Apart from his passing, what did Smalling actually do wrong? And are you against him coming back next season?

arnie_ni

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The shirt grabbing is just horrific. He would give too many penalties away.
Did he give any away this season for roma from shirt pulling?
 

Skills

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I'm expecting 120 league goals from Solskjaers United next season. Guardiola's managed 100 with Otamendi and we've got 2 ball playing gods at the back.
 
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amolbhatia50k

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He didn't do anything wrong. He's a very good CB whose quality on the ball is mediocre and hence Ole considered him to be second choice. I'd still keep him but if he's willing to rotate with Maguire/Lindelof. I'd actually really like to see the Maguire Smalling. They'd be a very dominant combination to play against.
 

Revan

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We should return Smalling cause he is so dominant in the air. So dominant that last year he had a 64% win rate in aerial duels from 159 attempts. We should replace the very weak Lindelof whom this year had a 65.7% win rate from 146 attempts.

Yes, the numbers are not wrong:

Smalling: https://www.premierleague.com/players/3613/Chris-Smalling/stats?co=1&se=210
Lindelof: https://www.premierleague.com/players/5066/Victor-Lindelöf/stats?co=1&se=274

It is amazing how legends are created and then people repeat them, when there is no basis on reality. Smalling for some reasons has a reputation of being great in the air, Lindelof of being poor, when both of them are decent (and as good as each other) while not being great or poor.
 

Skills

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We should return Smalling cause he is so dominant in the air. So dominant that last year he had a 64% win rate in aerial duels from 159 attempts. We should replace the very weak Lindelof whom this year had a 65.7% win rate from 146 attempts.

Yes, the numbers are not wrong:

Smalling: https://www.premierleague.com/players/3613/Chris-Smalling/stats?co=1&se=210
Lindelof: https://www.premierleague.com/players/5066/Victor-Lindelöf/stats?co=1&se=274

It is amazing how legends are created and then people repeat them, when there is no basis on reality. Smalling for some reasons has a reputation of being great in the air, Lindelof of being poor, when both of them are decent (and as good as each other) while not being great or poor.
You have genuinely watched football matches involving Lindelof and Smalling and managed to come to the conclusion that they're comparable aerially?
 
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You have genuinely watched football matches involving Lindelof and Smalling and managed to come to the conclusion that they're comparable aerially?
Far too many people just look at stats and make assumptions about players. All these stats need to be taken in context.

I agree, some people don’t actually watch the game anymore.
 

EwanI Ted

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One of the best things Ole has done is stopped the endless chopping and changing of mediocre players in some futile attempt to turn lead into gold. Smalling is a decent enough defender, but he's not good enough to build a defence around that will take us to the title, that should be the vision for the team. He has different pros and cons to Lindelof, but he's not particularly any better overall. We're not going to wring another 5 clean sheets out of by using Smalling as opposed to Lindelof. All we do by swapping to Smalling is change one set of issues for another, and in the same process lose the benefits of a stable cb pairing. Let's just stick with what we've got til the ideal player comes along.
 

Teja

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We should return Smalling cause he is so dominant in the air. So dominant that last year he had a 64% win rate in aerial duels from 159 attempts. We should replace the very weak Lindelof whom this year had a 65.7% win rate from 146 attempts.

Yes, the numbers are not wrong:

Smalling: https://www.premierleague.com/players/3613/Chris-Smalling/stats?co=1&se=210
Lindelof: https://www.premierleague.com/players/5066/Victor-Lindelöf/stats?co=1&se=274

It is amazing how legends are created and then people repeat them, when there is no basis on reality. Smalling for some reasons has a reputation of being great in the air, Lindelof of being poor, when both of them are decent (and as good as each other) while not being great or poor.
24 apps (Smalling) vs 35 apps (Lindelof). Lindelof rarely attacks an aerial ball aggresively, he's much happier letting the ball bounce and defending 1v1 against a striker in the channel than going and challenging the first ball.

If you want to compare, maybe pull up successful headers per 90.
 

Varun

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Our 3rd best CB. Unless we buy someone better, I'd want him in the squad next season.
 

Skills

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And yet he plays in a league with VAR, and he doesn’t give away penalties in every game.

It’s almost as if he’s adapted.

Hmmmmm.
Or that it wasn't ever really an issue. Defenders are still over attackers, it still never gets called. I think one of the bellend commentators made a bit of a fuss about Smalling doing it once and the idiots on here have hung onto it since.
 

Varun

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We should return Smalling cause he is so dominant in the air. So dominant that last year he had a 64% win rate in aerial duels from 159 attempts. We should replace the very weak Lindelof whom this year had a 65.7% win rate from 146 attempts.

