The goals we concede

Discussion in 'Manchester United Forum' started by NotoriousISSY, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. Feb 12, 2018
    #1

    NotoriousISSY $10mil and I fecked it up!

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    I’ve grown to become a lot more resistant to things in football not going the way I want. Rarely would I consider posting a new thread in the football forum, but here’s goes.

    There is a lot of talk about us now being so top heavy that we’re a clusterfeck - which holds merit but really doesn’t concern me as much as something else.

    I’m sat at my desk pondering United at this point of the season, and wondering is anyone else becoming really frustrated with the type of goals we’re conceding regularly? I’m all for giving teams credit for scoring goals against us, but I really struggle when a large proportion of these are self-inflicted.

    The goal yesterday really underlined my frustrations, because it was avoidable on two occasions.

    Then you look back at:
    City at home
    Bristol away
    Leicester away
    Spurs away
    Stoke away

    And probably some of the others which have annoyed me less.

    Mourinho is considered to be a manager who builds a strong defensive unit and that’s where success starts. But we seem to make defending basic set pieces with our giant team a self-harming exercise.

    Is it time to finally concede that whilst Jones and Smalling are somewhat capable, they are not in any position to be relied upon as first choice defenders?

    Do we miss Bailly despite his prowess not being aerial dominance?

    Is the midfield area making the defensive unit work harder than it needs to?

    Can we be angry that Lukaku is very bad in our own box?

    Discuss.
  2. Feb 12, 2018
    #2

    cyril C Full Member

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    Smalling + Jones are simply average pairing. Perhaps OK as a partner with a more reliable CB but definitely not both together. Luckily Bailey will be back by early March, so we only need to survive CL 1st leg and may be 1 more EPL game. I don't know why Mourinho likes Rojo so much, who is a good defender when focus but simply too short in domestic games.

    Some of the soft goals were not totally due to these 2 pairing. Lukaku in City games, and was it Pogba in Newcastle? The role and responsibility of individual players seem to be forgotten occasionally. I thought Mourinho would use the Dubai break to work on set pieces but unfortunately it is a liability rather than asset to us.
  3. Feb 12, 2018
    #3

    unitedforeveral Banned

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    I agree. We have a very good front line and a decent midfield in Pogba, Matic and Lingard but the tactics and the formations is bad. We need our players to move more freely and what's worse is our players are not able to read one another because the team keeps changing every week. The formation changes every week. The same player doesn't play in the same position and that probably hinders a lot in terms of finding a pass or going through a bunch of defenders and sending a final pass. We always tend to find ways to beat the first player close to us and go for a pass, nobody dribbles forward anymore. NOBODY in our midfield carries the ball forward, it always flies above the midfield to Lukaku who most times cannot get his head to it. WHAT'S THE POINT?!!! DO NOT BY-PASS MIDFIELD!
  4. Feb 12, 2018
    #4

    noodlehair "It's like..."

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    We concede too many chances and goals due to someone (or often more than one person) in our defence being completely brainless. I don't think it's just set pieces but they are where it's most evident.

    The Leicester game was the perfect example. Between them, and given an extensive period of time, our defenders couldn't reorganise themselves so the two fit centrebacks on the pitch were actually at centreback. You can blame Smalling as the injured player to an extent for not taking responsibility for the situation, but any one of the others could have taken charge and said "right, you go over there where you wont cause any damage"...no one did, and then even when Smalling was off the pitch getting treated, so there was no one at centreback covering, despite us still having two fit centrebacks on the pitch, the rest of them did nothing to re-organise. I found this absolutely amazing and it's definitely indicative of how we defend at times. Just utter brain dead stupidity when it comes to basic things.

    Unfortunately I think Jones and Smalling possibly individually are too prone to this to rely on, never mind as a pair.
  5. Feb 12, 2018
    #5

    Nick7 Full Member

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    We are hilariously bad at winning the second ball, especially so with Jones/Smalling pairing. Happened with the first Spurs goal, happened against Newcastle. It seems if the opposition wins a header, they'll get the ball from it. Teams seem to be taking advantage of it, ball towards Jones and the opposition wins it, Smalling doesn't react quick enough and it a touch slow to get there and they have an opening. Simple stuff and it's killed us against those two teams.
  6. Feb 12, 2018
    #6

    charlenefan Far less insightful than the other Charley

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    We do concede really really bad goals, we're so un-Jose-like in the goals we concede it's more of a concern to me than our so called failings in attack
  7. Feb 12, 2018
    #7

    Bruce Wayne New Member

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    While some goals we conceded were really poor, for the most part it has been least of our problems. United have the best goals against record in the league at the moment. DDG has 15 clean sheets (56% of his games).

