Our Defence - Has it actually been fixed?

Paxi

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There are lots of examples where a truly great centre back can carry a decent one beside him and bring the defence up another level -Liverpool are the obvious example, Chelsea a few years ago, and I rated Ronny Johnson a lot but Stam was world class. I think Maguire (or Lindelof) would benefit from a world class center back alongside them.
Hopefully either of them goes up a level but ideally you want two top class defenders. Think of Rio Vida Terry Carvalho etc.
 

MattofManchester

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No.
Our attack has been bailing us out since the start of the season.

No organization or leadership at the back.

We couldn't even be resilient for a mere 5 minutes after scoring ffs.
 

cyril C

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No.
Our attack has been bailing us out since the start of the season.

No organization or leadership at the back.

We couldn't even be resilient for a mere 5 minutes after scoring ffs.
As a matter of fact, Evans demonstrated how to lead at the back. But then, he failed to show any bit of leadership when he had the opportunity.
 

always_hoping

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The amount of goals given away from either basic errors or unable to cut out simple crosses is extremely frustrating.

Let's not forget Klopp won no trophies at Liverpool until he sorted out his defence with good signings.
 

Leroy The Red

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It’s getting to the point where our defence are basically actively sabotaging our attempts to win games. And someone seriously needs to fecking tell them to sort it out.
It’s the same shit over and over again. Set pieces and balls into the box.
Our defenders have the anticipation levels of sloths. They always seem genuinely shocked and baffled that the ball gets put into our box.
Harry Maguire basically hasn’t successfully intercepted a ground ball once this season either, he doesn’t even bother trying half of the time.
He’s captain, he needs to guide that defence so much better than he does.
And if it’s not them it’s our dodgy goalkeepers.
 

NJM78

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Only four teams have conceded more league goals than us. Our defence is shite and Maguire is biggest culprit for me, shocking player and Captain.
 

BluesJr

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Only four teams have conceded more league goals than us. Our defence is shite and Maguire is biggest culprit for me, shocking player and Captain.
He’s not shocking but I think he does lack the aggressiveness required. Far too passive in attitude in particular.
 

M Bison

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Only four teams have conceded more league goals than us. Our defence is shite and Maguire is biggest culprit for me, shocking player and Captain.
I was critical of Maguire earlier this season but for me I think he’s starting to look the part. Appreciate the point about goals against this season but that is skewed a bit by the early fixtures.

Watching Chelsea, I don’t see them as having a better Cb pairing than ourselves. Liverpool and VVD aside, I don’t think there’s much across the league that is significantly better than what we have, even City look suspect defensively.
 

kopviolator

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I was critical of Maguire earlier this season but for me I think he’s starting to look the part. Appreciate the point about goals against this season but that is skewed a bit by the early fixtures.

Watching Chelsea, I don’t see them as having a better Cb pairing than ourselves. Liverpool and VVD aside, I don’t think there’s much across the league that is significantly better than what we have, even City look suspect defensively.
Yet, Chelsea have conceded 14 goals and City 12. City probably benefit by having Ederson in goal and Chelsea by having Kante holding, both outstanding players. I don't see anyone outstanding in our defense or around it. 23 goals in 14 games is an answer in itself to the question posed by the OP.
 

NJM78

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I was critical of Maguire earlier this season but for me I think he’s starting to look the part. Appreciate the point about goals against this season but that is skewed a bit by the early fixtures.

Watching Chelsea, I don’t see them as having a better Cb pairing than ourselves. Liverpool and VVD aside, I don’t think there’s much across the league that is significantly better than what we have, even City look suspect defensively.
I agree the league itself as a whole is not great defensively. But when you consider we have conceded only 13 less than the entire last season and have only played 14 games is very worrying. Personally I do not see anything in Maguire that impresses me more than Phil Jones, it's just, Harry is a machine and never injured. They both however seem to have the defensive IQ of 11 year olds. Just my opinion of course.

I would back City and Liverpool to score and win when needed though as opposed to us, we generally bottle every opportunity we have to stamp some kind of authority and its typically our defence that has the brain farts. I pray we sign a top CB as I can't see us winning any trophies this season.
 

