Our Defence - Has it actually been fixed?

Siviz

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When did he look better? He played alongside Smalling and he looked as poor as he is today.

Yes, CB plays as pairs, that doesn't mean every CB will look good with better player next to them.
When playing for Sweden, which is a bit counterintuitive considering he's up until recently been paired with Andreas Granqvist - a defender very similar to Maguire (strong in the air, slow as molasses).
 

A-man

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The Athletic have analyzed our defense and - surprise, surprise - it's based on... individual performances and individual choices. God, we don't even have a football coach, do we?

“At a time where top sides defend more as a collective, working to constrict and manipulate space, United’s approach to defending set pieces — and defending as a whole — asks players to make a higher number of individual decisions. Without the safety blanket of the offside trap, they risk being punished more on the defensive end when mistakes occur.”

https://theathletic.com/2388817/2021/02/16/manchester-united-punished-set-pieces-why/
This is exactly what has happened. We don’t defend as a unit but individually 1v1. It was very obvious in our two last matches.

One difference if we look at skills of a CB today compared to one in the past is the ability to work with others on a unit is more important, or at least this is more valued now. This was, as an example, my personal biggest question mark for Upamecano as I feel the Leipzig defence is formed by a bunch of individuals. .
 

A-man

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I would say the season started awful with 11 goals conceded in the first 3 games. After that we sorted out the defence to a decent level, went to the top in the PL and played well. The 3-3 draw was Everton was step backwards, but before that the defence has been pretty good.
 

A-man

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When playing for Sweden, which is a bit counterintuitive considering he's up until recently been paired with Andreas Granqvist - a defender very similar to Maguire (strong in the air, slow as molasses).
He has a little different role for Sweden where is a little bit of a play maker plus the one who organises the team.
 

Smores

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For the money Ole has spent on the defence it should be sorted really. I think we also fecked up offloading Smalling to be honest.

We've won titles with worse CBs than Lindelof and Smalling. It's incredible that we managed to spaff so much money on a new CB to then realise they're not a good fit.
 

dinostar77

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For the money Ole has spent on the defence it should be sorted really. I think we also fecked up offloading Smalling to be honest.

We've won titles with worse CBs than Lindelof and Smalling. It's incredible that we managed to spaff so much money on a new CB to then realise they're not a good fit.
£80mil on maguire still seems crazy. Should have added a few more millions and got koubailly from Napoli.
 

MU655

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I would say the season started awful with 11 goals conceded in the first 3 games. After that we sorted out the defence to a decent level, went to the top in the PL and played well. The 3-3 draw was Everton was step backwards, but before that the defence has been pretty good.
31 goals conceded - 24 played - Average: 1.29 (Over 38 games: 49 goals conceded)

Removal of freak result (Tottenham game treated as not played)

25 goals conceded - 23 played - Average: 1.09 (Over 38 games: 41 goals conceded)

Although our goals conceded average per match is better than it looks with the freak result, we are still conceding at a higher rate than last season. It is not great when we have had our £130m investment for over a season now, and it seems to be going back a bit.

But, I actually did the same thing for our attack (removing the Southampton result) and found that that is actually our main area of concern.
 

dinostar77

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31 goals conceded - 24 played - Average: 1.29 (Over 38 games: 49 goals conceded)

Removal of freak result (Tottenham game treated as not played)

25 goals conceded - 23 played - Average: 1.09 (Over 38 games: 41 goals conceded)

Although our goals conceded average per match is better than it looks with the freak result, we are still conceding at a higher rate than last season. It is not great when we have had our £130m investment for over a season now, and it seems to be going back a bit.

But, I actually did the same thing for our attack (removing the Southampton result) and found that that is actually our main area of concern.
For a team who play with two holding midfielders its a shambles.
 

MU655

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For a team who play with two holding midfielders its a shambles.
I'm not saying it's good, far from it. But not quite as bad as it looks with the 6-1. It is fair to do since I did the same for the attack in another thread.

Overall, it just shows that we have a lot of issues that still remain unfixed. Defence and attack just aren't even close to the level we require to challenge.
 

A-man

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31 goals conceded - 24 played - Average: 1.29 (Over 38 games: 49 goals conceded)

Removal of freak result (Tottenham game treated as not played)

25 goals conceded - 23 played - Average: 1.09 (Over 38 games: 41 goals conceded)

Although our goals conceded average per match is better than it looks with the freak result, we are still conceding at a higher rate than last season. It is not great when we have had our £130m investment for over a season now, and it seems to be going back a bit.