    You can't win all games with clean sheet. Mistakes will happen and regardless of the quality of the goal, United just needs to score more. There are days where 4 goals just fly in and other days like recently vs spurs or newcastle it is not happening.

    Anyways I won't change the topic, but generally frustration of goals we concede comes because we drop points when we don't score. Can't win without scoring. If we won yesterday 4-1, I doubt conceding poor goal would be an issue.
  8. Feb 12, 2018
    #8

    Wednesday at Stoke Full Member

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    Mistakes happen over the course of a full season even for the best defenses. Remember the Rio own goal at Portsmouth? Good teams usually score enough to ride through them. We don't.
  9. Feb 12, 2018
    #9

    charlenefan Far less insightful than the other Charley

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    Ironical we lost the game when Rio put through his own net :lol:
  10. Feb 12, 2018
    #10

    RexHamilton Gumshoe for hire

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    Our defence simply isn't good enough. Our defensive statistics only look decent because we have a superhuman in goal. Jones and Smalling are not good enough. Either of them. Lindelof is unproven. Hopefully he'll come good. Bailly looks like a proper defender, hopefully we get him back in good form for the end of the season.

    However, while the I don't think our back line is good enough at the moment, our inability to convert chances is more worrying given the supposed quality of our forward players.
  11. Feb 12, 2018
    #11

    PhilMcD79 New Member

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    But it is the same types of sloppy goals being conceded consistently which suggests an underlying problem with basic defending. And as most crunch games are decided by the odd goal then defences lapses are a big worry as you can't rely on the attack scoring 3 or 4 per game it's unrealistic.
  12. Feb 12, 2018
    #12

    caid Full Member

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    It is a bit weird.
    We have a lot of tall, athletic players that are shit in the air and as a whole were fairly bad at reacting to second balls.
    Liverpool last season seems like another example, vaguely remember pogba getting bullied on every corner.

    Lukaku seems a different player in opposition box to every where else on pitch. He goes from being pretty poor in the air to brilliant.
  13. Feb 12, 2018
    #13

    Mike Schatner Devil's advocnut

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    The vast majority of goals could be avoided. Most of the time a defensive error is the cause of goals not some magical unstoppable piece of footballs by the attacking player. You can bet 90% of the goals this weekend will be picked apart in team rooms today. they aren't going to be sat there saying WOW what a wonderful piece of play by attacker, they will be calling out the guys that made mistakes on the defending team.

    Yesterdays goal was frustrating as hell because we were dominating the game.
  14. Feb 12, 2018
    #14

    Bobski Full Member

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    Most goals in any game have defensive mistakes at their core. Just the nature of the game, defenders can not be perfect.

    I am more concerned with how poor our attacking play is, started the season scoring relatively freely but only 16 in the last 12 league games. Generally I feel that our defenders become easy targets, the last 2 away losses the midfield has been awful.
  15. Feb 12, 2018
    #15

    KristianMackle New Member

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    When you look at City, Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool and Chelsea we may not have the worst defensive record - thats down to De Gea - we have the current two worst centrebacks in Smalling and Jones.

    Smalling and Jones have as much composure on the ball as a dog running on ice.....in skates....on a wobbly boat. The loss of Bailly cannot be understated. We cannot defend set-pieces and long balls are a big problem for us. This will end well.
  16. Feb 12, 2018
    #16

    Cassidy No longer at risk of being mistaken for a Scouser

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    I'd say Arsenals is actually worse, I'd also say Liverpools is probably on par.

    Jones next to Bailly is also a totally different player then he is next to Smalling. Of course I would rather Bailly + someone better.

    I think the majority of our defensive issues come from midfield and fullback
  17. Feb 12, 2018
    #17

    RedCurry Full Member

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    We concede silly goals and our centre backs cannot pass the ball if their lives depended on it. We can't keep trying to use the same mediocre centre backs as our first choice and expect different results. Put Blind in there and maybe we'll concede an odd goal for a long ball or some pacey forward will rip him to shreds but he for sure will find our forwards a lot more. Have Shaw beside him to help out with pace and physicality and we will suddenly look like a better defensive unit.

