DEFENSIVELY are we weak?

Icemav

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We seem to have good individual defenders, and its great to have Bailly back and balling especially with his last ditch blocks, but there is certainly a sense we can get opened up quite easily. In my opinion we are very vulnerable on the flanks to overlapping runs, which should be relatively simple to defend. Anyway we are gunslinging and winning and I guess we need something to complain about. My feeling though is teams get it quite easy against us in certain areas of the pitch making their magic triangles and 1-2s look extra special. Or maybe I am just seeing things....
 

MyOnlySolskjaer

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There's some recurring issues we seem to see.

Back post crosses to Wan-Bissaka's side always seem to be a threat. Defending cut backs is a bit of a flaw as well - noticed this more ever since Reguillon was having joy against us in the Europa League Semi and also defending set-pieces has been a bit poor from us.
 

cyril C

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On set piece defence we are horrible. Count 1 aspects. The way that we lost in Istanbul, and the goals to Leizip and Seville, revealed another aspect of deficiency. The reason that we fail to park a bus in any remaining 10 min, is a 3rd aspect, but I guess this is more of a team thing than individual fault
 

United58

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While I'd rather be more open at the back and more offensive at the front than more conservative in both cases, we are prone to defensive mishaps. Keep Bailly fit somehow (through some divine miracle) and watch that change. AWB and Shaw are great defensively, and Fred/McTominay/Matic are all good at the back.
 

DRJosh

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Our positional awareness at the back is shocking primarily due to a lack of proper leadership - an aspect that unravels particularly during set-pieces. Maguire isn't captain material. We need someone commanding at the back who has an influential on-field presence.
 

championo

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I see two main issues and not sure what the coaches can do about it. First is DDG and comms with this defenders for crosses and set pieces, it just look like chaos every time. Go watch Rio/Vidic/VDS era or even Big Pete/Stam.
Second point is that our fullbacks love to drift too inward unnecessary leaving their areas completely unaccounted for. Shaw does it, AWB does it as well.
 

United58

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Our positional awareness at the back is shocking primarily due to a lack of proper leadership - an aspect that unravels particularly during set-pieces. Maguire isn't captain material. We need someone commanding at the back who has an influential on-field presence.
For me, Maguire's heading weakness is his offensive headers at corners etc.; he's actually more than adept at getting the ball away, just not at directing it at goal. Combined with the weak in the air Baily, however, having larger players in midfield like McTominay/Matic/Pogba helps a lt (though Pogba can leave a lot wanting). We'll see how the coaching situation develops, or how our signings go (Upamecano??)
 

Tallis

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It’s a little bit of a complex question. We are not terrible defensively but we are not a team that dominates possession. In fact - generally we have less possession whenever we play good teams and invite their attacks. That means we have to defend more than other teams and that raises the possibility of us making a mistake.

If we continue playing in this way, I think what that means is that we need to have more depth in our defense because our defenders have to work harder. AWB is awesome defensively but gets tired so needs a rest.
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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Maguire & Lindelof just don’t match together. If we have a more consistent and injury free Bailly type of player, our defense will be much better. Bissaka also needs to stop marking the wrong player when crossing coming in from our left, very often I see him marking Lindelof’s man not his own man which you have to question why Lindelof is not telling Bissaka to feck off watch your man this one is mine.
 

Popcorn

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I see two main issues and not sure what the coaches can do about it. First is DDG and comms with this defenders for crosses and set pieces, it just look like chaos every time. Go watch Rio/Vidic/VDS era or even Big Pete/Stam.
Second point is that our fullbacks love to drift too inward unnecessary leaving their areas completely unaccounted for. Shaw does it, AWB does it as well.
I would second this. Having a goalkeeper that comes and claims a cross can not only give the defence confidence, but can also relieve the pressure in the dying minutes of a game much more effectively than heading it back out of our box.
 

Johnson Yip

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I wouldn't simply say we're weak - but we're soft and we have a major flaw in the defence which is found out, with teams continuing to exploit. We have to fix it asap.
 

