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Chris Smalling 2017-18 Performances

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6.0 Average rating
45 Appearances
4 Goals
20 Clean sheets
4 Yellow cards
  1. Feb 3, 2018

    Ekeke Full Member

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    No, we dont. Like every position in the team its about the other players on the pitch. Having Smalling, one of the best out and out defenders in the league relieves some of the pressure on other players to be at the top defensively - our fullbacks, his partner at CB, our midfield. In return they are the ones who need to be good on the ball and make things happen.

    Imagine saying you cant win with Ronaldo on the wing because he doesn't track back as much as other players. People did say that actually when he was younger and it was just as silly as suggesting you can't win a title with your best defending CB.
  2. Feb 3, 2018

    OnlyTwoDaSilvas Gullible

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    Have you seen the size of their centre forward? Smalling was the right choice for this game, especially so over a centre back who has shown nothing for United so far. He's also been very good in that first half.
  3. Feb 3, 2018

    vi1lain caf sexpert

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    Great defending so far, won every aerial battle, not allowed attacks to come from his side of the pitch and been a threat on set pieces too.

    His passing has even been more comfortable, but he's not pinging it across the field so someone will say he's not a footballer.
  4. Feb 3, 2018

    All 3 United His tinfoil hat protects him from the Glazers. Verified Moaner

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    Look i’m not a Smalling fan but this thread didn’t need bumping, he’s done his job well so far (not that he’s had a lot to deal with really).
  5. Feb 3, 2018

    J_Red 11 Banned

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    Why Smalling is the only scapegoat for relying on de Gea to be playmaking? What about Matic? He's a midfielder, he should also take the responsibility of playmaking. We never had problem when we played with Smalling & Vidic or Smalling & Jones when we had Carrick.
  6. Feb 3, 2018

    devips Full Member

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    Agenda posters - do they even watch matches?
  7. Feb 3, 2018

    Kag Full Member Scout

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    Usually smashing it out of play, if not for the odd crossfield pass which seldom reaches its target.

    He looks graceful though...
  8. Feb 3, 2018

    criticalanalysis Full Member

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    This what catches people 'off' about Smalling's game.

    Yes he was brilliant in the last couple of minutes with those defensive contributions. The problem was he was non-existent as a football player in the 40 before that against a side that wasn't interested in getting out of their box. It's harsh because he didn't do much wrong but that's not a great leaver to judge. He simply has no ball playing ability for a team like us that wants to press high, attack fast and be dynamic.

    He's a capable squad player and no more. Of course that can be said of other players like Mata and Lingard imo. It's not their form and contribution on any given game that we'd worried about, it's simply their bottom level and ability. With Smalling, when it's not defending, he's not doing anything positive which is basically a negative as he's the weakest link.
  9. Feb 3, 2018

    devips Full Member

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    Smalling is probably the best player on the pitch for United today, apart from Lingard.
  10. Feb 3, 2018

    Ekeke Full Member

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    Playmaking CBs eh?

    I guess Scholes should have been a CB.
  11. Feb 3, 2018

    Ekeke Full Member

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    You'd have to be a really shitty attacking player to blame your best defending CB for not being able to break down a team playing defensively.
  12. Feb 3, 2018

    vi1lain caf sexpert

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    The irony of your name being "critical analysis" and this is the 2 cents you decide to throw in.
  13. Feb 3, 2018

    Amar__ Not so Full Member

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    What a load of rubbish, especially the bold part. :lol:
    Do you even realise that you are expecting a fecking CB to be our playmaker against Huddersfield fecking town? What exactly did Rojo do today?
  14. Feb 3, 2018

    acnumber9 Full Member

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    I thought that might be what it was. Thank God Smalling isn’t playmaking then.
  15. Feb 3, 2018

    roonster09 Full Member

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    He is taking his username literally and very seriously :lol:
  16. Feb 3, 2018

    Romez New Member

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    You sure you're talking about the right team here?

