Chris Smalling - does he start at any other top 6 team?

dbryan

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I think Smalling is a good defender. Will we win the League and Champions League with him starting say 40 games a season...probably not. Could he be the 3rd Center defender for a season behind two players better than him... absolutely.

My point is. He can be similar to Evans in 09 though to 2013. Playing along side better players (Rio, Vidic). I like Smalling, think he gets a bit of a bad rap to be honest. Scored some big goals as well for us.

Also and this is quite important. I think he would be happy to sit on the bench and play between 25 to 30 games a season which I think a lot of people seem to forget about having a squad of players.

You need players that are not going to kick off because they are not playing every game but who can still come in and do a job and I think Smalling is one of those players.
 

RooneyLegend

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Most of those are significantly better than Smalling.
Barca's best chance apart from the goal, was that Coutinho effort which de Gea did well to save with his legs.
The reason Barca had that attack was because they got a throw in in the middle of the field.
That throw in came after Smalling, under minimal pressure, couldn't see Fred for a simple pass and in stead just hoofed it out of play.

A trivial thing for most, but we really do struggle holding on to the ball, and the play from the back is poor. We give up so many extra attacks, so many extra needless chances because Smalling and co cannot pass under any pressure.

Top teams just don't accept those kinds of defenders anymore, Arsenal's defence is shocking but the other 4 wouldn't tolerate him.
Crazy talk, those defenders aren't in his class.
 

MikeKing

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It’s not really overrating Lovren to say that he’s reached a higher level than Smalling. If Smalling’s consistency level over the past four years were anything like you suggest he wouldn’t have been constantly rotated with United’s other mediocre CBs (and even sometimes a non defender like Blind and complete chumps like McNair and Blackett) by multiple managers.

Have I walked into an alternate reality here or do people genuinely think Chris Smalling is anything more than an okay Premier League defender?
I'm going to take a wild guess going by your username that you are a big Rojo fan. Am I correct to assume that?
 

Mcking

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Barca's best chance apart from the goal, was that Coutinho effort which de Gea did well to save with his legs.
The reason Barca had that attack was because they got a throw in in the middle of the field.
That throw in came after Smalling, under minimal pressure, couldn't see Fred for a simple pass and in stead just hoofed it out of play.

A trivial thing for most, but we really do struggle holding on to the ball, and the play from the back is poor. We give up so many extra attacks, so many extra needless chances because Smalling and co cannot pass under any pressure.

Top teams just don't accept those kinds of defenders anymore, Arsenal's defence is shocking but the other 4 wouldn't tolerate him.
In the first half? Maybe because Lindelof pulled off an excellent through ball to put Suarez through on goal?
 

MikeKing

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In the first half? Maybe because Lindelof pulled off an excellent through ball to put Suarez through on goal?
That is also true. But he does have a point to be completely fair. It wasn't a very good play, it was okey considering the match but that's about it. If that is something that happens a lot then of course it's a big problem. However, I don't see that happening a lot with Chris as he mostly finds the easy pass in similar situations and he probably would have done it here too if it weren't for the intense big occasion against Barca. Despite popular belief it is not often Smalling does that type of play, and if he does it usually doesn't lead to chances or something, it often means we get an opportunity to reorganise which in most cases is a good play.
 

RochaRoja

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I'm going to take a wild guess going by your username that you are a big Rojo fan. Am I correct to assume that?
God no, he’s terrible.

The only meaning behind my username is that this place is called RedCafé.
 

Scroto Baggins

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The only thing in question is his passing and his play with the ball at his feet. His defending is not the problem, occasionally he can be caught out, but that is the same with any CB anywhere.
 

Escobar

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He can be a good defender but he just shouldn't be a starter. His distribution is so poor, we suffer when he has the ball
 

Ekeke

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Great defender, mediocre passer. Needs to play twice as well as most players to get any credit due to a lack of flair and the idea posters have that "I could do what he does!" without actually understanding defending and knowing what he does.
 

11101

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Smalling compared to our other top rivals most played CB's Last season and this..

Top table is this season

Bottom table is last season

He's performing to a very high level, He's arguably our most consistent performing center back until Lindelof's recent upturn in performances.


Do you have that table with Lindelof, Jones and Bailly in too?

Already some interesting figures there.
 

wolvored

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I think var will be giving a lot of pens to the opposition next year when smalling plays. The holding and grabbing he does is excessive. If we can get a top cb in lindelof should be no 1 to partner him.
 

Keefy18

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Do you have that table with Lindelof, Jones and Bailly in too?

Already some interesting figures there.
Updated with our 4 main CB's included, basically proves what I've always believed. That Big Mike Smalling is our best performing CB since LVG's first season here.

Personally think he's a very solid CB, he's performing at a similar level to many of the leagues other best CB's that our own supporters rave about like VVD.

All stats taken from Sofascore who use Opta.