    Smalling and Jones do not work together. Hopefully Newcastle game was the last time we ever saw it. I cannot see Jose persisting with it. If he can drop Pogba, I am sure he can drop one out of Jones or Smalling.
  18. Feb 12, 2018
    #18

    KristianMackle New Member

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    I could say the same about Arsenal as well. Individually Koscielny and Mustafi are great CBs but they are caught in system or team without any defensive midfielders and also Bellerin can not defend at all. I'd much rather have those two in our team than Smalling and Jones any day of the week.
  19. Feb 12, 2018
    #19

    mad1max954 New Member

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    Agree with this - It is a terrible pairing. Individually they can do ok but together they are a mistake waiting to happen.

    The other thing that is also worth noting is that I think the whole team suffers when these two are at hte back. They are so, so bad with the ball that we struggle to build up play effectively. I actually thought that in the final third we were ok against Newcastle and we did have chances, the problem is getting the ball up their for any sustained attack. Long balls forward lumped to lukaku are hopeless and not something we should be doing anyway. Playing through smalling and jones, into Matic (who isnt very mobile, but who is also isolated) which means are attacks more often than not break down or are very very slow. Better ball playing centre halves would of made a big difference I think. We do need extra support in the middle too - Pogba isnt covering himself in glory but we do need to make the most of him too.
  20. Feb 12, 2018
    #20

    abdo99 Full Member City Lover

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    We have a load of players with a low footballing IQ. I'm pretty sure a lot of them didn't get good grades at school too. Like someone mentioned the Leicester game sums up everything about this team. The goal we conceded in the last minute despite having a man advantage was unforgivable. Smalling should've moved away from the penalty area but he didn't. We don't have brains on the field apart from Carrick and he is getting old now. Matic is OK but he isn't vocal enough.
  21. Feb 12, 2018
    #21

    Son Of Sam Banned

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    The goals we concede often look stupid but that’s hardly our problems. We have conceded the least number of goals in the league which tends to skew the narrative that Jones/Smalling are decent defenders.

    When you look at other teams, they have 1 or 2 CBs who aren’t afraid of the ball when in possession. They can stroll with the ball and they do contribute to the attack in terms of forward pass or score once in a while from setplays.

    We have 2 centre halves that cannot even defend well when under pressure plus they contribute nothing going forward. The first instinct of Smalling/Jones is to pass backwards - it does not matter if they are pressured or not. They are afraid of the ball. Smalling may travel 10-20 yards with the ball and then stops to pass it backwards.

    I was watching Liverpool last night.....I saw Matip play a slide rule forward pass to Salah in the final third. I immediately did a mental check if any of our centre backs that played against Newcastle was capable of such, the answer is no. In their shoes, they would have passed the ball sideways or backwards. All these intangibles matter in football & it helps the attack put more bodies in the opposition territory.

    Some few weeks back, only City had scored more goals than us in the top 6. If you check the statistics today, the only team we have outscored is Chelsea who we all know are having a crisis. We just don’t score enough goals, we don’t support our main striker. Other strikers of other clubs are given chances in abundance on a platter to score. We give Lukaku one or 2 chances per game and we expect him to win the golden boot cos of his price tag. This has to change.
  22. Feb 12, 2018
    #22

    Cassidy No longer at risk of being mistaken for a Scouser

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    I've never really rated Mustafi and Koscielny imo is on the slide. With the later especially you could see how good he was despite the midfield issues before.
  23. Feb 12, 2018
    #23

    baskinginthesun Full Member

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    I always find that the type of goal we gave up yesterday wouldn't have mattered had we been up 2 or 3 nil. It was tough because we missed some sitters by then and gave up goal against the run of play. I don't think blaming Smalling and Jones is the answer. Defending set pieces is a team effort. Both Pogba and Matic didn't even challenge the first ball. Neither of them jumped.

    Also, why do our CB's need to be good at going forward? Our style of play is not a Liverpool or Man City where everyone is supposed to be good with their feet.
  24. Feb 12, 2018
    #24

    NotoriousISSY $10mil and I fecked it up!

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    Again, to reiterate - my point was mainly on the type of goal we concede.

    Yes many goals come from errors, but many also come from great attacking play which you stand back and accept you can’t do much about. But, it shouldn’t be the norm to expect us to concede an utterly stupid goal - regardless of our inability to score goals at times.