    We only play like this when we're forced to i.e. the opposition is parking the bus.
  17. Feb 3, 2018

    Bobski Full Member

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    Vidic wasn't much better on the ball than Smalling. Not as awkward looking but his range was similar.
  18. Feb 3, 2018

    Sylar Full Member

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    Hes doing fine here. And i expect him to do fine as were going to have the majority of the ball so when hes on it he wont be pressured as much.
    The problem comes against the bigger teams who will pressure him and thus cause a mistake or him to hoof it or turn a full 90 degrees to pass it to DDG thus stopping chances of counter attacks.
  19. Feb 3, 2018

    Kag Full Member Scout

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    It's the new go-to defence of the manager.

    Everybody now knows that there is little excuse left for our inability to score goals.

    So they take the easy option and blame Smalling. Then pass it off for football intelligence and some bullshit about defenders starting attacks.

    Imagine arguing that Otamendi was the bedrock of City's football. It's inherently hilarious. This is the opposite.
  20. Feb 3, 2018

    OnlyTwoDaSilvas Gullible

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    Weird how he's often beaten down as "a capable squad player and nothing more" yet he starts just about every game he's fit for and hasn't been replaced in 4 transfer windows Mourinho has had. Doesn't sound like a squad player.
  21. Feb 3, 2018

    criticalanalysis Full Member

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    And those players deserve criticism too. As does the manager because it's comes top down but that's completely separate from any discussion about Smalling.

    The way I see it is that you're only as good as your weakest link and on the ball he is absolutely that.
  22. Feb 3, 2018

    Loublaze ATLien

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    Im sorry man but this is a weak and lazy criticism. What should he be doing that he isn't? His overstated lack of ability on the ball hasn't hindered us any
  23. Feb 3, 2018

    Jacci New Member

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    Hah, we’ve had like what, 80 % of the ball? Obv not the game to give him stick, but if we’re serious of winning the league, CL or whatever. We need our defenders to be comfortable on the ball. Regarding Rojo and Jones, they are no nonsense defenders and should be complimented with someone like lindelof (or someone better), jury still out for him.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2018
  24. Feb 3, 2018

    Isotope Full Member

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    When your team failed to break down the opposition, and you found a CB as the weakest link, you need the re-evaluate your analysis.
  25. Feb 3, 2018

    Devil may care Full Member Verified Moaner

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    Meat and drink game for Smalling, when there's no press he's usually competent.
  26. Feb 3, 2018

    criticalanalysis Full Member

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    Examples:
    Ability to step out of defence with the ball.
    Not clear everything first time i.e control it rather than take a touch to clear, hoof, pass back.
    Be a short pass option when team mates are being pressed i.e not half turn your body so the only option is to go back.
    Not pass it to De Gea and instantly turn his body away, which then forces De Gea to hoof as he's denied an option.
    Instead of fearing the press, take control of it by passing it better/forward, which opens up the pitch.

    That's just the off top of my head.

    I said it's harsh to single him out like this because it's not just his responsibility, as I said above, other players and the manager takes a lot of blame too but that doesn't mean it's not true. Just because you're not doing bad or anything visually negative, doesn't mean the criciticsm isn't there.

    Look at the Lukaku and Shaw threads. Lukaku scored a goal but his all round game was terrible. Shaw was 'okay' but he didn't do anything progressive and as a result, Alexis didn't have much support on the overlap and in effect he had one more Hudderfield defenders closing him down.

    It's subtle but it adds up. Think of Pogba and Matic getting the ball 5-10 yards further up the pitch than needing to constantly receive it in their own half to accomendate Smalling's inability.

    Again it's collective but the fact of the matter is, one's bottom level means you're always pandering and catering to it not buidling on it.

