United’s Defensive Crisis
I blogged about it only a couple weeks ago but my suspicions that we’d slip up at Villa and Fulham have, annoyingly, come true. The evening of that blog post United, well Owen, put three past Wolfsburg allowing United to qualify as group winners. Since then we’ve lost two out of the three games we’ve played. You could even ignore the result at Wolves as we were facing a deliberately weakened side. I’m not criticising Wolves’ manager Mick McCarthy as all the top teams rotate squads and it’s fine and they didn’t do anything different really.
However the results as Aston Villa and Fulham showed just how much United build on a strong defence. In both games from the highlights I’ve seen we almost created nothing going forward. Against Villa we were mediocre but against Fulham we were awful. The back three, which consisted of two centre midfielders, ball-watched their way to a 3-0 loss. Any hint of movement allowed Fulham to carve open United at will and could have easily won by more than three goals. Hopefully, if reports are to be believed, we will have two defenders back for our game at Hull but I worry as any injuries in that game to a defender and we’re back to square one.
It’s the first time in a long time that United have been crippled by injuries in one specific department and it’s going to be interesting to see how we cope. I’m also surprised that we haven’t drafted in any more youth but then I don’t know who we have in the youth team anyway. It’s going to be a tough couple of months and it might be worth Sir Alex dipping in to the transfer market come January for a defender. We have prospects coming through in the twins and Johnny Evans but even if it’s a loan signing I feel it’d be worth it. In the end I hope that we have a defender or three back by the Hull game and that they stay fit to see us through to full strength. However if this continues, and there’s always the chance it might, United look ripe for the taking no matter who they are playing.