Defense analysis

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Post by Vlad the Impaler Sat Aug 03, 2013 3:37 pm

We've discussed a lot about the problems we have in the midfield compartment and about a possible departure of Rooney, therefore we have analysed the possibilities of replacing him and we have searched for the best formation which exploits our attacking players' potential. Last month was a hard one due to the fact that we were mentally raped by the transfer rumours regarding Manchester United, which failed to become reality.

Thus, I decided to create a thread, where to debate about our defensive compartment. Don't forget that in the first half of the last season we conceded a lot of goals and our main problem was the defense. The things went better in the second half of the season, but the last impression wasn't a good one, after drawing with WBA and conceding 5 goals.

Our only signing so far is Varela, a young and unexperienced right-back from Uruguay.

How do you think will things evolve in our defense? Will Rio and Vidic manage to avoid injuries? How will manage Jones and Smalling to develop their defensive abilities further? Will we see Jones as a RB, as a CDM or as a CB? What about Evans? He has easily been our best central-back last season and finally reached maturity.

Pat Evra is getting old and his capacity of efforts is lower, so he can't cover the pitch on the left side like he did in the past. He is still better than Buttner.

Rafael? Best right-back in the league last season but still driven by lack of experience and maturity, at times.

Opinions?
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Post by Glory Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:21 pm

Fabio ?
The twin bro looked good

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Post by Busby Babe Sat Aug 03, 2013 5:05 pm

I think give Jones a decent amount of playing time at CB this season. He makes some amazing tackles, needs to work on his positioning though. The season after we establish a new partnership with Jones and Evans.

I don't know what the future holds for Smalling, as I think Jones, Evans> Smalling. I think he is quality but I'm not sure we could give him a good role.

This all depends on Vidic though, if he is able to stay injury free and regain his old form, then he is hands down a starter. Ferdinand's fitness will dictate how much he plays too, but I'd rather have a new center back pairing rather than keep splitting the game time between our center backs. Stability at the back is important.

Fabio should be played at LB this season, the quality is there just not his fitness. Keep Evra as backup, he'll probably get a decent amount of playing time anyway, because Fabio gets injured quite a bit.

Buttner is terrible defensively, he gets forward well but then tries to do too much and then makes a poor decision. He needs to work quite a lot if he wants the LB spot, but there is potential, despite not being quite so young.


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Post by StatsJoseph Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:09 pm

Man Utd did a good job in defence in 2012/13 season. Manchester United – 149 shots on target (485 total) – 11.3 shots per goal conceded. Which was 6th best in the league. 16 clean sheets which was the 3rd best in the league. Also conceding 43 which was joint 4th best in the league. So, overall we did a good job and the duo ferdinand and vidic look good as well.

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Post by Vlad the Impaler Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:56 pm

Cool, but we want to be the best in the league in relation to these statistics. We won the league, therefore I expected us to be classed on a higher place in the defense stats top.

Which team do you support?
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Post by Dutti Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:12 pm

Vidic and Evans should partner up again. They are the club's best CBs.

Besides them, everyone who plays in defense worries me. I don't know what has happened but Rafael, Smalling, and Jones have regressed, especially Smalling. My guess is bad coaching did some good damage at the end of Fergie's era. I mean what good things did Phelan provide in terms of team quality? The team's way of playing was bad and extra boring and painful to watch whenever Fergie wasn't around with Phelan in charge.

Recently though, Evra's form in recent games is a delight for us fans.
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Post by StatsJoseph Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:19 pm

Are you forgetting that vidic was struggling for fitness last season,  Injured between the end of September and the tail end of December.  Rafael is still 22 so is still improving. Phil Jones 21, Jonny Evans 25, Buttner 24 still have got some learning as well. Also rio ferdinand was part of team of the year and Evra with 67 tackles won which was the most from the whole team.

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Post by Dutti Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:31 pm

Vidic is still the best. Lacking fitness does not stay permanent. Buttner is bad. At 24, if he doesn't improve, he's gonna endure a career like Anderson's.