    Yesterday’s probably wasn’t the worst of the lot so my timing might not be brilliant.
  25. Feb 12, 2018
    #25

    El Zoido Full Member

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    Felt like we’d seen that Newcastle goal countless times already this season. Where we completely lose coherence in the box and a loose runner charges on to it and buries it. Even the Eriksen goal at Wembley was similar. It’s becoming annoying.
  26. Feb 13, 2018
    #26

    cyril C Full Member

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    Becareful when you said we conceded the least no. of goals. It doesn't matter much if we win 4-2, but matters if we end up at 1-1 or 0-1. Most of the goals that we conceded count. If our manager use open tactics like Klopp then perhaps Liverpool fans should live with goals conceded, as long as they outscore opponent, but our manager prefer discipline defence, hence any goals conceded must be a disaster, sloppy goals are cardinal sin.
  27. Feb 13, 2018
    #27

    Beachryan More helpful with spreadsheets than Phurry

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    Agree with this, though possibly not the school part. Footballing intelligence is an extremely important skill, somewhat apart from actual intelligence. See Rooney, Wayne. And the more I hear from them, sadly, Scholes and Giggs. It's about awareness of the overall game, and their role in it.

    You can get away with some players not having it, but having a back line where 3 of the 4 are Smalling, Jones and Valencia...not sure who is there to provide leadership and intelligence. Don't love Young at LB, but he seems to understand football.
  28. Feb 13, 2018
    #28

    Theonas Full Member Scout

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    Is anyone watching any football outside of our games anymore? Everyone concedes stupid goals. Look at the goals City conceded recently and let's not even start with Liverpool or Chelsea. In world football, Juventus are perhaps the only team that more or less never concedes. This eternal search for defensive perfection really needs to stop. Every single goal is "shocking" and "school boy defending" and other hyperbole. The only way you have a significant defensive problem is if the column against is unusually high and in our case it is far from that. Contrary to what some would like to believe, this is not thanks to De Gea. The only game this season where he literally won us 3 pts was away to Arsenal. Other than that, he does not make a disproportionately high number of saves compared to Lloris or Courtois. The reason why we concede decisive goals is usually due to having to chase games. We are very flawed offensively that more often than not, we end up having to panic and lose shape which encourages opponents and give them more space. This is what happened vs Newcastle, Bristol whereas in games like Leicester, you will find similar examples in literally every single season every single team. The bottom line is we don't create or score enough. Teams feel don't feel like they will be pinned back by us enough. We also don't control midfields enough to minimize the amount of time opponents spend in our half. This will always lead to bad days and the answer is really not getting better at defending but getting better at getting more comfortable at passing, moving and controlling games.
  29. Feb 13, 2018
    #29

    Class of 63 Full Member

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    Wouldn't swap him for anybody else on the planet at the moment but some of the soft goals we do concede from corners/free-kicks are down to David De Gea not dominating his penalty area like Peter Schmeichel did, who even when he knew he'd misjudged the flight of the ball he committed to it going for it, the defence instinctively knew he'd do that so could react accordingly.
  30. Feb 13, 2018
    #30

    DdeGoat Banned

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    Someone had to say it. Good post. People expect some kind of defensive utopia where our defenders are supposed to give flawless performances each game. I don't know which team in world football is doing that.

    As you mentioned, the issue is that when you play ultra-defensive football, it is not easy to suddenly change gears and win games where you fall a goal or two behind. Our attacking schemes are not good enough to put opposition defenses and keepers under constant pressure to make them crumble. Instead we get desperate as the games progress and leave open spaces for the opposition to thrive. Most good teams score early goals to open the opposition up which gives them more spaces to operate in. Where as we make it easy for the opposition defenses with singularity in our play and incessant crosses from either side our primary attacking weapon.
  31. Feb 13, 2018
    #31

    Revaulx Full Member

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    Good post @Theonas!

    Our defenders aren’t perfect. There’s a general lack of quality on the ball. And Smalling’s dive v Newcastle was downright pathetic. Doesn’t stop them being decent defenders though, and they play behind a midfield that, Matic’s endeavours apart, offers zero protection.

    I’m not sure how we compare with other top sides on set piece defence, but we don’t look great at it. Surely that’s down to whole team coaching more than individual players’ quality?
  32. Feb 13, 2018
    #32

    kthanksbye Full Member

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    As much as people have been shitting on Smalling and Jones since Sunday, and as bad as they are, the goal we conceded was because Matic and Pogba, more the former.

    Watch the replay and notice how Pogba leaves his man and makes a move towards the attacker the ball is going to land to, Matic maybe notices this and does not make a challenge, Pogba pulls out in the last moment and the player takes a header in our box, unchallenged.

