Unbeaten in their last 17 league games but Manchester United remain a side caught on repeat - and it's costing them

Their disappointing 1-1 draw with Bournemouth on Saturday was the seventh of their last 11 League matches at Old Trafford to end all-square

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It is a harsh assessment to make of a team unbeaten in their last 17 league matches, and who won the first major honour of the season only one week ago: but Manchester United are a team in stasis.

Their disappointing 1-1 draw with Bournemouth on Saturday was the seventh of their last 11 League matches at Old Trafford to end all-square. Their home form this season is only a point better than Leicester City’s, and a point worse than West Brom’s. And, most remarkably of all, they have occupied sixth-spot in the Premier League table for the past 139 days.

Jose Mourinho is all-too aware that things need to change. “The reality is that we are losing too many points at home,” he said in a philosophical press conference following the Bournemouth draw, albeit one that was cut short after four questions.

"If you look at the points we lost at home - I don't speak about the Man City match - all the other matches we drew. If you accumulate these points, you are talking about 10 or 12 and with these points we are not just speaking about the top four, we would be speaking about the top two or top one.

"We lost too many points at home and obviously cost us our position.”

Particularly frustrating for Mourinho is the level of dominance that United have enjoyed in these matches, without being able to kill them off. This weekend, United enjoyed 69 per cent of the game’s possession, had 20 shots on goal to the Bournemouth’s three, and had 13 more corners than their opponents. And yet still, United were unable to break the deadlock in the second-half.

It didn’t help that their leading man, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, had a poor game. The striker has been superb this season, scoring 26 goals since signing from PSG, but wasted a series of good opportunities to add to that tally, the most glaring being a 72nd minute penalty which was well-saved by Artur Boruc.

The striker touched the ball fewer times than any of his team-mates and only one of his seven shots on goal ended up on target, a damning statistic that is symptomatic of United’s wider woes in front of goal.

January’s thunderous 1-1 draw with Liverpool aside — which took a late goal from, who else, Ibrahimovic to rescue a point — United have been utterly in control of the games they have failed to win at Old Trafford. They average 19.4 shots on goal each home game but have scored only 20 goals at home all season: only seven other teams have scored less.

Their goal-scoring record looks particularly inadequate when compared to the teams they are fighting for Champions League qualification against: they have managed just 39 league goals in total, their top-four rivals have scored at least 51 or more.

"The old story of create lots of chances but not score goals is an old story but applies perfectly to our football in these matches at home against Hull, Burnley, Bournemouth, Stoke," Mourinho himself admitted after watching United in characteristically profligate form against Bournemouth.

"It is more of the same. We play well, we start well. We have one chance in the first minute, we have another in the third or fifth minute. We accumulate and the goalkeeper gets confidence.

"The goalkeeper is the man of the match and so on, and so on, and so on. It is more of the same.

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United are too dependent on Ibrahimovic (Getty)

"We need to score goals. Other teams with less chances, they score goals.”

Part of their problem is clearly an over-dependence on Ibrahimovic, who has scored almost 40 per cent of the club’s league goals this season — a league high behind only Jermain Defoe (14 of 24) and Romelu Lukaku (18 of 44). The Swede is also the only United player to hit double-figures in the league this season.

Ibrahimovic’s team-mates, particularly the likes of Paul Pogba, Juan Mata and Wayne Rooney, must begin to assume some of the workload in front of goal if the club are to have realistic hopes of doing something they have not managed since early September, and break their way back into the top four.

United have six home matches remaining this season — against Middlesbrough, West Brom, Everton, Chelsea, Swansea and Crystal Palace — and must realistically win at least five of these if they are to claw their way back into the top four. Mourinho has to work out a way to get his attack firing again, in order to turn their draws into wins.

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