OXFORD United’s 11-day gap between games gives them the chance to take stock.

Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat to Stevenage was a frustrating way to go into their break, but the U’s have rediscovered some form in Sky Bet League One.

Seven points from their last three matches puts them eighth in the table, which gives them a platform to build from.

Here are some of the themes that have started to materialise in the first two months of the season – told through statistics.


This seemed a real area of concern after United’s 3-1 defeat at AFC Wimbledon on September 4.

The U’s conceded twice from set-pieces at Plough Lane, having already let in four goals that way in the first four weeks of the season.

United have since tightened up at corners and free-kicks, but the problem is at the other end.

After scoring 20 goals from set-pieces last season, the U’s are yet to open their account for 2021/22.

United have struggled to threaten in several games, although the return of Sam Long could hold the key – the right back looked dangerous against Sheffield Wednesday last Saturday.

Lincoln City are the only other team yet to score from a set-piece in League One, so the U’s are yet to tap into a vital source of goals.

Goals scored from set-pieces (all competitions): 0

Goals conceded from set-pieces (all competitions): 6

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The general consensus was that United’s 5-1 win over Accrington Stanley nine days ago had been coming.

On several occasions, the U’s have dominated possession and created chances without finishing them off.

That is reflected in their expected goals (xG) tally, which measures how many United should score based on the quality of the opportunities.

Separate sources calculate xG in different ways, leading to varying interpretations of how often the U’s should have found the net.

But United are near the top of most xG tables, with footystats.org giving Karl Robinson’s side a total of 1.61 goals per game – the third-highest in League One.

The U’s are also second in the division for crossing, with only Rotherham United putting in more than their average of 25 per match.

It shows they are creating, but they need to maintain an end product for their position in the real table to reflect that.

Top five teams for xG per game in League One:

  • Rotherham United - 1.87
  • Milton Keynes Dons - 1.79
  • Oxford United - 1.61
  • Sunderland - 1.61
  • Bolton Wanderers - 1.6

Read also: Why history told us not to expect Oxford United to win on Tuesday


James Henry’s stoppage-time winner at Sheffield Wednesday was the moment of the season so far, but it was special for another reason.

It saw the midfielder become the first substitute to score for the U’s in League One in 2021/22.

Players’ output is not just measured by goals, of course, but it reflects a trend of United falling away after the break this season.

Before the win over Accrington, the U’s had scored just once after half-time in League One: Henry’s 73rd-minute penalty against Lincoln City.

They have since upped that tally to five, but that is still fewer than the nine goals conceded in the second 45 minutes.

It helps explain why United have failed to win four League One games in which they went ahead – even holding on once would have put them in the top six.

The U’s showed greater staying power against Accrington and Wednesday and they must keep that trait.

Goals scored after half-time (all competitions): 7

Goals conceded after half-time (all competitions): 14