Stacks

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It's both isn't it? Leaking cheap goals and missing huge chances is not going to win us any leagues.
true but currently we are one of the highest scorers and highest conceeded in the league. In the last few games we have scored a lot of goals
 

Andersons Dietician

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If you look at both goals today it was players from the midfield making the big mistake. First one even though yeah Bruno loses it in a stupid position McT has to close down Barnes. For whatever reason he did nothing.

Pogba, not for the first time let someone run off him and then there was an overload.

Do I think the defensive unit of Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw is good I’d have to say no. I feel you could easily replace either of Maguire or Lindelof and it would improve the other. On top of that the team just needs to defend better as a whole.
 

Roboc7

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No it’s clearly not been fixed, biggest difference is these defenders aren’t injured as much.
 

RedBanker

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Well I don't think the board will sanction funds to upgrade Maguire. He is an expensive mistake we have to live with. Lindelof, well, the less said the better.
 

Machine Elements

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Well I don't think the board will sanction funds to upgrade Maguire. He is an expensive mistake we have to live with. Lindelof, well, the less said the better.
The best thing for the club would be cutting our losses and selling them both. Then signing real ball playing defenders who will have no problem playing out from the back and with no real weaknesses.
 

M Bison

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I agree the league itself as a whole is not great defensively. But when you consider we have conceded only 13 less than the entire last season and have only played 14 games is very worrying. Personally I do not see anything in Maguire that impresses me more than Phil Jones, it's just, Harry is a machine and never injured. They both however seem to have the defensive IQ of 11 year olds. Just my opinion of course.

I would back City and Liverpool to score and win when needed though as opposed to us, we generally bottle every opportunity we have to stamp some kind of authority and its typically our defence that has the brain farts. I pray we sign a top CB as I can't see us winning any trophies this season.
I can’t think of our defence being particularly culpable for goals recently though (although I’m getting old and my memory isn’t what it was so pleased correct me :)), particularly today, neither were cock up’s from defence?

I know the defence have had issues and made mistakes but that felt like earlier in the season, today it was at the other end of the field imo.
 

A-man

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The best thing for the club would be cutting our losses and selling them both. Then signing real ball playing defenders who will have no problem playing out from the back and with no real weaknesses.
Out of curiosity, could you name any such defenders? Better with the ball than Lindelof/Maguire and with no real weaknesses. Name a few please and who 2 do you want us to buy?
 

M Bison

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Out of curiosity, could you name any such defenders? Better with the ball than Lindelof/Maguire and with no real weaknesses. Name a few please and who 2 do you want us to buy?
Id also like to know the answer to this question, particularly having just watched a poor Arsenal side thump Chelsea, I’d take our CB pairing over any of both of those sides.
 

Leroy The Red

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I was critical of Maguire earlier this season but for me I think he’s starting to look the part. Appreciate the point about goals against this season but that is skewed a bit by the early fixtures.

Watching Chelsea, I don’t see them as having a better Cb pairing than ourselves. Liverpool and VVD aside, I don’t think there’s much across the league that is significantly better than what we have, even City look suspect defensively.
No offence but all of this is kind of wrong.
Firstly, skewed by early fixtures? We’ve literally conceded six goals in our last three league games and the one game we kept a clean sheet in we were too afraid to leave our half.

Chelsea and Man City’s defences are much better than ours. Chelsea have SEVEN clean sheets this season and Man City have EIGHT. We have three......
All things considered we actually have one of the worse defences in the league. Based on things like clean sheets and goals conceded. When you consider it cost in excess of 200 million to put together.
We also let in nine goals in the Cl.
What makes it more ridiculous is that we have predominantly defensive full backs and regularly start with two defensive midfield players.
I think it takes an impressive amount of mental gymnastics to believe our defence has been anything other than pathetic this season.
I think it’s at the point where the likes of Bruno, Rashford, Cavani, etc need to have some of intervention and be like “what the feck are you idiots doing back there?”
 

sincher

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Why dont we expect our CBs to be sharp? Agree about the first goal but the 2nd could have been defended better
Not picking up that movement is not some big structural failing, it is something that happens with all defenders.

Like some above, I think Maguire is playing well. He isn't absolutely top class and fair enough to those who want more, but he is still overall the best CB we have had for a while. Lindelof similarly has been playing well but is not top drawer.
 

