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This is brilliant, well done
Not to mention that we were so negative and measured, and played two deep centre mids as well.
Smalling has some real work to do to get back in regularly. 4th choice at the minute. He's lucky Bailly's off for a few weeks, so he can get a run out in the cup.
Funny how Smalling has featured in 3 of the last 4 games since coming back from injury. It's almost as if Mourinho recognises him as one of - if not the - best defender we have in the squad, and not somebody somehow on the fringes.
the Caf can be weird at times.
He's been benched for the majority of them.
At the beginning of the season he was ahead of Rojo and Jones as CB. Now he's behind both.
He has brought him on because he can head the ball clear when we are under pressure for the last 10 or so mins.
He is 4th choice now behind Jones, Bailly and Rojo.
Because he has come back from injury, behind two players in the form of their lives, yet he's still getting minutes. I don't think Smalling is going anywhere.
You're right. We haven't seen the last of the shifting about in our back four. Only Valencia is a dead cert for the remainder of the season, and even then he may get replaced come the summer.
He came on in the 89th minute to waste time by replacing a midfielder vs West Brom. He started against Boro, but got caught out for the goal, and he was the one sacrificed for an attacker on 72 minutes. Against West Ham he came on as a sub because Carrick had been playing in the back four and we'd taken the lead, so Mourinho wanted to have four defenders on the pitch again and Smalling was the only defender on the bench.
Doesn't mean he's a no hoper or anything, but you can't read anything into those appearances.
The point I am making is that this is certainly not the positive you are trying to spin it as.
I am not one who thinks he will be sold asap. But it's hardly a ringing endorsement to usually be brought in to shore up the defense late in the game.
My point exactly.
And my point is that it's nowhere near as negative as everyone else is trying to make it. One injury doesn't suddenly topple our first choice CB down to fourth and in a state of flux over the future of his career here.
Thanks Andy Cole. To be fair though I think your post is literally the Best. Post. Ever. And to be fair mine probably is a close second behind it.
It's very debatable that he is first choice CB.
Judging by the fact that both times he has returned from injury, he has had to wait his turn to even get a chance.Hardly someone a manager deems first choice.
Jose doesn't seem to rate him above any of the other centre backs, and there really isn't any evidence to the contrary.
The only he has consistently chosen when fit has been Bailly.
I hope you're with us longer than your namesake is likely to be
You hero! Shame about your user name! Unless that's your real name. Memphis is that you?
Great header clearance from set pieces and won aerial duel with Carroll. Pretty much stopping Carroll.
Yeah thankfully I'm not the real Memphis, I actually have a job. I'd probably post a lot more if I was him though given I'd have a lot more free time.
Bailly also replaced a midfielder in his first appearance back from injury. It means nothing. The fact is Smalling is not being frozen out like some people were predicting and hoping for. Many thought Mourinho was completely done with him after questioning his and Shaw's commitment. The papers have gone with that too and published rubbish rumors linking him to a move away this January. Not happening
Smalling shouldn't be sold, that would be daft. He shouldn't however be considered the best defender in the squad and shouldn't be the reason for ditching upgrades of the defence
Looking good in his best position. So much more comfortable. He would have never played that ball to Rashers if he was at LCB.
Great half from him, really wanted that pass to Rashford to go in.
He's made a few runs from the back and some good forward passes, I wouldn't be surprised if he's worked on that part of his game as he looks much more comfortable on the ball.
I think it really is just that he's so much more comfortable on the right side of the field than the left.
I think he's taking advantage of the fact that teams stand off him because they know he's a mediocre passer. He's started to drive into the empty space that's left for him.
Attacking the space, if you will.
Smalling > Carrick
I don't think it's as simple as that, even though that is true.
You cant discount the inclusion of Carrick, this is the first game where he's had Carrick in front of him and his defensive partner, when Smalling goes forward Carrick drops back and provides cover, and them interchanging allows him to create more space and start an attack.
Been excellent so far.
Him and Jones looked to have a good understanding. Both got on the ball and used it well. Both broke the line and pushed up to win the ball. I suppose we will see more of it if Rojo is out for a bit.
Damn he's fast once he starts rolling.
Good game to get back in the squad.
He looks so much more comfortable on the ball when playing as the RCB.
Good outing and improved passing, Jones should play LCB when they're paired.
Yep. I've never understood why Smalling was the one who was always moved across, when Jones seems to be the more versatile player. To some extent the same is true with Bailly, although Bailly is quite a bit better than either of them with possession, so if Mourinho wants him to stay on his preferred right for his passing ability to be fully used I can understand that.
Played well today, hopefully Rojo is ok but if he isn't it's encouraging that Smalling looked so comfortable today.
On the right hand side as CB hes good there. On left hand side, hes so uncomfortable and is a mess. Agreed with above, Jones looked decent / more comfy as LCB than Smalling ever does.
Where the hell did that passing came from. In the beginning he did his usual charge up field and them side pass to fullback or CM but then later he made quite some progressive passes up field, especially that one to Rashford that was so perfectly weighted I was arguing that with my friend that it was carrick and could not possible be Smalling until we saw the replay. I don't even think I have seen Fellaini pull off one of those.
Needs a run in the team & depending on Rojo's injury it looks like he & Jones will be the partnership of choice for these next two games. With Bailly gone I'm not happy we don't have the depth of coverage we need going into the Livershite game.
Clearly Jose promotes defending first from his CB's but of the four we have Smalling is by far the most likely to successfully carry the ball out from the back when given the chance. I thought he had a decent game today - a couple of nice passes, anticipated well and as he is most of the time, pretty reliable in the air.
It's just a shame he & Rojo couldn't have played together a little longer as we (Mourino) needs to see how that partnership differs from Rojo & Jones.
Good to build up a match fitness for Hull and Liverpool game. Unfortunately for Rojo's injury but what a time for Smalling to get a chance for first team again. He needs to take it.
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