    It's not I don't recognise Smalling's contribution and ability, it's just I and others acknowledge his weakness too. I mean Smalling deservedly won PPOTY but LVG's tactics and Blind was a massive reason to that. And now we don't play that way and it's not a sustainable system (if you compare with other top teams and leagues).
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
  27. Feb 3, 2018

    MikeKing New Member

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    What annoys me is that you seldom see Smalling hoof, misplace a pass or pass back to De Gea even if pressed, when he has another option. The exact same as other ball-playing centre backs. Im not going to argue against him lacking a bit of composure on the ball generally, but it is far from detrimental to our play as people make out. He plays on the safe side and sometimes i want him to take more risk but ultimately its also probably the reason i trust him in any defensive situation.

    The only situations he is not filling me with confidence is when he has to leave his space to cover for others because even though his choices often work out, leaving your space like that shouldn't be how you regularly play. He should be giving his mates a bollocking instead but he doesn't have those leader-qualities.

    He really deserves a topclass partner as he has had to consistently babysit Jones, Rojo, Blind, Lindelof, Blackett and even Carrick defensively these last few years . I wish he was better on the left because i think Bailly should hold the RCB next year.

    I would offload Jones first due to extreme inconsistency in performances, with injuries being the main culprit for that. Lindelof hasn't impressed but it would be silly not to give him a bit of time considering how fair we have been with the other CB's. Say we acquire Umtiti. I think we could get away with him, Bailly, Smalling and Lindelof/Axel/TFM. A good mix of qualities
  28. Feb 3, 2018

    Jacci New Member

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    Last post of the day. I fail to see why some posters has unlimited post per day tbh! Smalling is what he is, he has all the attributes to be a solid CB, bur he’s as mentally weak as a sitting duck, he constantly pass away the responsibility. I said the some thing about Shaw, but he proved me wrong!
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2018
  29. Feb 3, 2018

    Ekeke Full Member

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    And defensively its our best players that our weakest link. So I guess we sell Pogba and Sanchez because other players track back better.

    De Gea scores the least goals in the entire team. We need to sell him and find a player who will add to our goal tally.

    Come on its ridiculous.
  30. Feb 3, 2018

    Udayan K. New Member

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    I agree that the defenders are the last ones to have any onus on to be good on the ball. That doesn't mean they should be as bad as Smalling is. I am not sure he is one of the best in the league. Yes we have a very good defensive record but against the big teams that press and have real quality upfront, we haven't really been very comfortable defensively.

    In any case, you are setting up the context of this season and this league, whereas my original reply was in general about Smalling and defenders playing at elite clubs aiming to win the Champions League and was a reply to a post saying as long as Smalling, or any defender, is good defensively, that's enough.

    There are people in this thread, or any on this forum for that matter, taking someone's post and applying it to extreme cases, no one is suggesting Smalling needs to be a playmaker. It is clear United's problem when it comes to scoring have nothing to do with Smalling and other CBs, but you would have to be really, really naive in thinking defenders, yes even CBs, don't play any part in setting up the (counter-)attack, ESPECIALLY given the style Jose plays in big games. But then you will also be accused of being part of the "football intelligentsia".
  31. Feb 3, 2018

    criticalanalysis Full Member

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    Look the single biggest factor to why we are playing like shite at times is completely down to Mourinho so this is not on Smalling and it's not an agenda.

    In the grand scheme of things you defend and attack as a team. Through possession and pressing, a top team we aspire to be shouldn't need to be defending deep and relying on individual brilliance.

    Smalling is not good enough on the ball and it's not his fault but it doesn't detract from the fact that if he was better on it, he would likely contribute to us playing better by being able to build from the back more.
  32. Feb 3, 2018

    Ekeke Full Member

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    Very rarely is your CB going to start a counterattack. It usually starts with a ball cleared/header (Something Smalling does well) that falls to someone near your own box who has the chance to cut a few players out of the game with a good pass - normally a midfielder or attacker. You're talking about a normal faster buildup, not a counterattack.
  33. Feb 3, 2018

    Ekeke Full Member

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    Okay. And again other players defending better would give less importance to fielding your best defending CB. Its because we don't have Barcelona of years ago closing everyone down and winning the ball in the opponent's half that we need a good CB even with the best keeper in the world. If everyone was defending from the front (like Ander tried to do last season) and throughout the team and we often won the ball before teams could properly attack us, then yeah Smalling wouldn't be needed as much and given we have all of the ball and never need to defend our box, we could field a more fancy CB who wants to pass instead of defend.