Yes, the numbers are not wrong:

Smalling: https://www.premierleague.com/players/3613/Chris-Smalling/stats?co=1&se=210
Lindelof: https://www.premierleague.com/players/5066/Victor-Lindelöf/stats?co=1&se=274

It is amazing how legends are created and then people repeat them, when there is no basis on reality. Smalling for some reasons has a reputation of being great in the air, Lindelof of being poor, when both of them are decent (and as good as each other) while not being great or poor.
In some cases, just watching players play is enough. No one who's watched them both play can say they are at par aerially.
 

Revan

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You have genuinely watched football matches involving Lindelof and Smalling and managed to come to the conclusion that they're comparable aerially?
Yes, I guess. The fact that I looked for stats is probably cause I already thought that. However, the percentage do not lie, right? Neither the EPL had any reason to lie.
24 apps (Smalling) vs 35 apps (Lindelof). Lindelof rarely attacks an aerial ball aggresively, he's much happier letting the ball bounce and defending 1v1 against a striker in the channel than going and challenging the first ball.

If you want to compare, maybe pull up successful headers per 90.
Smalling is more aggressive and makes more attempts that is true. But he is hardly a Maguire in that aspect (who has almost twice the attempts as Lindelof, while also being on seventies on win percentage).

Nevertheless, he is also having a lower win percentage than Lindelof. He is probably slightly better but by a small factor.
 

Foxbatt

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Are some people now having a go at Ole for not bringing back Smalling to replace Lindelof?
Lindelof has proven himself to be as good as Smalling.
 

simonhch

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He had huge promise when he first started breaking into the team, but he's the antithesis of a modern center half. People say he's the best pure defender at the club, but I don't think he's any better in that regard than Jones, Lindelof, or Maguire. He was equally prone to lapses and poor positioning. His defensive qualities get highlighted so much though, because his technical attributes are so poor. I generally like him and think he'd be an excellent mid table player and instantly improve clubs like Everton. But he's nowhere near good enough for United, and definitely not better than Lindelof.

Jones is a better player than Smalling. He's just had an injury destroyed career, and is a parody of himself at this point. If he'd stayed full fit, he'd be have been a rock at the heart of our defence. And no, I am not saying I still believe in him. That ship sailed about 2-3 years ago.
 

Bobski

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Smalling has given away one penalty for shirt pulling in his career from what I recall, Newcastle away.

Have people actually watched what is happening at set pieces this season? Are they not seeing that shirt pulling is still a major part of the game in those situations, as it has ever been. It is one of those things that fans fixate on but outside of an overreaction at the last WC is not really a major point of focus from refs.
 

Revan

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In some cases, just watching players play is enough. No one who's watched them both play can say they are at par aerially.
And in some, it is not. It is actually pretty simple, they both had around as many attempts (Smalling slightly more) and had around same win percentage (Victor slightly higher).

Also, shock horror, when they played together last year Lindelof made 40 tackles (win rate 68%) while Smalling made 30 (win rate 57%). Lindelof also had more clearances, almost double of recoveries (though played 6 more matches), a better duel won rate (65%) vs 62% for Smalling (though Smalling had 20 more attempts), Lindelof had 8 successful 50/50 compared to Smalling's 1. And this is not counting their playmaking (Lindelof averaged 10 more passes than Smalling per game).

So, even in pure defending skills, Lindelof did better than Smalling, but somehow Smalling is the better defender according to Caf. It doesn't matter than any United manager had him initially in bench until other defenders got injured, that Southgate does not call him, that Ole had him like 5th choice or so in the preseason, and that statistically, Lindelof crushes him, that during years we conceded more when he starts than when he doesn't. Somehow, there has been a fetish going on for years on a decent but hardly great player.

This is hardly Lindelof vs Maguire, where I said that they are the same level. Statistically that is not the case, Maguire seems quite better. Actually, just looking at matches, you can get to the same conclusion. Maguire is a better defender. Just that he fecks up far more often than Lindelof, which is why I put them at around the same level. Smalling as a total package is nowhere close. He might be third choice if we don't sign anyone, but he won't ever start ahead of those two when everyone fit. Simply, cause he is nowhere as good.
 
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Isotope

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Last season PL matches: Smalling 24 starts goals conceded 37. Without him 14 games 17 goals conceded

2017/8 PL season: Smalling 28 starts 24 goals conceded. Without him 10 games 4 goals conceded

2016/7 PL season: Smalling 13 starts 16 goals conceded. Without him (including a few late sub appearances) 25 games 13 goals conceded

2015/6 PL season: hard to do a comparison because Smalling started 35 matches 31 goals conceded. In this season we conceded fewer per game when he started. We conceded 4 goals in the 3 games he missed.