But, I actually did the same thing for our attack (removing the Southampton result) and found that that is actually our main area of concern.
I agree it has not been good if you look at it from the perspective of overall season and make an average, and I am not a fan of removing "freak" results. Instead it makes sense to look at patches after something has changed. We struggled the first matches and then we sorted it out, and have been pretty good until just now (Everton).
We conceded 11 goals in the 3 first matches, but after that we conceded 16 goals in the next 19 games. We've had clean sheets against City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal.
Now it has started to look worse again, and imo it is mainly because we don't defend well as a team. It is however only the last two matches so a little early to conclude anything yet.



For a team who play with two holding midfielders its a shambles.
We are the team that have scored most goals in the PL.
 

MU655

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I agree it has not been good if you look at it from the perspective of overall season and make an average, and I am not a fan of removing "freak" results. Instead it makes sense to look at patches after something has changed. We struggled the first matches and then we sorted it out, and have been pretty good until just now (Everton).
We conceded 11 goals in the 3 first matches, but after that we conceded 16 goals in the next 19 games. We've had clean sheets against City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal.
Now it has started to look worse again, and imo it is mainly because we don't defend well as a team. It is however only the last two matches so a little early to conclude anything yet.




We are the team that have scored most goals in the PL.
The reason why I take away freak results is that, with it, it shows that we concede 0.5 more goals per game on average. In reality, we don't. We had a very bad game then, but it is not something you expect to see even with our defence. It would be the worst defence in the PL era if that was an expectation.

The other 23 results seem reasonable, and look like you could expect to see every season. We haven't conceded six in the PL since 2011 and before that in 1996. So, pretty rare. Same with the 9-0 win. I think 9 goals has only been scored in 4 games in the PL era.

I do agree to look at patches is better, and it does show they go through better times. But they seem way too inconsistent. I don't actually think they are that bad normally, but they seem to love messing up spectacularly at some point.

It does make you wonder how we would cope with only one DM, though. I would like to see just how much difference it makes. Is the defence really that bad where we have to cover for them so much? Or is Solskjaer being too conservative?
 

A-man

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The reason why I take away freak results is that, with it, it shows that we concede 0.5 more goals per game on average. In reality, we don't. We had a very bad game then, but it is not something you expect to see even with our defence. It would be the worst defence in the PL era if that was an expectation.

The other 23 results seem reasonable, and look like you could expect to see every season. We haven't conceded six in the PL since 2011 and before that in 1996. So, pretty rare. Same with the 9-0 win. I think 9 goals has only been scored in 4 games in the PL era.

I do agree to look at patches is better, and it does show they go through better times. But they seem way too inconsistent. I don't actually think they are that bad normally, but they seem to love messing up spectacularly at some point.

It does make you wonder how we would cope with only one DM, though. I would like to see just how much difference it makes. Is the defence really that bad where we have to cover for them so much? Or is Solskjaer being too conservative?
9-0 or 1-6 are not representative results, but in general one should be careful to just remove data. Even if we know that both those results were heavily depending on red cards, we still played super poor and super well in those two matches, so take away their contribution totally is not correct imo. Would we remove them if 5-0 and 1-4? Again that's why I like to look at patches and not focus so much on averages.

If we look at the whole season, the most common result is that we concede 0 goals in a match. The second most common is 1, and then 2.
We have conceded 2 goals in 6 matches but still managed to win 4 of them, 1 draw and 1 loss. This is obviously because we scored a lot of goals, and the price for the offensive football is often conceding more, like in the 6-2 game.


Goals concededNumber of games
08
17
26
32
61

If we look at the patch of 19 straight games I was talking about, it looks like this:
Goals concededNumber of games
08
16
25*
*Note that two of 2-goals conceded were the first matches in some time for Bailly and Tuanzebe.

When it comes to the DM covering part, we have scored most goals in the PL and many of those goals with both Fred and McT on the pitch. In general, we have not been playing defensive football. It has been mostly in the bigger matches where we have struggled to score, but kept clean sheets.
 

Infra-red

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I definitely much prefer the look of this Henderson-Bailly-Maguire defensive triangle; it is so much more balanced than the soft and slow De Gea-Lindelof-Maguire combination.

Henderson - confident, assured and a decent all rounder; Maguire - dominant in the air; Bailly - aggressive and with the pace to cover in behind.

It's not perfect, but it is certainly an improvement.
 

Ekeke

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Shaky 10 mins at the start but after that looked comfortable. Clean sheet against 5th best team in la liga not bad
 

Isotope

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It's just feel assured with Baily partnering Maguire there. Maguire looked colossal back there.
 

Ekeke

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Thats a bit simplistic though? A 4231 as we usually play has 4 advanced players. You need more than one midfielder to balance that

433, 41212, 422, 352, 451 etc..

None of those formations have one single DM/CM
?

