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Excellent from him. Fair play.
Surely our most underrated player. A few dodgy games but season before he was very good and even his doubters must recognize he is at very least a decent defender and leader at the back. One of the best in the air.
Yeah it's been bizarre, amazing how fickle some are. I'm also surprised people think he's been awful this season, he's not been as good as last year granted but he's been solid enough for the most part this season in my opinion.
Tonight he showed in terms of pure defending he's probably still the best we have.
This kind of game suits him. He will be exposed in matches where United play a high line against teams where they are expected to take the initiative and he gets less protection.
Played well tonight and is a solid enough defender usually but still a terrible footballer that needs upgrading if we want to win premier leagues or compete in Champions League next season. One game doesn't change that
Except that is the exact type of game he thrived under when Van Gaal was in charge...
In games like that, the opponent is forced to attack with pace on the counter. Smalling loves that. It's predictable and physical, and generally plays to his strengths.
I've kept saying it all season. He's not a ball playing CB, he has his weaknesses, he'll never be a Nesta or a Cannavaro. But he still is a very good defender and worthy of the shirt. He did very well tonight again. Pleased for him but mostly for the whole team.
Proved me wrong tonight, I thought we should've played Jones but excellent decision from Mourinho, he was faultless.
Smalldini is back!!
He did well tonight credit where it's due. Extremely well actually, never looked under threat at all. Going forward? I can't let one game dictate my decision and unfortunately we should still be looking for a replacement IMO. Above all the decision lies with Jose so we will see if he puts faith in him.
I'm 100% sure that Mourinho will keep him. He might not be the first name(or even CB) on the team sheet, but he's still a very good no-nonsense defender. At worst, he's an excellent squad player. At best, he's our best defender.
We don't need the money, so there's no reason to sell him.
Mike was back today.
Very good tonight! Well done Chris!
Except he really hasn't been.
Has he been brilliant this season? Of course not. But so many people on this forum massively over-exaggerate how 'poor' he's been. He had one terrible match against Chelsea (a match that he tried to play through a broken toe which then kept him out for over a month). Other than that, he's had a few games where he's made some mistakes, but nothing major in the sense that it's been worse than our other defenders. There have been many many matches this season where he's been better than his partner, and I've come on here and found many shit-talking him while saying how good his partner was.
Put it this way. He's been as good this season, if not better, than Jones. And this is Smalling under-performing by his standards, against Jones having probably his best season in years. I have no idea how people are rating Jones ahead of him.
Definitely agree with that, if one is leaving it should be and i think it will be Phil.
He was excellent tonight. Great to see him back in form.
Well done and sorry Mike, solid performance.
Good solid defensive performance. I think this is where we see him at his best, when its a tactic that suits him.
I do obviously worry when the games a bit more open or were on the front foot because he sees more of the ball at his feet and has more time. But for a 16 yard box defender, hes really good. He gets the assist too right?
Yeah I reckon so. He was very good tonight.
Agree wholeheartedly with these two posts.
Assist, rock solid performance and not even among the candidates for MOTM on the CAF.
@Jaybomb hiding under his rock.
Yup when you just hoof the ball back aimlessly. No doubt though that he can defend well but if Lindelof comes it will be a big upgrade in terms of footballing ability.
It's when he was asked to man mark like today against Dolberg & not focus in organizing the defense & strictly stays discipline guarding his zone & smartly taking initial, he's better. Smalling has no problem playing high line if he is not put in unfavored tactic.
Issue with Smalling is that since he can't fill out his game, he can't meet the expectation of cementing a starting line up for good since we would expect to up our standard in future. As squad player Smalling is more than good enough. Another problem is it's how Mourinho may personally interpret that Smalling doesn't have the mentality to step in while being unfit to help the team in desperate time (that's the rumor), that's another story.
Fair play to him tonight. He didn't let us down.
Still not a fan and think he should be sold though.
Thought he was really impressive last night, did he even get beat in the air once? Was definitely key in Jose's tactics.
No. IIRC he won 5/5 aerial duels.
I like him, but tbf he has not been good this season compared to Rojo. I honestly thought he was going to be the next Rio, but he hasn't taken that step yet
And Rojo was a piece of dogshit for the two years before that compared to Smalling?
Played very well tonight but like someone said, one swallow dosent make a summer. We should ideally get a more accomplished CB to pay with baily as first choice next season. Smaling is a more than decent back up though
Yes he was, no one is denying that. The way Rojo has turned it around though is just insane, going from the worst to one of our best CB's in the space of one season.
Smalling has never had those kinds of highs and lows (he has, but not to such an extreme extent). The thing about Smalling though is that he looked like a potential world beater in his youth, but has not had the development we hoped for. Hes a solid enough defender, but he really needs to work on his general footballing skills to develop further.
Who knows? Maybe Smalling will have his renaissance next season and turn into the player we all hoped he could become
Not a fan but he did well last night.
He was being played as a LB because of LVG's philosophy. He's better than Smalling, simple as that. Smalling has been here for 8yrs and still can't play football.
Him and Blind always seem to have a good partnership, in spite of the suggestion they don't even speak to each other during the game.
Both him and Blind didn't put a foot wrong last night. You definitely keep Smalling over Jones if that's the decision to be made in the post-season.
Mourinho has played him almost every time he's been available to play, even breaking up partnerships to accommodate him into the squad.
He clearly rates him highly, and I don't think he'll be sold either.
With Rojo's injury I'm not sure either of Jones or Smalling will be sold, and I think we'll only buy a defender if they're either experienced or have a high ceiling like Bailly. (i'm not entirely convinced about Lindelof, but Jose knows more than me)
Our defence is the least of our problems, lets sort out midfield and attack first.
I won't lie, of all the players yesterday, I thought he had the most chance of fecking up and costing us. Glad to have been wrong, he played really well and even got an assist. Still don't think he's good enough to start but as a backup CB i think he's fine.
Is it even necessary to come to that decision? Because afaic all our central defenders have given us reasons, over the course of the season, to persist with them. Our resources need to focus on how to make our attack work, even if we sign a leftback it should be one that improves our attack. In defense I think its a matter of combinations i.e Bailly with Rojo and Smalling with Blind with Jones floating to cover injuries until he can prove his fitness and more growth as a player.
I will have to eat my words today! Thought we should have went with Jones alongside Blind. Very early on he went very aggressive in the air and on the ground and that set the tone really. I think Dolberg crapped himself when Smalling leaped like a salmon early on and headed the ball half way up the pitch
He was excellent last night. He does have it in him, the start of last season tells you that. It's just that he's on of the those players who needs to be especially up for it mentally and feeling confident.
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