The reason Evra got so many tackles is because he started most of our games. He was like the Zanetti of United. Very fit. If you take the ratio between tackles and number of games, the number shouldn't be that impressive.

Besides those, I agree that Jones still has a long way to go, and I'd like to add that he is invaluable to us. Evans? Didn't I say he is our best CB?
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Post by Vlad the Impaler Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:36 pm

Rio is by far our best defender.

Even ManUtd.com considered him our best defender last season. In my opinion Rio, Vidic and Evans are our best defenders and all of them are just amazing. He was also in the PFA Team of the year for obvious reasons.

I thought this is not debatable.
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Post by Dutti Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:40 pm

Rio is still good, but I'm not impressed.

His speed and awareness and therefore marking have failed him and De Gea way too many times. At 34, he'll only get worse - which worries me.

Despite his age, he managed to start quite a number of games; and being experienced and consistent with not much competition last season, it would be weird if manutd.com had not considered him the best defender. Personally, though, I think Evans was the best CB last season.
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Post by B-Mac Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:30 pm

Evans has been immense considering 2 years ago it looked like he should never wear a United shirt again he was so bloody awful, he literally was absolute shite for 12 months at one point
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Post by Vlad the Impaler Wed Aug 21, 2013 3:43 am

Evans was a beast last season but I can't forget how well did Ferdinand play against top class strikers like Suarez and how good was he in big games. In my opinion, Suarez didn't even exist near Rio last year, which is unbelievable considering the form Suarez went through.
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Post by Vlad the Impaler Wed Sep 18, 2013 3:07 am

Rio and Vidic player very well this season; I must admit that I was impressed by the way Smalling played yesterday against Leverkusen. I didn't expect him to be such motivated to win every ball. He used his mind and won almost every one on one duel.

He is a beast at the aerial balls and he can be a key in away games at teams like Stoke, Everton etc.

He also improved his crossing, at least this is what I saw yesterday; he is now far better than Jones. Yet, Phil Jones has the potential to become a beast CB, but right now Vidic, Rio and Evans are above him.

What do you think about Rio's performance in our first UCL match with Moyes? He wasn't in one of his best days, but also we can't judge him too much because we won.

He played in all of our games so far, I think a change in the first XI could help our team. Do you see Evans a possible solution for the match at Etihad on Sunday? Personally, I believe he will play against Liverpool in the Capital One Cup.

PS. Defensively speaking, we are way better with Fellaini in the midfield. He is very strong and you can rarely see him losing the ball in a one-on-one duel.
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Post by Busby Babe Wed Sep 18, 2013 3:28 am

I think Ferdinand has made a few mistakes this season. He needs to sharpen up or get dropped before it will eventually cost us. He gets beaten one-on-one quite a bit.

Smalling did a good job defensively. Although, I have some doubts of his attacking qualities.

Overall, the team collectively pressed well against Leverkusen.
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Post by Vlad the Impaler Wed Sep 18, 2013 3:34 am

ronaldo__9 wrote:I think Ferdinand has made a few mistakes this season. He needs to sharpen up or get dropped before it will eventually cost us. He gets beaten one-on-one quite a bit.

Smalling did a good job defensively. Although, I have some doubts of his attacking qualities.

Overall, the team collectively pressed well against Leverkusen.
Yeah, I just remembered that mistake in the last EPL match with Palace when he couldn't appreciate well the trajectory of the ball and he was easily beaten by Gayle and it could have cost us.