 

Maticmaker

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"Awkwardness" is how I would sum up Chris Smalling, he is an awkward player to play against, his ranging arms and legs get in the way and cause upset amongst opposition players. However Chris also looks awkward on the ball, seldom playing forward passes, as a first choice (although there has been some improvement lately) almost always looks to move it sideways; also looks awkward carrying the ball forward, nervous, almost getting a nose-bleed if he goes over the halfway line with it. His best performances IMO were with LvG, when some of the above were addressed. Hopefully Ole will focus on these developments. I'm sure we could find a better CB, but he wouldn't be in my top two CB's to be jettisoned.
 
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arthurka

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Reading some of these posts you might think we have another Prunier case on our hands.
But the thing is he is our best defender and has been for a good while now, he got his limitations but he is a very solid performer.
 

MadDogg

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It’s not really overrating Lovren to say that he’s reached a higher level than Smalling. If Smalling’s consistency level over the past four years were anything like you suggest he wouldn’t have been constantly rotated with United’s other mediocre CBs (and even sometimes a non defender like Blind and complete chumps like McNair and Blackett) by multiple managers.
Smalling's best season (15/16) is far better than anything Lovren has ever achieved. I don't know how that can even be debatable. Even the other seasons have had Smalling playing better, but if we're talking 'highest level' then it's not even close. Other than VVD and maybe the Spurs duo, I can't think of any defender in the league who has had a better season than Smalling did in 15/16. Maybe Luiz if we're counting three man defences, but he's a liability in a normal four man defence.

Smalling has generally only been behind other options when he's coming back from injury and the current combination has been doing well, or at the start of the season when the manager is trying out another combo that would give us better ball-playing ability. In both occasions he ends up quite quickly coming back into the first team and is our rock while we rotate our other options around him.
 

devips

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When actually we need players in positions like RW, MF , this whole debate around Smalling appears surreal.
 

Keefy18

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When actually we need players in positions like RW, MF , this whole debate around Smalling appears surreal.
It really is, our RW is a feckin shambles! No real competition at all for Shaw at LB and we could do with some real quality to compliment Pogba in CM.
 

Ekeke

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I think var will be giving a lot of pens to the opposition next year when smalling plays. The holding and grabbing he does is excessive. If we can get a top cb in lindelof should be no 1 to partner him.
So far he's 0/2 with 2 great performances out of 2 with VAR. So thats a bold prediction.
 

Ekeke

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When actually we need players in positions like RW, MF , this whole debate around Smalling appears surreal.
Smalling is the reason we have no right wing! He takes too long to pass the ball out to the side so Lingard and Mata don't like to play on the wing and end up in the middle! Its all Smalling's fault!
 

SiamDevil

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Smalling puts in 6/10 performances on a regular basis and manages to stay fit. That alone is enough for some fans to put him on a pedestal. Smallings ability with the ball at his feet severly limits our attacking play against defensive teams. He does put in outstanding performances in some matches. However, he is always a liability in defending with his shirt pulling and getting dragged out of defence. A key attribute for a defender should be consistency. The best Smalling played was under LVG and he had two DMs ahead of him. Ultimately, Smalling has only managed to stay at United for so long because he is English, his height, the rest of our defenders being injured and Woodwards incompetence.
What pedestal? Almost all I’ve seen is just them giving credit where it’s due, unlike most of his detractors who doesn’t seem to pay attention to his game most of the time and just assumes that he’s crap. Those on here who think that he’s great are actually very few. The sadder thing is that most United fans worldwide strongly believes that he’s one of the worst cb in the club’s history and that’s criminal even for you who simply thinks he’s decent.
 

john moran

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Underrated on here. If we had a better RB and CB to compliment him and Shaw we'd have a solid defence.
Would either he or Shaw get into any of the top 10 teams in Europe ? Most definitely not . Shaw is another who is very very overrated in this forum
 

11101

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Updated with our 4 main CB's included, basically proves what I've always believed. That Big Mike Smalling is our best performing CB since LVG's first season here.

Personally think he's a very solid CB, he's performing at a similar level to many of the leagues other best CB's that our own supporters rave about like VVD.

All stats taken from Sofascore who use Opta.

Pretty much what we know then. He's an excellent one v one defender and pretty good all round defender, but its impossible to build from the back with how little he is getting on the ball.

Also pretty incredible that nobody has taken Van Dijk on 1v1 and won all season, despite having more attempts against him than anyone.
 

Keefy18

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Pretty much what we know then. He's an excellent one v one defender and pretty good all round defender, but its impossible to build from the back with how little he is getting on the ball.

Also pretty incredible that nobody has taken Van Dijk on 1v1 and won all season, despite having more attempts against him than anyone.
I think most of the duels won include aerial battles, pretty certain of it. Smalling is superb in the air and good at attacking that first ball that comes in.

His passing is pretty feckin woeful as many others have said, but if you can get a good passer in beside him it isn't the biggest issue. I'm more than happy for him to stay for another year or maybe 2 until we can find a genuine all round better CB than him with some long term prospect as well.
 

11101

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I think most of the duels won include aerial battles, pretty certain of it. Smalling is superb in the air and good at attacking that first ball that comes in.