Lentwood

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Bailly was at fault for the first goal today. Had to get out to Barnes much quicker - his only option was to shoot and Bailly gave him far too much to aim at. The risk of Bailly “rushing” the ball was low as Barnes had no forward pass on and there was plenty of defensive cover.

The second goal is a tough one as its a good cross, a good piece of movement by Vardy and a bit of luck with the deflection. That being said, if I’m the coach analysing that goal I would probably have been on McTominay to be more aware and to cut out anything pulled back towards the penalty spot.

Once again, despite Maguire not even being anything to do with either goal, half the forum have decided its all his fault
 

VivaRonaldo85

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Stripping it back to the most basic of analysis, goals conceded this season at this stage is very poor. Goals scored is very good. Therefore, the defence is the clear issue for me.

Defending as a team unit is one thing that must be improved but also a better central defender to lead and dominate partnering Maguire would be massive for this team. We thought that’s what Maguire would be but he isn’t and we’re stuck with him for the forseeable future.

Lindelof, Tuanzebe & Bailly acceptable cover when not injured.
 

M Bison

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No offence but all of this is kind of wrong.
Firstly, skewed by early fixtures? We’ve literally conceded six goals in our last three league games and the one game we kept a clean sheet in we were too afraid to leave our half.

Chelsea and Man City’s defences are much better than ours. Chelsea have SEVEN clean sheets this season and Man City have EIGHT. We have three......
All things considered we actually have one of the worse defences in the league. Based on things like clean sheets and goals conceded. When you consider it cost in excess of 200 million to put together.
We also let in nine goals in the Cl.
What makes it more ridiculous is that we have predominantly defensive full backs and regularly start with two defensive midfield players.
I think it takes an impressive amount of mental gymnastics to believe our defence has been anything other than pathetic this season.
I think it’s at the point where the likes of Bruno, Rashford, Cavani, etc need to have some of intervention and be like “what the feck are you idiots doing back there?”
Ha ha, I do see where you’re coming from and it’s difficult to disagree with anything you’ve said as the numbers don’t lie, but it just feels as though it’s improving after a shocking start to the season. I don’t look at any other defence currently and think it’s considerably better than our own, although as you rightly point out the stats say to the contrary.

I believe (based on absolutely nothing) that there’s another gear in our defence and it’s in better shape than earlier in the season.

That’s my outlook anyway, however blinkered it may seem :wenger:
 

Adnan

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I do think the defense needs a upgrade by way of signing a player with very particular attributes. And I also think the fullback area is also a weakness as far as supporting the attack is concerned.

But the defense wouldn't look anywhere near as bad if we could look after the ball better. Our double pivot of McTominay and Fred in tandem aren't good enough to do that hence we have to cede possession against teams with good technical players. If we bring in a player in the double pivot who is strong defensively and is also good on the ball, then I believe we'd concede less by virtue of controlling the game better.
 

A-man

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No offence but all of this is kind of wrong.
Firstly, skewed by early fixtures? We’ve literally conceded six goals in our last three league games and the one game we kept a clean sheet in we were too afraid to leave our half.

Chelsea and Man City’s defences are much better than ours. Chelsea have SEVEN clean sheets this season and Man City have EIGHT. We have three......
All things considered we actually have one of the worse defences in the league. Based on things like clean sheets and goals conceded. When you consider it cost in excess of 200 million to put together.
We also let in nine goals in the Cl.
What makes it more ridiculous is that we have predominantly defensive full backs and regularly start with two defensive midfield players.
I think it takes an impressive amount of mental gymnastics to believe our defence has been anything other than pathetic this season.
I think it’s at the point where the likes of Bruno, Rashford, Cavani, etc need to have some of intervention and be like “what the feck are you idiots doing back there?”
Its probably a good comfort for Chelsea and City when they look up and see us higher up in the table.
Anyway, it seems like we have conceded an awful lot of goals in from corners. Someone said 9/21 before. That’s when the whole team defend the goal. So it’s not likely they are doing the blame game you suggest, as the problem is when they are part of the defence.
 

