Defense analysis

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Post by Busby Babe Mon May 26, 2014 7:01 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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Post by Hapless_Hans Mon May 26, 2014 7:13 am

LvG put Badstuber in the starting line up because he's left footed, and we were all more or less going "who?!" lol.

We'll see about the high line. van Gaal's disregard for defensive stability, sometimes almost bordering on contempt, can be a problem.

But maybe he'll figure something out. At least I'm confident he'll get your defenders to keep up SOME kind of offside trap, something Moysie and his clueless assistants clearly were not able to get done.
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Post by Busby Babe Mon May 26, 2014 7:22 am

tbf to Moysie, the one thing I felt bad for him was the defense. To have to use 11 different CB pairings, and having 5 CBs at the club and still having to use your CM as CB, not because he's trying to imtate Pep, but the injury crisis running so deep.

I mean clubs like Arsenal only have 3 CBs and they're able to cope and obviously Rafael being injured for 2/3 of the season didn't help either. It's just very hard to teach them an offside trap, it is very important for the whole defense to have an understating with each other, which can't happen when 3 out of the back 4 have to be rotated after every game due to injury.

Btw, a 19 year old Rafael had Ribery in his back pocket in that game 4 years ago, I hope LvG remembers that Wink
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Post by Hapless_Hans Mon May 26, 2014 11:29 pm

the only thing connected with a back pocket that I remember about Ribery vs Rafael was a red card being pulled from it Laughing

But I'm sure van Gaal remembers better than I do.
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Post by Angoulême Thu May 29, 2014 2:27 am

I've really waited for us to sign a LB since season 2010-2011, because Evra had really started declining. I've rated Coentrao really highly ever since WC 2010, so I was excited at the prospect of signing him on couple of occasions. I'm worried about Chelsea supposedly prepared to swoop in for Shaw. Money wouldn't be a problem given they have just sold David Luiz for £40 odd million, they need another LB as Ashley Cole (supposedly Shaw's idol as a youngster) is leaving, they'd give him the same wages we could and could provide him with Champions League football. All this added to the fact that he's a Chelsea fan and wouldn't have to relocate North if he moved there.

If, and it's still an IF at this stage, Chelsea do go in for Shaw then I'm pretty sure he'd pick them over us.
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Post by Vlad the Impaler Sat Aug 30, 2014 9:57 pm

In my opinion there are three big problems in the defense. The confidence of the defenders and lack of experience when it comes about playing without a defensive leader, because in the past Jones, Evans, Smalling used to play with at least one experienced player (Vidic, Rio, Evra).

Also, I think the problem comes from the central midfielders. Clevs, Fletcher, Anderson are weak; they can't make the link-up between the compartments and they can't help the defenders to defend and the attackers to attack; they are just too static and predictable.

With Herrera, Blind, Carrick or even Di Maria in the central compartment, things should be better. What do you think?
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Post by RED Sat Aug 30, 2014 10:08 pm

Our defenders are not good on the ball to play this system, maybe only Blackett. This formation encourages defenders to push up enabling space for our Midfielders to run to, but our defenders don't seem to have the confidence or ability to do that. They rather pass it side to side to one another or pass back, or frustratingly, lob it forward.

Unnatural wing backs who defensively all over the place and leave us succeptible to countless counters on the wing, stretching the defence all over the place.

They also panic whenever they get pressed, creating further mistrust between them.

Thrdly. no protection from the midfield. everyone slow to get back, either that or too high up the pitch. And like you said, no leader to organize the defend and scream out orders, Jones tries to do it, but not to the extent and effect that's needed.

Hopefully with the addition of Blind, he can offer the defence an extra body should LVG persist with 3 cbs.

We need someone rooted in midfield who can dig in and win balls and then spread it to our attacking players. Hopefully thats who we've got in Blind.
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Post by Vlad the Impaler Sat Aug 30, 2014 10:20 pm

Exactly, I am glad that you agree. Every strong club in the world has that kind of CM, at least one CM who protects the defenders and help them on the pitch with good communication and great distance cover.