His passing is pretty feckin woeful as many others have said, but if you can get a good passer in beside him it isn't the biggest issue. I'm more than happy for him to stay for another year or maybe 2 until we can find a genuine all round better CB than him with some long term prospect as well.
I disagree on the bit about passing. The different to the others is stark. We can't expect to play good football if we're effectively avoiding our defenders when we have the ball. We know Lindelof is completely comfortable on the ball but its not making much difference, we're still playing around them.

I'm happy with him staying here but it cant be as a starting player if we want to win the league again.
 

Virror

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Smalling is very good when it comes to physical defending by himself. But even though he is the oldest and most experienced he seems incapable to lead and work well in a defensive unit.

The biggest problem with his passes is that they are very telegraphed so it is quite easy for the opposing team to move over and take away the space for the player who gets the pass, plus his passes are often under or overhit so the player can’t keep the momentum and speed up, and instead we slow down and pass the ball back to Smalling.
 

Beachryan

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Smalling is very good when it comes to physical defending by himself. But even though he is the oldest and most experienced he seems incapable to lead and work well in a defensive unit.

The biggest problem with his passes is that they are very telegraphed so it is quite easy for the opposing team to move over and take away the space for the player who gets the pass, plus his passes are often under or overhit so the player can’t keep the momentum and speed up, and instead we slow down and pass the ball back to Smalling.
Basically this. If you measure defending as purely on duels he looks fine. But that's not all it's about. It's about conceding unnecessary freekicks, corners and throw-ins. It's about taking a step forward when under pressure, leaving the opposition down a man, playing it into midfield and enabling us to counter. It's about being an actual option for De Gea to pass to where a result isn't necessarily losing the ball. It's about knowing how to organise a back line, being vocal and leading.

If Smalling is our senior defender than we're just not going to be competing at the very top. It's that simple. Same as having Lukaku as our lead central forward.
 

SteveW

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I think var will be giving a lot of pens to the opposition next year when smalling plays. The holding and grabbing he does is excessive. If we can get a top cb in lindelof should be no 1 to partner him.
Did you ever consider that if he gets penalised for pulling he might actually just stop doing it?

Some people seem to just assume he would keep doing it all season and give away 15 penalties. I pity anyone who's dumb enough to think that to be honest.
 

SteveW

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Basically this. If you measure defending as purely on duels he looks fine. But that's not all it's about. It's about conceding unnecessary freekicks, corners and throw-ins. It's about taking a step forward when under pressure, leaving the opposition down a man, playing it into midfield and enabling us to counter. It's about being an actual option for De Gea to pass to where a result isn't necessarily losing the ball. It's about knowing how to organise a back line, being vocal and leading.

If Smalling is our senior defender than we're just not going to be competing at the very top. It's that simple. Same as having Lukaku as our lead central forward.
Vidic rarely did any of the on the ball stuff you list as necessary. Was I wrong in rating him so highly?
 

Keefy18

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Do folks really believe Smalling wouldn't get into a few of the other top sides?

He'd Definitely be a regular at Arsenal, probably alongside Mustafi.

Chelsea, maybe less games but he's not exactly in Luiz shadow by any means. Himself and Rudiger would be a decent pairing I reckon.

Spurs, he'd struggle behind Vertonghen and Alderwerield.

Liverpool, Lovren is absolute rubbish! Delusions of grandeur! Gomez is hit n miss and I reckon he'd be sharing the games with him.

City - Not likely, they don't really need CB's with their options at all.
 

Sandikan

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To answer the question - yes. He gets into Arsenal and Chelseas for me. And i'm not convinced he wouldn't get into Tottenhams - we'll judge that when we have Toby next season and start moaning about him!
He'd currently get into Liverpools too. He's better than Matip.
 

adexkola

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Do folks really believe Smalling wouldn't get into a few of the other top sides?

He'd Definitely be a regular at Arsenal, probably alongside Mustafi.

Chelsea, maybe less games but he's not exactly in Luiz shadow by any means. Himself and Rudiger would be a decent pairing I reckon.

Spurs, he'd struggle behind Vertonghen and Alderwerield.

Liverpool, Lovren is absolute rubbish! Delusions of grandeur! Gomez is hit n miss and I reckon he'd be sharing the games with him.

City - Not likely, they don't really need CB's with their options at all.
I know we like to clown on Luiz (deservedly so sometimes) but he is one of Chelsea's top playmakers. You may get less gaffes with Smalling in that team but you lose more in Sarri's system.

Gomez has been class this season for Liverpool too.
 

Keefy18

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To answer the question - yes. He gets into Arsenal and Chelseas for me. And i'm not convinced he wouldn't get into Tottenhams - we'll judge that when we have Toby next season and start moaning about him!
He'd currently get into Liverpools too. He's better than Matip.
Well this is it, when we look at it honestly and see whom plays for our rivals he isn't that far off their quality.

City and Spurs are arguably the only 2 teams he wouldn't get a look in.

Chelsea he'd share games I reckon, same at Liverpool and he'd play regular at Arsenal I reckon. They have chased him for a number of years reportedly too.