4-1-2-1-2 has 1 DM

or 4-1-4-1 as Leicester play sometimes
 

ivaldo

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Shaky 10 mins at the start but after that looked comfortable. Clean sheet against 5th best team in la liga not bad
Absolutely horrendous defending on more than occasion from Bailly. If we were playing a better side, we could've been a couple a goals behind.
 

Bobcat

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4-1-2-1-2 has 1 DM

or 4-1-4-1 as Leicester play sometimes
4-1-2-1-2 still has two wide players that sit a bit deeper and balances the midfield, 4-1-4-1 has one dedicated DM and (on paper) is a lot more defensive than a 4231. In any case, formation is not all and the only out and out DM's we have are Fred and Matic and its not that often they play together. When we play Fred/McTomminay the former is asked to sit deep while the latter has a licence to go forward so its not like we play with two DM's just because the formation implies it
 

Sylar

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I definitely much prefer the look of this Henderson-Bailly-Maguire defensive triangle; it is so much more balanced than the soft and slow De Gea-Lindelof-Maguire combination.

Henderson - confident, assured and a decent all rounder; Maguire - dominant in the air; Bailly - aggressive and with the pace to cover in behind.

It's not perfect, but it is certainly an improvement.
Agree, and the more games they play together the better they become
The immediate worry is Bailly and how many games he can play though
 

Bearded One

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I think Bailly and Henderson should be given a chance as first team players. Hopefully the competition would push De Gea and Lindelof to become even better just like we saw with Luke.
 

poleglass red

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Absolutely horrendous defending on more than occasion from Bailly. If we were playing a better side, we could've been a couple a goals behind.
shaky start which is understandable due to missing games, but after that he was very good. Everything you need to know about our central defence was summed up around 23 rd min. They had a counter, Maguire was on way back after making a run forward with the ball. Their player breaks at pace from half way line, Bailly sticks with him for pace, doesn't make a challenge, stays up, forces him to his right and by that time Maguire has caught up and nips in with the touch. If that was Maguire and Lindelof as a pair, that's a goal or at the very least a shot on target, simple as. Bailly has faults, but you see Maguire tonight look so much more comfortable knowing he has that pace alongside him.
 

ivaldo

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shaky start which is understandable due to missing games, but after that he was very good. Everything you need to know about our central defence was summed up around 23 rd min. They had a counter, Maguire was on way back after making a run forward with the ball. Their player breaks at pace from half way line, Bailly sticks with him for pace, doesn't make a challenge, stays up, forces him to his right and by that time Maguire has caught up and nips in with the touch. If that was Maguire and Lindelof as a pair, that's a goal or at the very least a shot on target, simple as. Bailly has faults, but you see Maguire tonight look so much more comfortable knowing he has that pace alongside him.
Honestly, I think it's pretty revealing that, after watching Bailly turned and left for dead and being bailed out by a surprising turn of pace from Maguire, you some how find room to praise Bailly for trying, and failing, to correct his blunder. If that was Maguire and Lindelof, Lindelof would never be over commiting on Isak when he was last man, and that chance would not even happen.

Any chance of clipping this @GifLord?
 

GifLord

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Honestly, I think it's pretty revealing that, after watching Bailly turned and left for dead and being bailed out by a surprising turn of pace from Maguire, you some how find room to praise Bailly for trying, and failing, to correct his blunder. If that was Maguire and Lindelof, Lindelof would never be over commiting on Isak when he was last man, and that chance would not even happen.

Any chance of clipping this @GifLord?
 

PlayerOne

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Baily not great and made a mistake at the start, but the high is higher when he plays. His pace makes a high difference too. If he's fit, he plays, simple as that.
 

mattsville

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Cheers.

As you can see @poleglass red, Bailly over commits as the last defender, gets skinned, and relies on Maguire's surprising change of pace to save him.
Yep seen that sequence, thing is the speed of their forward surprised me, however Bailly fairly matches him for pace and makes him think and allows Maguire in, swap Bailly for Lindelof there and you are looking at a 1v1 on goal or alternatively a red card.
 

ivaldo

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Yep seen that sequence, thing is the speed of their forward surprised me, however Bailly fairly matches him for pace and makes him think and allows Maguire in, swap Bailly for Lindelof there and you are looking at a 1v1 on goal or alternatively a red card.
That's just it. Swap Lindelof for Bailly in there and he doesn't over commit in the first place. It doesn't even happen.
 

mattsville

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That's just it. Swap Lindelof for Bailly in there and he doesn't over commit in the first place. It doesn't even happen.
Neither does the goal we conceded to west brom... I get your view and understand it I just think more pace and aggression at the back allows us to be more robust defensively and more expressive in attack and allows more recovery options, I like intelligent defenders who operate effectively by intelligence and positioning well, lindelof is good at that, but he is so physically inadequate that I believe what Bailly offers is more important, problem is he cannot stay fit.
 