    That's just silly and very frustrating to watch, ideally you just clear the ball and nothing of note happens.
  33. Feb 13, 2018
    #33

    Lentwood Full Member

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    Why is Jones getting flak? Smalling plus anybody is Chaos! I just think he unsettled everybody around him
  34. Feb 13, 2018
    #34

    roonster09 Correctly predicted France to win World Cup 2018

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    Did Smalling make Jones to lose header against Spurs within first 10 seconds? Or look like a clown clearing ball awkwardly and scoring own goal?

    Did smalling make Jones to not even contest for the header against Newcastle or lose his footing against Stoke?

    All our CBs make mistakes, no need to blame one for everyone's mistake.
  35. Feb 13, 2018
    #35

    Marcky411 Full Member

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    Firstly as some have already pointed out, we are a so un-Jose in defence at the moment, Jose's teams have all been known for their rock solid defences. Last year and the beginning of this season you could see a lot of work had been done in this area, we bought two new CD and we weren't making these sloppy mistakes like we have been doing the last while. Most the goals we do concede are often from set pieces not so often open play. In the beginning of this season we could see where the height and physicality of our players counted, we were solid in defence and became a threat at set pieces and corners at the other end, that seems to have all evaporated.
    Why Jose has opted to go with Smalling and Jose just amazes me, these two have proven time and time again to be an accident in the making. I know Bailly is injured but we have still got Rojo and Lindelof so to say this is out of necessity isn't true either.
    To think up until a while ago corners and free kicks given to the opposition didn't bother me much, always had a feeling it would be easily dealt with, now I hold my breath hope we won't be conceding.
  36. Feb 13, 2018
    #36

    FootyGirl88

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    Most of the sloppy goals we have conceded involve Smalling and Jones. Stoke away Jones involved in the 2nd goal, at the weekend Smalling diving for the free kick. There's been other countless occasions. Both of them are the common factors.
  37. Feb 13, 2018
    #37

    NotoriousISSY $10mil and I fecked it up!

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    No one is expecting that actually.

    No team in the world challenging for their title is regularly conceding goals in the manner that we are...which is certainly a factor in us being where we are, amongst other things.

    I dont expect defensive perfection, I understand that it is one of the areas on a football pitch that a mistake can happen at any moment, but again to reiterate the manner in which we have been conceding does feel like a kick in the teeth.

    Missing a tackle, or falling over when attempting happens...but failing to challenge for a ball lumped in the air, or simply not tracking a runner has made both Smalling and Jones look foolish, as has some of their questionable positioning.
  38. Feb 13, 2018
    #38

    The_Order Full Member

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    Had we put our chances away we woukdnwo be talking about this
  39. Feb 13, 2018
    #39

    Theonas Full Member Scout

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    True but that's not necessarily because they defend better. It is more due to the fact that they have to defend much less than we end up doing thanks to their superior possession abilities and how higher up the pitch they play their games. If you put Barcelona, City or PSG under the same kind of pressure we find ourselves under when we play the likes Burnley or Leicester, they will concede just as much if not more. They are less prepared to deal with that than any Mourinho team since the latter likes to have defenders who are comfortable at defending. The big difference is those teams are too good on the ball, they take the game to the opponents regularly and for larger portion of games. This isolates their opponents attackers and result in much lesser crosses or time spent in their box meaning much less chances of an unpredictable action or a silly missed second ball. As I said in a previous post, Juventus are probably the only top team today who are genuinely brilliant at defending. They can sit deep and allow you to play across them and they will be happy defending that for days. That's the exception however and it does help when you have someone like Chiellini who is the last of his kind.
  40. Feb 13, 2018
    #40

    Theonas Full Member Scout

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    I think for the type of defending they are asked to do, our defenders are as good as anyone in the league. I am not sure the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea or even City would have held out at Burnley last month when they were sending cross after cross to our box. The away game to Southampton was the same and many others. You put the other top teams under that constant pressure and they are more likely to crumble than we do. In world football, I think Chiellini is the last truly brilliant warhorse of a defender. One who is happy heading out crosses and dealing with wave after wave of attack making close to zero mistakes. This is why the search for someone better is really futile. Academies are not producing that type of defenders anymore because top teams are not using them. We are close to as good as it gets. The reason it is costing us is that we end up under that kind of pressure much more often than a top team should. The other reason is that in 270 minutes of football against Spurs, Huddersfield and Newcastle, we scored a total of 2 goals with one of the most expensive forward lines in history. Conceding three times in those fixtures is nothing out of the ordinary. Scoring twice is the kind of stat you see at West Brom.