2014/5 PL season: Smalling 21 starts 23 goals conceded while he was on the pitch (a few games in which he got injured early on or came on as early sub). Without him 13 games 10 goals conceded. 4 goals conceded while he wasn't on the pitch but did appear at some stage, approx equivalent to 4 full matches

2013/4 PL season: another confused picture as Smalling played right back 50% of the time. Anyway, we conceded 25 goals with him on the pitch in about 21 games (plus a little bit). 18 conceded when he was missing, approx 17 games (slightly less).

I used to like Smalling a lot but at what point does it become obvious that the team tends to concede more goals when he plays compared to when he doesn't ?
Lindelof was also a big part of last season shit show.

And also Smalling had been playing the majority of big games, as he's been the most reliable CB we had. So most likely he didn't play on "small" games, like Europa, early FA and League Cups of which we usually dominated the games and conceded much less.

If you can't see that he had been our best CB on all those years... heyho..
 

shamans

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He can get a bit handsy, but it looks like Maguire has him beat there. He's definitely the grabbiest defender we've had now.

Lindelof and Maguire are regarded as ball players, somehow. I don't think they're doing anything particularly impressive with the ball, and we're lousy at playing out from the back. Smalling's issue for me was more about control of the ball, and perhaps his comfort with it at his feet. His passing was fine, but he'd often take an extra touch, or he'd generally just looks a little cumbersome when opening his body up to play the ball, which would slow down play somewhat. But we're certainly not any better at it without him.

He would improve the depth we have if he came back, but he doesn't improve the quality. Each of our defenders have qualities and flaws, and Smalling would be more of the same. He would at least be much more reliable in terms of availability than anyone who isn't Maguire and Lindelof. I think he'd be a reasonable 3rd choice, but I also don't think he wants to come back and play that role, which is fair enough.

Ideally I'd like Tuanzebe to be the 3rd centre back, in hope that he becomes a starter, but I fear he is going to be ruined by injuries. I hope I'm wrong, but generally I'd like to see us move on. 99.9% of the time, you don't loan out a 29/30 year old with the intention of bringing them back.
I really cannot fathom how someone can watch our games weak in and weak out yet not see how good Maguire is on the ball. His mistakes/short comings aside, he's obviously very good on the ball.
 

sebjr54_

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Southgate started the narrative when he wanted England playing out from the back with ball playing CB’s ( remember John Stones) .... the stigma has stuck ever since unfortunately ... in reality Smalling would be a starter in the each of the current top 4’s defence
 

Snow

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I'm one of those that did not consider Lindelöf to be the better defender when Smalling left. It could be that when Smalling was allowed to leave (I'm assuming he was 3rd choice and he rather wanted to play elsewhere than sit on the bench) the coaching staff had enough data on him to know that he wasn't good enough. Something that I can agree with. Lindelöf not being statistically significantly worse and perhaps with more potential was chosen instead. Pure speculation. Just trying to think of reasons why he was let go. Maybe doesn't gel well with Maguire. At least there's something.

He's a decent player but I don't think he's got much of a future here. However the transfer window and pre-season is shorter than usual and it's not unlikely that teams will be unable to do business as they like. If we're not able to bring in a CB before next season I'd like Smalling back.
 

Isotope

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Also, shock horror, when they played together last year Lindelof made 40 tackles (win rate 68%) while Smalling made 30 (win rate 57%). Lindelof also had more clearances, almost double of recoveries (though played 6 more matches), a better duel won rate (65%) vs 62% for Smalling (though Smalling had 20 more attempts), Lindelof had 8 successful 50/50 compared to Smalling's 1. And this is not counting their playmaking (Lindelof averaged 10 more passes than Smalling per game).

So, even in pure defending skills, Lindelof did better than Smalling, but somehow Smalling is the better defender according to Caf. It doesn't matter than any United manager had him initially in bench until other defenders got injured, that Southgate does not call him, that Ole had him like 5th choice or so in the preseason, and that statistically, Lindelof crushes him, that during years we conceded more when he starts than when he doesn't. Somehow, there has been a fetish going on for years on a decent but hardly great player.

This is hardly Lindelof vs Maguire, where I said that they are the same level. Statistically that is not the case, Maguire seems quite better. Actually, just looking at matches, you can get to the same conclusion. Maguire is a better defender. Just that he fecks up far more often than Lindelof, which is why I put them at around the same level. Smalling as a total package is nowhere close. He might be third choice if we don't sign anyone, but he won't ever start ahead of those two when everyone fit. Simply, cause he is nowhere as good.
:lol: This alone makes your whole point a bit hard to accept.
 