bosnian_red

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Bailly and Maguire in front of Henderson has to be the way forward, at least for now. It's not a case of just give them 1 game here and there during rotation, as they'll never build consistency. They all compliment each other MUCH better IMO and fill me with way more confidence than De Gea and Lindelof do (though both are capable of excellent performances).
 

ivaldo

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Neither does the goal we conceded to west brom... I get your view and understand it I just think more pace and aggression at the back allows us to be more robust defensively and more expressive in attack and allows more recovery options, I like intelligent defenders who operate effectively by intelligence and positioning well, lindelof is good at that, but he is so physically inadequate that I believe what Bailly offers is more important, problem is he cannot stay fit.
That's a fair assessment. It's balanced and it doesn't attempt to magnify Lindelof's errors while playing down Baillys.
 

VivaRonaldo85

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Bailly and Maguire in front of Henderson has to be the way forward, at least for now. It's not a case of just give them 1 game here and there during rotation, as they'll never build consistency. They all compliment each other MUCH better IMO and fill me with way more confidence than De Gea and Lindelof do (though both are capable of excellent performances).
Agree with this. I would really like these three to be given an extended period in the side (whilst Bailly is fit). Whilst they might not necessarily be the long term answer, things just look more balanced and under control at the back when these three play together. They at least deserve a chance given how poor DDG has been, how Lindelof is just ok but doesn’t compliment Maguire or DDG, and our £80 million captain is not getting dropped.
 

Longshanks

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Honestly, I think it's pretty revealing that, after watching Bailly turned and left for dead and being bailed out by a surprising turn of pace from Maguire, you some how find room to praise Bailly for trying, and failing, to correct his blunder. If that was Maguire and Lindelof, Lindelof would never be over commiting on Isak when he was last man, and that chance would not even happen.

Any chance of clipping this @GifLord?
What happens if lindelof plays is the line is not as high and the forward has a chance take the ball down and bring teammates into play and allow sociedad to build an attack.

Baillys assertive attempt to immediately win the ball back forces the forward to turn into the space and have a run at goal with bailly at his heels maguire coming to cover and 60 yards to make on his own. Slim chances.

This is the sort of scenario you a
See played out time and time again if you watch the likes of city/bayern/liverpool etc, it is the modern way of defending, high line, win the ball back immediately or risk the opposition players running into space along way from goal ideally with a sweeper keeper aswell. Lindelof isn't capable of this kind of defending he isn't strong enough, brave enough or quick enough.
 

poleglass red

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Cheers.

As you can see @poleglass red, Bailly over commits as the last defender, gets skinned, and relies on Maguire's surprising change of pace to save him.
If that's how you read that, then I can't help you....
His pace and lack of commital are what saves him. He goes to ground there as Lindelof would then he's straight through. Maguire catches up because the striker has it take it right slighlty away from Bailly
 

Dwazza Gunnar Solskjær

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Honestly, I think it's pretty revealing that, after watching Bailly turned and left for dead and being bailed out by a surprising turn of pace from Maguire, you some how find room to praise Bailly for trying, and failing, to correct his blunder. If that was Maguire and Lindelof, Lindelof would never be over commiting on Isak when he was last man, and that chance would not even happen.

Any chance of clipping this @GifLord?
I don't think you have any clue what skinned or left for dead actually mean.
 

JakeC

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9-0 or 1-6 are not representative results, but in general one should be careful to just remove data. Even if we know that both those results were heavily depending on red cards, we still played super poor and super well in those two matches, so take away their contribution totally is not correct imo. Would we remove them if 5-0 and 1-4? Again that's why I like to look at patches and not focus so much on averages.

If we look at the whole season, the most common result is that we concede 0 goals in a match. The second most common is 1, and then 2.
We have conceded 2 goals in 6 matches but still managed to win 4 of them, 1 draw and 1 loss. This is obviously because we scored a lot of goals, and the price for the offensive football is often conceding more, like in the 6-2 game.


Goals concededNumber of games
08
17
26
32
61

If we look at the patch of 19 straight games I was talking about, it looks like this:
Goals concededNumber of games
08
16
25*
*Note that two of 2-goals conceded were the first matches in some time for Bailly and Tuanzebe.

When it comes to the DM covering part, we have scored most goals in the PL and many of those goals with both Fred and McT on the pitch. In general, we have not been playing defensive football. It has been mostly in the bigger matches where we have struggled to score, but kept clean sheets.
Brilliant post.