United Must Build From The Back
With the recent end of season awards ceremony taking place this week, it struck a chord with me on how the club hass been progressing over the last few seasons.
David De Gea, once again winning the “Sir Matt Busby Player of the year” award; for the umpteenth time. Now let us not take anything away from the Manchester United custodian. For me at this moment in time, he is by far the best goalkeeper in the world. But there is an underlying problem here. Since the last title winning side of 2012/13, De Gea has won the award practically every season. This to me suggests that although he is absolutely world class and will make saves to keep United in a game, he’s also being shot at on far too many occasions.
Which leads me on to the defence. Once Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, were moved on by tactical genius, David Moyes, the only plugs we had to fill the leak were in the shape of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones. Jones, once described by Sir Alex Ferguson as the next Duncan Edwards, had obviously been on the Famous Grouse, the evening before!
Jones and Smalling looked like they were able to manage in the cut and thrust of a United shirt all the time they were alongside one of either Ferdianand or Vidic. Put them as a pair or alongside a less experienced player then the inefficiencies are there for all to see.
United at present do not look good as a unit defensively. Failed wingers playing as full backs, and with Jose Mourinho chopping and changing his centre backs, its no surprise that the defence is not as water tight as years gone by.
Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young are ideal at playing in the advance positons when springing forward in attack, but defensively they are often caught woefully out of position or tend to have no sense of danger with men lurking over their shoulders.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that since the back four of Rafael, Vidic, Ferdinand and Evra, had been broken up, the club has failed to win Premier League title. In fact the Red Devils have not even come close.
This season has probably been the best of a bad bunch with second place all but secured, despite the fact that everyone at Old Trafford needs binoculars to see Manchester City speeding off into the distance.
The difference between this team and last season’s sixth place team is Nemanja Matic. That man would get the lead role in London’s Burning with the amount of fires he extinguishes all over the pitch. Its certainly not the most glamorous of roles but you can certainly see why Mourinho cherry picked him from his ex employers down at Stamford Bridge.
United are not a million miles away from getting it right. An abundance of riches going forward, although the boss tends to keep the leash on them. Two decent full backs and another world class centre back would put united in the mould of the teams at the end of the noughties.
Lifting the FA cup in two weeks would be a special end to an improving second season. Three finals in two seasons is certainly not to be sniffed at. It’s time for Woodward to brandish the MUFC Platinum credit card and let Jose start building from the back.