wolvored

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There is definitely something lacking with our defenders defensively and offensively. When you look at the defences we had in the past they were usually competent both ends. This isnt this season either, we have been poor for a while now. Maguire seems to have gone down a couple of notches since he came here. Bissaka has got worse as well. Shaw has never looked as good as he did at Southampton either. I never saw Lindelof outside Utd, but he hasnt improved one jot since he came here. Tuanzebe, the great hope, is now 23, is always injured and still no nearer a starter. Bailly, our best defender, cant stay fit either. As for Rojo and Jones, they should never have been offered their last contracts. Williams cant get a game now and Telles looked good first game, and ordinary since.
What goes wrong? Surely it must be a coaching issue as they cant all turn to shit collectively?
 

redshaw

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We need a better partner for Maguire, and AWB has been a target for other teams to exploit all season. We'll need another right back.

As a team we need to be better in our own half and also stop giving silly fouls away when players have nowhere to go. Mistakes happen and we should be able to defend when things go wrong of course

It might be the characteristics of our defenders are not suited to progressing though. Sitting back, a slow but good tall defender like Maguire and a great tackling AWB can be a huge plus point but have big flaws with a bit more space inbetween.

Not sure what's going on with Williams, he had a good season last year and did very well in a vital 2-0 win away to Leicester on the last day but this was at left back mostly in place of Shaw and never gets a chance at right back and now often in the news as going out on loan.

In the short term we have to address some of the things other managers and players are openly targeting this season and try to minimize the damage. If we can stop just a few more goals in 10 games it will help our league position out a lot. The positioning of AWB and Maguire, getting drawn out and bypassed has been a common theme this season.
 
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Mickson

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There is definitely something lacking with our defenders defensively and offensively. When you look at the defences we had in the past they were usually competent both ends. This isnt this season either, we have been poor for a while now. Maguire seems to have gone down a couple of notches since he came here. Bissaka has got worse as well. Shaw has never looked as good as he did at Southampton either. I never saw Lindelof outside Utd, but he hasnt improved one jot since he came here. Tuanzebe, the great hope, is now 23, is always injured and still no nearer a starter. Bailly, our best defender, cant stay fit either. As for Rojo and Jones, they should never have been offered their last contracts. Williams cant get a game now and Telles looked good first game, and ordinary since.
What goes wrong? Surely it must be a coaching issue as they cant all turn to shit collectively?
Of course it's a coaching issue. I talked to a friend who is an analyzer. He says United isn't even doing the basics right at the back. AWB in particular did he highlight.
 

Andersons Dietician

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Bailly was at fault for the first goal today. Had to get out to Barnes much quicker - his only option was to shoot and Bailly gave him far too much to aim at. The risk of Bailly “rushing” the ball was low as Barnes had no forward pass on and there was plenty of defensive cover.

The second goal is a tough one as its a good cross, a good piece of movement by Vardy and a bit of luck with the deflection. That being said, if I’m the coach analysing that goal I would probably have been on McTominay to be more aware and to cut out anything pulled back towards the penalty spot.

Once again, despite Maguire not even being anything to do with either goal, half the forum have decided its all his fault
McT is standing right next to Barnes and let’s him come across and gives him all the space in the world to shoot. If anyone should be preventing that goal it’s McT
 

Maticmaker

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No defence (back four or back three) can operate successfully, when midfield and front players continuously lose the ball in the wrong areas. We have seen time again when our defensive set-up gets really stretched is when a quick turn-over to the opposition happens. Pogba and Fred are the two most often midfield culprits and Rashford and Martial up front, at times head down they run up blind alleys and lose the ball, allowing the opposition a quick turnover. Bruno, McTominay and Greenwood are not exempt from this criticism either. In fairness those guilty of such play do try to recover the situation, but there is no obvious linkup with the back four, there is no 'fall back / break out containment' procedure, at least none apparent and in the end players trying to recover the position, simply by chasing the player they lost the ball to and often make it worse by creating defensive overlaps in the wrong places, allowing attackers free space elsewhere.