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Centerback pairing alongside Virgil van Dijk? I think he would. He wasn't as trash as people made him out to be. I rated him. Far better than Lindelöf.
I didn't say he was trash.

I said he is not good enough for any of sides we need to compete with and over take. Smalling is a mid table player. Falling back on him would show a terrible lack of ambition and vision. It would he accepting a second rate player when the club finally has a platform to build progress from.
 

Born2Lose

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Truth is we finished a fortunate third, we should be looking at a clear upgrade on Lindelof not questioning if Smalling is better or worse than him. The apathy with guys like Smalling and Jones is the reason the club's been lurking in the doldrums since Fergie left.
 

Revan

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Truth is we finished a fortunate third, we should be looking at a clear upgrade on Lindelof not questioning if Smalling is better or worse than him. The apathy with guys like Smalling and Jones is the reason the club's been lurking in the doldrums since Fergie left.
But the defense was our strongest department. We did decently on defense, second-lowest goals conceded. Sure, Lindelof is upgradeable (as is Maguire), but IMO there are many more positions that need upgrading before him.
 

PieCrust

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Smalling is a better defender than Lindelof. He's not the answer to start along side Maguire, we still need to buy another starting CB, but Smalling should definately be a part of the CB rotation next season.
 

Sandikan

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Truth is we finished a fortunate third, we should be looking at a clear upgrade on Lindelof not questioning if Smalling is better or worse than him. The apathy with guys like Smalling and Jones is the reason the club's been lurking in the doldrums since Fergie left.
How was it fortunate out of interest?
 

Carl

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I would have had him as a starter next to Maguire this season, and if we're unable to bring in an improvement on Lindelof would do the same next.

But then I don't rate Lindelof very highly at all. At best he's decent, but still passive, weak in the air and not physical enough to make up for Maguires deficiencies.

Smalling or a fit Bailly would make a far better partner to Maguire in my opinion.
Its amazing how much favour bailly is still held in by some. He terrible.
 

Rossa

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He'd have games where his brain would just seem to shut down and go home. Like that one at Leicester where we conceded at the end because he couldn't decide if he was injured or not and then forgot he was playing centreback. He also for someone so big was pretty poor on defending set pieces. It took a long while but we are finally better at that now with Maguire, and in general our defence even though it's still not great (imo) looks less likely to crumble completely, and that's despite our goalkeeper turning into David James.

I think his on the ball problems were always overstated. He isn't great on the ball but to be frank neither are Maguire and Lindelof. Maguire in particular is infuriating and plays us into trouble far more often than his dallying is actually of any use. All a centrback needs to do is get the ball and pass it to a midfielder with minimal time involved and Smalling is capable of doing that. I mean Southgate made a big point of not picking him due to him not being good enough on the ball, but then picks people like Tyrone Mings. That's like not picking Balotelli because you don't want trouble and then replacing him with a drunk Joe Barton.

I'd have him back but I'm not sure if he'd be an improvement on Lindelof. He'd definitely be a better back up option if not but being a back up is the reason he wanted to leave in the first place.
Bolded bit:lol:

not sure I agree Smalling wasn’t capable at defending aerially. The problem was that he was the only one capable. He had to be at all places at the same time. I also remember he often covered third most ground in the team.

I agree that his ball playing deficiencies are exaggerated, but he was never great on the ball. He was, however, actually quite decent running with the ball, and could from time to time bring the ball out from defence running past the oppositipn midfield. The problem was that his team members were completely dumbfounded, going what the feck just happened, so then he turned back around and side passed to Valencia.
 

Leftback99

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He's better than Lindelof so I would be fine with him coming back if we don't upgrade. All he did wrong was to actually be useful on the transfer market because he's a good defender, contrast with the likes of Rojo, Jones and Bailly stealing a living here.
 

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He'd get into city and Chelsea easily imo.

Hes better than otamendi and whoever Chelsea throw out.

Doesn't mean theyd be content with him however
Pep will never play a defender that's so bad in his passing and building up from the back. Will feck up his system.
 

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He's better than Jones, Rojo & Baily.

Perfectly happy to have him back as a rotation option, alongside Axel.

There could be a lot of games next year.
 

SAFMUTD

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All the people saying they would keep him as a squad option are probably not considering he wants to be a nailed starter? Thats why we loaned to Roma. Ole doesnt rate him, while he's good at defending and an aerial force, he is not a "technical defender".

For as much as I dont agree with Ole in many points I agree with him in this one, having a defence that can play from the back is a huge help if we want to be a possesion dominant team. We've seen how we struggle against high pressure since the Southamptons game.

Imagine having Smalling and AWB starting against high pressure teams, it would make impossible for us to play from the back.