Look at Juventus with Vidal & Marchisio, look at Bayern with Luiz Gustavo in the past, Schweinsteiger, Kroos; look at Real with Khedira, Xabi Alonso, Modric; look at Barca with Busquets; Atletico Madrid with Gabi; Dortmund with Gundogan and Kehl two years ago; Roma with De Rossi; Napoli with Inler and Dzemaili; PSG with Matuidi and Cabaye; Liverpool with Henderson and Gerrard; Chelsea with Ramires 3 seasons ago etc. Strong clubs which don't seem to have this problem (of course every club has a problem, but this isn't their case).

But when you have Fletcher, Cleverley and Anderson...even Carrick won't be the same. Injury prone at 33 years old & in a little decline. Herrera, Blind, even Di Maria as a back up option are the future. Of course, Fellaini could also be very good. At United he was awful but at Everton and at the national team he always showed his potential. Don't forget his abilities. He is a clever guy, very tall, very good with the ball at his feet but the most important, he is imperial at aerial duels.

Also, I think that LvG takes a risk with this 3-5-2 considering that for the wing-backs there will be no assistance in attack. In a 4-4-2- or a 4-3-3, the wingers are constantly helped by the lateral defenders, which is very important in EPL (Evra + Ronaldo in the past; Rafael + Valencia/Nani) or even Evra + Young). But now Young and Valencia are alone there. Mata and Di Maria tried to help in today's game vs Burnley but they couldn't do much.
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Post by Busby Babe Sat Aug 30, 2014 10:25 pm

I can see an improvement, we're far from being there yet, but it is improving. I think the CBs we have are not top class (may be they can be in the future, idk) but the issue is also around them. Swansea it was our midfielders not tracking runners for the goals and Young misjudging the flight of the ball for the second goal as well. Against Sunderland it was a set piece, it happens. Today, we kept a clean sheet, but we're still conceding too many chances.

Another big issue we have is our build up play, we lose the ball in silly areas a lot. Which means the teams is very disorganised defensively because we're organised in the attacking phase.

Once the defense it fully fit, and we see Blind, Shaw, Rojo and Rafael all play and see how the team plays in a few months. I can say what I think we need, but it's hard to pass judgement right now.
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Post by Vlad the Impaler Sat Sep 06, 2014 1:50 am

What do you think about Smalling? Will he ever be able to reach top class form? I mean, do you imagine him starting a UCL final for us?

We all know that Jones is a much better and talented defender but Smalling used to be a good defender too with an amazing aerial game with a lot of activity in our attacking phase. But in the past year he seemed to be limited and mediocre.

All our players had a bad season but some of them, like Jones, used to remain at the level we were used to in the SAF era.
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Post by Busby Babe Sat Sep 06, 2014 2:01 am

The problem with Smalling, he is uncomfortable in this system, he's not really good on the ball at all. I don't know what van Gaal's plans are, but if he switches to a back 4, then he likes right footed players at RCB and left footed players at LCB, so Blackett and Rojo will only compete with each other. He might play Evans there because he is very two footed. Anyway, what that means is Smalling and Jones will be in direct competition, if that's the case then I can only see Jones as the winner.
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Post by Vlad the Impaler Sat Sep 06, 2014 2:14 am

Busby Babe wrote:The problem with Smalling, he is uncomfortable in this system, he's not really good on the ball at all. I don't know what van Gaal's plans are, but if he switches to a back 4, then he likes right footed players at RCB and left footed players at LCB, so Blackett and Rojo will only compete with each other. He might play Evans there because he is very two footed. Anyway, what that means is Smalling and Jones will be in direct competition, if that's the case then I can only see Jones as the winner.


I still hope that he will surprise us with good performances. I remember him playing well a few times against City or Chelsea in important matches, but he lacked consistency on a long term period. Also he is injury prone like many other players in our team unfortunately.
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Post by Busby Babe Sat Sep 06, 2014 2:24 am

I agree he can surprise us, just last season against Bayern away he put in a good performance, but I don't think that's the main problem he will need to improve on the ball.
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Post by Vlad the Impaler Sat Sep 06, 2014 2:28 am

I think he also lacks confidence when he has the ball.

Of course, from outside it looks like he doesn't have a chance to be able to do something good with his feet but it may be complexed by past mistakes when he tried to be more creative. The wooden legs are a problem of mentality and attitude.

He played as a right back many times, even when Rafael or Valencia were fit (this happened under Sir Alex). This means a lot. He had difficulties when he had to cross the ball, but sometimes looked like a good option there.
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Post by Busby Babe Sat Sep 06, 2014 2:33 am

Agreed. Confidence is a big thing in football.
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Post by Vlad the Impaler Sat Jul 18, 2015 7:37 pm

Busby Babe wrote:Agreed. Confidence is a big thing in football.