Yes, I agree we could do with a different option at CB, Maguire and Lindelof are too similar in style, but that wont stop gaps appearing in front of them due to the above, only when Matic plays do you sense any real chance of recovery, but he is getting long in the tooth and if he needs to be 'at it ' from the first whistle he will not last a full match. We now have four decent full backs two able to defend AWB/Williams, effectively, two who carry a threat going forward Shaw /Telles and Tuanzebe and Bailly are coming into the reckoning again. Obviously our midfield and forward players need to take risks and they will lose the ball, at times in the 'wrong place', but there needs to be a fall back, containment plan, starts in the oppositions third, overlaps in the mid third and bolsters the final third in front of our goal. As with the military situation ability to retreat 'in formation'/'in order' is not giving up, many retreats have been the basis on which victories are won. This does not mean 'parking the bus' in football terms, but rather responding with on-field management and tactics determined for given situations. 'Dead ball' situations at corners and free kicks is practiced why not some classic cases of recovering turn over/lost ball situations as well?
 

Hammondo

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I do think the defense needs a upgrade by way of signing a player with very particular attributes. And I also think the fullback area is also a weakness as far as supporting the attack is concerned.

But the defense wouldn't look anywhere near as bad if we could look after the ball better. Our double pivot of McTominay and Fred in tandem aren't good enough to do that hence we have to cede possession against teams with good technical players. If we bring in a player in the double pivot who is strong defensively and is also good on the ball, then I believe we'd concede less by virtue of controlling the game better.
We can't play attacking fullbacks with 3 forwards that don't help defensively.

Also our forwards are the ones losing the ball all the time, every time our midfield passes it out our opposition get it back very quickly.

Martial had a pass completion of 50 percent, add the fact that he lost it when he didn't pass would mean the majority of the time, if you pass to martial we lost it before it got to the next player. James lost it more often, and rashford didn't do well either.
 

Adnan

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We can't play attacking fullbacks with 3 forwards that don't help defensively.

Also our forwards are the ones losing the ball all the time, every time our midfield passes it out our opposition get it back very quickly.

Martial had a pass completion of 50 percent, add the fact that he lost it when he didn't pass would mean the majority of the time, if you pass to martial we lost it before it got to the next player. James lost it more often, and rashford didn't do well either.
Our forwards don't help defensively because we have been defending with 6 and attacking with 4 or defending with 7 and attacking with 3. So the conditions have been created for the forwards not to track runners due to the approach in many games.

Our forwards would have a higher pass completion if we pushed more players forward in transition. But Ole doesn't push enough players forward in the build up, probably due to him not trusting the double pivot and CBs in a high risk approach. Hence it's reported he's looking for very specific players in the transfer market which will help him bridge the gap and provide defensive balance in his favoured way of playing.
 

lex talionis

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Of course it's a coaching issue. I talked to a friend who is an analyzer. He says United isn't even doing the basics right at the back. AWB in particular did he highlight.
I’m intrigued. Could you ask your friend to expand on the basics our defenders aren’t getting right?

Let’s forget about the first 5-6 matches of the season, when the squad just wasn’t physically or mentally ready, which is a point of concern itself but now behind us. We’re conceding a lot of goals from balls sent in from wide positions, whether corner kicks or the equalizer last weekend. On corner kicks, we’re struggling with zonal marking in particular. Whether the ball comes in high or low, opposing forwards have to like their chances against us sending balls in from wide positions. Clean that up, it seems to me, and we’re a much stronger back line.
 

M Bison

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Still not “fixed” in my view, but looking much improved with every match. Maguire and Shaw in particular are looking very solid, as is AWB and Bailly’s pace and aggression is a great addition. The continuity of our back line is also a big part of that, never helps chopping and changing consistently as we have done in recent years.

Still concerned about our ability to defend set pieces, although Burnley seemed to target that and we managed the threat with relative ease.
 

Polar

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Bailly has improved our defence a lot. Bailly and AWB on the right side is probably the best defensive combo in the league.

Our defence has become more aggressive. Today I see warriors inside our box. We still have to work a little bit more when it comes to winning the second ball around our own box; prevent shooting.
 

Hughie77

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Bailly stays fit, with no silly injuries hes the guy with Maguire, Bially has got pace, hes great in the ball will block will head, Maguire is better along side him. Set pieces need addressing no matter whose in CB. That's why Pogba has been back there along with Mactom.