DRJosh

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I see two main issues and not sure what the coaches can do about it. First is DDG and comms with this defenders for crosses and set pieces, it just look like chaos every time. Go watch Rio/Vidic/VDS era or even Big Pete/Stam.
Second point is that our fullbacks love to drift too inward unnecessary leaving their areas completely unaccounted for. Shaw does it, AWB does it as well.
AWB has an unexplainable aversion to crossing and often decides to tuck inwards leaving the right channel exposed. When he does cross, as evidenced with that Martial goal against Villa, more opportunities are created. His expected assist (xG) stands at 0.53 according to Infogol. It could be a lot higher.
 

Isotope

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Both of our main FBs are not very bright when defending. Both are good tacklers but poor positioning wise.

Also our supposedly "DMs" are also so poor positioning wise.

Overall, like that poster above said, we're so fecking soft and back off so much when defending, instead of just freaking nut them. That's why Bailly is such a breath of fresh air with his front foot defending.
 
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championo

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Andriy Lunin or Gianluigi Donnarumma will change how you feel about the defense. Future goal keeping stars. Milan will never sell Gianluigi Donnarumma though but need someone commanding.
 
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Himannv

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In my opinion we are very vulnerable on the flanks to overlapping runs, which should be relatively simple to defend.
The fullback needs help in those sort of situations. If we're playing a diamond, or midfield 3 then it is the side midfielder's responsibility. If it is 4-2-3-1, then the responsibility should fall on the winger or one of the CMs.

One problem is that our wingers are actually inverted forwards and there's a limit to the amount of tracking back they'll do, especially since they are also asked to press from the front. The other problem is that our CMs also have other responsibilities like offering cover to the back line in more central areas or helping out the attack. Someone will drop back and help out generally, but it doesn't always happen. What we need to do is realize that the opposition are doing that as early in the game as possible and adjust accordingly.
 

HowieC

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The fullback needs help in those sort of situations. If we're playing a diamond, or midfield 3 then it is the side midfielder's responsibility. If it is 4-2-3-1, then the responsibility should fall on the winger or one of the CMs.

One problem is that our wingers are actually inverted forwards and there's a limit to the amount of tracking back they'll do, especially since they are also asked to press from the front. The other problem is that our CMs also have other responsibilities like offering cover to the back line in more central areas or helping out the attack. Someone will drop back and help out generally, but it doesn't always happen. What we need to do is realize that the opposition are doing that as early in the game as possible and adjust accordingly.
I think our defence is often unfairly slated. Our wingers are neither pressing enough from the front, nor coming back to prevent the overlap.
 

Icemav

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I think our defence is often unfairly slated. Our wingers are neither pressing enough from the front, nor coming back to prevent the overlap.
I think that is a good observation. Our wingers and mids seem very reluctant or naïve to prevent the overlap. So more of a team defensive problem.
 

Himannv

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I think our defence is often unfairly slated. Our wingers are neither pressing enough from the front, nor coming back to prevent the overlap.
I think it's not that the front 4 do not press, it is more that they do not press effectively enough. I mean, Rashford, Bruno, Matrial, and Greenwood will all try to cover a man in the general zonal position afforded to them in a 4-2-3-1 but it's better for them to press more tactically to push the ball out to a player who isn't comfortable on the ball and then attack more. RBL (of previous seasons since I haven't watched them much this season), for example, force the ball out to the opposition fullbacks and then cut off all avenues of a pass and press with more intensity at that point with a goal of winning the ball back. In short, there is more purpose and a clear tactic behind what they do there. Our front line will press but we have no real cohesive game plan apart from attack the ball carrier and hold positions to press zonally.

I think it's understandable that they do not drop back to help defend overlapping fullbacks. They are inverted forwards after all and are simply better suited to playing further up the pitch. I think they do drop deep at times to help out - but not consistently enough to make me think there is a tactical instruction involved for them to do so in all defensive phases - only ones where we are sitting deeper and positioned behind the ball.

At the end of the day, this is not something the players have to solve - it is in the hands of the manager and the coaching staff and what they want our players to do. From what I can see, the players are playing to instructions for most part with a few lapses here and there when caught out of position.