I always had doubts about this kind of players, tall and strong CBs playing on the right-back postion can't provide too much in offensive. Yet, if you look carefully at yesterday's match, you can see that Smalling put into the box only good quality crosses while Jones was disappointing in every offensive aspect this season; too much wrong passes, can't even think to cross or something like this.
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Post by Busby Babe Wed Sep 18, 2013 12:23 pm

The problem I have had with Smalling in the past, is when some like Scholes used to switch to the ball to the ball flank, he found it hard to control the ball or it would go straight through his leg. And when he had to create an angle for himself to cross, he would do this cutback. First time, it looked great, second and a third time he will get found out. Obviously, he could have improved his first touch, and the ability to create himself space to provide a cross, but this is where my doubts lie.
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Post by Busby Babe Fri Sep 20, 2013 7:02 pm

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Post by jibers Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:52 pm

Rio should have been dropped a season ago. Vidic and Salling should be our partnership. Rio's positioning is terrible and he gets turned too easily.
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Post by Zero Sat Sep 21, 2013 12:26 pm

Evra is undroppable at the moment since nobody can really replace him that well. I'm not convinced with Buttner's performance yet to be honest.

For CB I think it would be good if we pair Vidic with Evans as just what the others said Rio is starting on his decline (and I hope I'll be jinxing it) and Evans has come really good considering that we want to tear him apart before because he was bad.

With Fellaini at DM we are more secured at the back. Let's just hope that we will not have fitness problems. Wink
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Post by Busby Babe Mon May 26, 2014 1:17 am

With van Gaal coming in what do you guys think?

Rafael-a beast in 12/13 season and he's been out for the majority for 13/14, quite hard to come back instantly into some form and has admitted to playing injured in some matches too. Also, van Gaal's training doesn't constitute of a lot of running which I think the likes of Rafael will benefit from that.

Smalling- I think is a good defender, but on the ball he's really bad and I think van Gaal likes his defenders to be comfortable on the ball. Tbh, for the top level it's quite a joke how uncomfortable he looks, just honestly looks like a lack of practice.

Jones- Please, can we sign a CM and a back-up RB so he can learn how to play CB exclusively. He's talented needs to work on his positioning though.

Evans- Very, very injury prone this season, like Rafael, perhaps he can also benefit from van Gaal's training too hopefully.

(We do need to buy a starting CB, however)

Evra- Signed a new contract which I'm happy about, hopefully can mentor and split some game time with Shaw (if he does come). It's really good he has stayed on, if Shaw does come and has a patch of bad games, it's nice to have a good back-up. Also, Shaw is only 18, he does need to be rested occasionally or he might become injury prone later in his career (see Michael Owen).
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Post by Hapless_Hans Mon May 26, 2014 2:05 am

LvG will likely want a left footer as left CB.
That's why I could imagine you getting Martins.

Rafael is Brazilian isn't he? Let's see how he fares with the Hitler of Brazilian players.
Valencia can be the back up right back, can't he? Sounds about right.
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Post by Busby Babe Mon May 26, 2014 2:18 am

Jonny Evans is left footed.

Didn't LvG use Gustavo for Bayern,? He's Brazilian, I think he played him out of position though, can't remember.

Valencia can't play RB, he's cost us about 8 points this season alone and he's only played 3 games there.
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Post by Hapless_Hans Mon May 26, 2014 2:22 am

@Busby Babe wrote:Jonny Evans is left footed.

Didn't LvG use Gustavo for Bayern,? He's Brazilian, I think he played him out of position though, can't remember.

Valencia can't play RB, he's cost us about 8 points this season alone and he's only played 3 games there.

you sure?

that doesn't really sound like it
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2136195/Jonny-Evans-feels-happier-playing-right-Manchester-Uniteds-defence.html
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Post by Hapless_Hans Mon May 26, 2014 2:25 am

Gustavo was bought in winter before LvG was fired, wasn't a player he really wanted.

Of course he can get along with a Brazilian player, he's just got a record of not getting along with some of them.
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Post by Busby Babe Mon May 26, 2014 2:31 am

hmm You're right.

'Growing up I was probably always a bit more capable of using my left foot than whoever was alongside me in the centre, so I ended up on the left side.'

'It's harder bringing the ball out of defence on your left side, though.

'When you're passing the ball five yards you're fine using your weaker foot but if you're driving into space and dribbling forward, you ideally want the ball on your good side.


I guess we're going to be buying a left-footed CB then. High-line is gonna kill us though, doesn't matter who we buy Laughing
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