    But thats simply not the case. We arent Barcelona of a number of years ago. Our team relies on our CB and Goalkeeper to bail us out time and again.
  34. Feb 3, 2018

    Isotope Full Member

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    Can't take anyone, who says Smalling is not a footballer as he can't pass the ball, seriously about football. It feels like they're attention seeking WUMs, just looking for respond. His passing is good enough for any good CB. Not Hummel's like, but John Terry's level. Just watch this game.

    He's the type of CB with safety first mentality; and if the midfield provide outlet, his pass is decent enough to find them regularly.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
  35. Feb 3, 2018

    MadDogg Full Member

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    Err, no. John Terry was actually a very good passer of the ball. I can't remember if he was always like that or if it was something he developed over the years, but he was actually one of the better 'playmaking' defenders in the league. Something he rarely got credit for, which was always surprising considering how much the media loved him.

    I've always been one of Smalling's biggest fans, but his ability on the ball is definitely his biggest weakness and it is worse than what we would like. Not as bad as what some on here make out, but there are times where it can definitely hurt us. Certainly nowhere near Terry's level.
  36. Feb 3, 2018

    SteveW Full Member

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    I find the whole Smalling criticism surreal. I see this guy defend brilliantly every week and yet he always seems to be the first to be criticised. I just don't get it. I doubt if i ever will.

    The fact that its always about his passing is the most laughable part. People can't criticise his defending so have to find something. Because they just can't help wanting to criticise this guy.
  37. Feb 3, 2018

    NoPace Full Member

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    Yeah, Terry was miles ahead of Smalling on the ball.
  38. Feb 3, 2018

    Andersons Dietician Full Member

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    Was great today.
  39. Feb 4, 2018

    criticalanalysis Full Member

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    I agree with most of what you're saying there (which is why most criticism stays with the manager) but it's a chicken or egg scenario for me here.

    We simply have the ball most times than not against weaker opposition and then against stronger opposition, most teams employ a decent pressing game. Two things which Smalling is not really up to standard at.

    As I said it's subtle things. Sometimes, Smalling's lack of composure and ability on the ball is the reason why he may be sitting 5-10 yards deeper. Again most blame should be on tactics and coaching but you cannot deny Smalling is much more comfortable on the edge of his box than around the half way line. This has an effect on the wider scheme of things (just like Shaw's lack of overlaps/width or Lukaku's hold up play despite their 'success' on the pitch).
  40. Feb 4, 2018

    MikeKing New Member

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    You're saying it's the subtle things but then imply he's the reason we don't play a high-line? That's not subtle then. It's a bold claim, just like saying something like Lukaku's touch is the reason our defence is always put under pressure all the time. I kinda get what you are saying tho and I agree its about tactics, so do you not think Smalling would play higher up the pitch if he was told to?

    In fact i think he thrives up there, especially if our attackers and midfielders attack with intent. When the midfielders are slow and the attackers lack movement, then Smalling isn't going to solve that, like Rio sometimes did. But when playing a high-line and our attackers push the opposition back, then Smalling is very good at winning the ball back and recycles it quick back to the forwards/midfielders to keep attacking. Both he and Bailly does this very well i think. Either with a header, or using their sublime pace and physique. Simple passes is enough in this situation. And this is a situation we should be aiming to archive every game.

    When we dominate, he is really good for the team high up the pitch. When we ourselves is pushed back in the box, he is really good for the team. Im not disagreeing that his limitations has a negative effect on the way the team play, but i'm disagreeing that the subtle things is as detrimental for the team as you make out. How his lack of composure and awkwardness on the ball has a negative effect on the team is widely overstated. How his defending has a positive effect on how the team play is widely understated.

    People like me in this thread probably come off as super protective of Smalling, and its because there's so many unbalanced opinions which either are exaggerated or just... not true.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2018