Speaking of confidence, looks like Herrera and Shaw are happy at the moment.

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Post by Vlad the Impaler Wed Aug 05, 2015 5:29 am

Rafael is gone, Evans is very likely to leave the club this summer. I feel like we have a very inexperienced defensive line...

It's gonna be one of this two ways in my opinion:

1. Our defense will be awful and we will loose a lot of points and matches because of lack of quality in defense. We will sell most of the defenders and replace them with others.

2. Jones, Smalling, Rojo, Shaw, Blackett and McNair are all young. We shall see a powerful growth from most of them in terms of defense quality and after this season some of them may become the best defenders in EPL.
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Post by Glory Thu Aug 06, 2015 6:18 pm

You forgot Blind. Neutral
And is there any new news regarding the Evans transfer ? Last heard one was that Everton link. Hope LvG wont somehow come to the conclusion that "Evans shall shtay!".
The quicker that guy is shipped out much better for the club it will be.
Evans plus money for John Snowtones would be nice I think.

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Post by Vlad the Impaler Fri Aug 07, 2015 12:05 am

Smile I hope Blind won't play as a defender. Laughing

He is very good in the midfield.

Ok, if Shaw is injured, he is more than decent as LB. But I don't want to see him again at CB when Smalling is fit; or if you play Blind at CB, play him over Jones!
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Post by vizkosity Fri Aug 07, 2015 2:49 am

i think we need a clear and prominent leader in the back. Something like the old vidic, Rio, or silva
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Post by RED Fri Aug 07, 2015 3:03 am

Quite nervous that Smalling is going to be the fall-guy on Saturday, and that Jones will partner Blind ffs.

Despite Smalling being our best CB last season by a mile.

Just have a strong feeling this will be the outcome.

Ensue the meltdown if that happens and we ship in a few goals.
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Post by Vlad the Impaler Fri Aug 07, 2015 3:30 am

But what also worries me like hell is Phil Jones.

I always thought he can become our next Rio or at least I thought he will develop in that direction but there are no improvements. Very unsure of himself, very slow in reactions in important moments, weak at marking the opponents...has a bad impact on the defense in general and during the past seasons he rarely put in a great performance but more often he was a dead man.
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Post by Vlad the Impaler Fri Jul 15, 2016 5:20 pm

Right now, I like Blind as a CB more than Jones.

Bailly and Smalling will probably be the starters for the next season. Or could you see Blind continuing the partnership with Smalling? Smile

Vlad the Impaler wrote:
Busby Babe wrote:The problem with Smalling, he is uncomfortable in this system, he's not really good on the ball at all. I don't know what van Gaal's plans are, but if he switches to a back 4, then he likes right footed players at RCB and left footed players at LCB, so Blackett and Rojo will only compete with each other. He might play Evans there because he is very two footed. Anyway, what that means is Smalling and Jones will be in direct competition, if that's the case then I can only see Jones as the winner.


I still hope that he will surprise us with good performances. I remember him playing well a few times against City or Chelsea in important matches, but he lacked consistency on a long term period. Also he is injury prone like many other players in our team unfortunately.


Well, look at what we were talking about "Mike". Smile I hope he will have the form of his life with Mourinho and become World Class.
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Post by Vlad the Impaler Wed Aug 10, 2016 1:40 pm

Valencia will be our main RB? Or is it just until Darmian gets in good shape?

I would go for Valencia any day, only if he could become better when defending.

Who do you prefer?
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Post by Busby Babe Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:12 am

Darmian at his best is better than Valencia at his best, so I'd prefer Darmian. Darmian is having form issues though, so he's going to have to wait it out which is fair if Valencia is playing well. I've hardly been able to watch pre-season, so I don't know how Valencia has been under Mourinho.
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Post by Vlad the Impaler Thu Aug 11, 2016 3:46 am

Until now, he has been great. However, it was just pre-season so for me it means almost nothing in terms of how he will perform during the season.

And I agree that before he arrived at Man United Darmian was obviously in better form, better condition and the better player overall. He has better defensive intelligence, if I can say it like this. But van Clown didn't hesitate and made his contribution on his decline.
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