Luke Shaw‘s injury seems to have brought a great degree of dis-balance to Manchester United’s defense that had started to look more reliable with every progressing game. If you haven’t had the chance to see horrific images of the same, let it be, or if you are adamant, take a look here.
Our team at FoF will be praying for Luke’s speedy recovery and hoping that the two operations he had were successful and the 21-year-old recovers quicker than the expected timeline of 6-9 months.
With Chris Smalling and Daley Blind looking to develop chemistry over the initial games, it certainly didn’t seem the right combination from a long term perspective.
Blind is a ball playing defender whose strong trait is intelligence rather than tough tackles or the pace to match zippy forwards. With Smalling’s decision making improving with every game and the number of mistakes decreasing, someone who is ruthless at defense would be perfect to pair next to him. With Phil Jones out with illness for another week, and Van Gaal not being happy with Marcos Rojo due to off the field issues, Blind was the obvious choice for this position given his versatility.
With Phil Jones back in training, and Rojo not being particularly impressive during his CL outing, I feel that the paparazzi will have ample opportunity to add to the abundant collection of expressions of Mr. Jones.
With Luke mostly out of action for the rest of the season( I sincerely hope that he’ll be back sooner and I will be chanting his name at the 23rd minute against Southampton), I see Blind playing LB for the foreseeable future. Matteo Darmian at RB seems solid with his tackling, but he just seems to be a little cautious while going forward unlike some famous United wing backs. That might be due to the Louis Van Gaal philosophy, but even that doesn’t seem to fit the definition of ‘the united way’.With United being among the top 5 teams to commit errors in defense last season (although the Red Devils conceded the fewest goals from those #davesaves efforts), initial games this season have suggested that there is greater composure and assurance in this department.
I won’t even consider discussing about David De Gea in goal because there just isn’t anything there to discuss in that department. He has shown over the past two years what a great keeper he is and one can contently be assured about that position in defense.
Balance seemed to have been one major area of concern for Van Gaal last season but that has been resolved more or less albeit one position which is at the opposite end of defense, unless further injuries change the dynamics. At this point in time, caution and balance would mean that Blind plays at left-back with Rojo or Jones in central defense giving United the best chance to win games by shutting out opponents.
Every Title winning side has shown exceptional command and control over their defense and although United isn’t close to challenging for one, they should certainly strive for the same. Sir Alex Ferguson had famously once said, “Attack wins you matches, defense wins you Championships”.
Van Gaals ‘philosophy’ needs time they say, United are used to winning ways is something they should keep in mind and Old Trafford faith-fulls will not remain quiet for long if success does not happen quickly for those fans waiting in anticipation.
Image credit: getty