 3-2 W (H) – March
Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 W (A) – September
Bolton Wanderers 2-1 W (H ) – October
Everton 3-0 W (H) – November
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 W (A) – March
Everton 3-3 D (A) – September
West Bromwich Albion 2-2 D (H) – October
Wigan Athletic 2-0 W (H) – November
West Ham United 4-2 W (A) – March
Bolton Wanderers 5-0 W (A) – September
Liverpool 1-1 D (A) – October
Swansea City 1-0 W (A) – November
Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 W (A) – March
Wigan Athletic 4-0 W (H) – September
Stoke City 4-2 W (H) – October
Norwich City 0-1 L (A) – November
Sunderland 1-0 W (A) – March
Crystal Palace 2-0 W (H) – September
Southampton 1-1 D (H) – October
Cardiff City 2-2 D (A) – November
West Bromwich Albion 3-0 W (A) – March
Queens Park Rangers 4-0 W (H) – September
West Bromwich Albion 2-2 D (A) – October
Arsenal 2-1 W (H)- November
From season 2005/2006 up through the current season (pre Aston Villa match) United have a record of Played 39, Won 28 Drawn 8 Lost 3 Goals For 91 Goals Against 33 Points 92. Those totals would win almost any Premier League season.
Obviously looking at the matches, the quality of opponents was in the main quite favourable. However, it speaks volumes as to how Sir Alex was able to keep the level of intensity at the club going after these international breaks. A mere three losses is an incredible record.
Many of us wish the international matches would go away, especially the unnecessary friendlies. The matches at the beginning of the season being particularly annoying. As briefly mentioned before, injury to one of our players, Smalling in this recent international break, being an example.
However, looking at these results might make one want to reconsider. Is it quite possible that a squad player that gets reasonable playing time on the international stage brings that experience back to our team? A thought to ponder.
Written by Rick Blanks