Our Defence - Has it actually been fixed?

Dwazza Gunnar Solskjær

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He runs past Bailly with the ball but he doesn't skin him. Are you waiting for him to whip out a filleting knife?
Bailly is turning before the player goes past him. For me, skinned usually involves a bit of skill and the impression that your opponent was stood still when you beat them. But this interpretation is debatable.

I'll note you failed to adress your complete misuse of left for dead. Telling, that.
 

poleglass red

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You actually praised him for getting skinned as the last defender. It's incredible.
he cut inside him in his own half, hardly getting skinned. Regardless Bailly's pace enabled him to stay with him letting Maguire get back to make the tackle. Not sure why you are so reluctant to be happy we didn't get done for pace like we normally do
 

Still ill

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He runs past Bailly with the ball but he doesn't skin him... Are you waiting for him to whip out a chef's knife?
I think he makes a fair point. Bailly was still almost shoulder to shoulder, though certainly struggling, and could have made a challenge if Maguire didn't. He wasn't left for dead.
 

ivaldo

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I think he makes a fair point. Bailly was still almost shoulder to shoulder, though certainly struggling, and could have made a challenge if Maguire didn't. He wasn't left for dead.
Without Maguire he could've still had a clear shot on goal. Left for dead might be a big strong, but he was certainly skinned, no?
 

A-man

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he cut inside him in his own half, hardly getting skinned. Regardless Bailly's pace enabled him to stay with him letting Maguire get back to make the tackle. Not sure why you are so reluctant to be happy we didn't get done for pace like we normally do
How often do we get done for pace? It’s rare.
 

lex talionis

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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.
I made a similar point, though without the useful table of data, earlier today. Thank you for doing a vastly better job of it than I ever could.

As I survey the situation at hand, Bailly is a dream partner for Maguire, who I consider to be a very good CB. Lindelof can fill in ably, but he’s a steep drop from Bailly IMHO. What I’d like to see is Lindelof getting some starts over Maguire, who would benefit immensely from getting a break here and there. Maybe a Maguire/Bailly partnership and a Lindelof/Tuanzebe partnership? With Mengi waiting in the wings. I could live with that.
 

poleglass red

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How often do we get done for pace? It’s rare.
It's pace but it's also our positional sense, so it's 2 issues really.We lack that recovery pace if/when we are caught out. Calvert Lewin done us for pace to cross for Docure's goal, de Gea messed up but pace got him into position to cross. Demba Ba, 35 yr old ran from half way to score against us, I'd argue their 2nd was pace related as well, how crucial was that loss in going out of CL. Lookman goal for Fulham. Barnes goal v Leicester, a reluctance to close him down due to his pace so he gets his shot of. Salah 1st for Lpool in FA cup, combination of poor pace and positioning. Bergwin last season for Spurs ran from nearly his own half. We don't close down quick enough at edge of our box, again afraid of pace, Shef Utd last goal, we stood of, Everton 2nd goal by Rodriguex, we stood of.In the modern game, not having recovery pace is a problem, we ask Maguire and Shaw especially to carry the ball forward, if/when they get caught upfield it's a problem. We are so deep at times it invites pressure I feel and it's compounded by De Gea's reluctance to come of his line. It is a collective issue , our mid can be slow in tracking runners, McT I think it was, was slow in closing down Grealish for the cross that led to Villas goal, Fred was slow in tracking Bergwin in that spurs goal. I just feel that 1 quick centre half can negate the poor positioning at times and offer a protection to defenders like Shaw and Maguire when they venture forward.
 

A-man

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It's pace but it's also our positional sense, so it's 2 issues really.We lack that recovery pace if/when we are caught out. Calvert Lewin done us for pace to cross for Docure's goal, de Gea messed up but pace got him into position to cross. Demba Ba, 35 yr old ran from half way to score against us, I'd argue their 2nd was pace related as well, how crucial was that loss in going out of CL. Lookman goal for Fulham. Barnes goal v Leicester, a reluctance to close him down due to his pace so he gets his shot of. Salah 1st for Lpool in FA cup, combination of poor pace and positioning. Bergwin last season for Spurs ran from nearly his own half. We don't close down quick enough at edge of our box, again afraid of pace, Shef Utd last goal, we stood of, Everton 2nd goal by Rodriguex, we stood of.In the modern game, not having recovery pace is a problem, we ask Maguire and Shaw especially to carry the ball forward, if/when they get caught upfield it's a problem. We are so deep at times it invites pressure I feel and it's compounded by De Gea's reluctance to come of his line. It is a collective issue , our mid can be slow in tracking runners, McT I think it was, was slow in closing down Grealish for the cross that led to Villas goal, Fred was slow in tracking Bergwin in that spurs goal. I just feel that 1 quick centre half can negate the poor positioning at times and offer a protection to defenders like Shaw and Maguire when they venture forward.
I would say most of your examples are goals where we could and should have done better. However, the goals do not show that we need a fast CB to order to cover and compensate for Maguire’s lack of speed. If we look at the examples:


Calvert Lewin: Lindelof was covering for AWB. Even if he was Usain Bolt, he would never been able to cover for Maguire not being fast enough.


Demba Ba: We played Tuanzebe, our fastest CB in this game.

Lookman goal for Fulham: Bailly played.

Barnes goal v Leicester: Bailly played.

Salah 1st for Lpool in FA cup: Agree a little with poor positioning, nothing due to speed,, but I would say this was more poor decision making by Lindelof and Shaw, plus poor effort in our midfield. Also credit to Liverpool, was a good goal from two great players.

Bergwin last season for Spurs: Agree that a super fast CB might have been able to cover better for Maguire, at least if he was sitting deep.

Shef Utd last goal, we stood of: Very passive, but this was again Tuanzebe playing

Everton 2nd goal by Rodriguex: Agree, this was passive from both defenders and midfield, but had nothing to do with speed.

This shows that the idea that we will be all good if a fast CB could cover for Maguire is a bit naïve. Of all the examples presented, maybe one could have been avoided. In none of the examples was Lindelof beaten for speed, and in most cases it was Bailly or Tuanzebe who played (which make them very over represented because they played so few matches).

This shows how overrated speed is imo. It is a bonus not a must. Awareness and reading of the game is much more important. It is not a coincidence that most of the time we struggle for speed, as in your examples, is when we play our fastest CBs. They have grown up being able to compensate deficiencies with speed, but it is not possible at this level.
 

A-man

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Brilliant post.

I made a similar point, though without the useful table of data, earlier today. Thank you for doing a vastly better job of it than I ever could.

As I survey the situation at hand, Bailly is a dream partner for Maguire, who I consider to be a very good CB. Lindelof can fill in ably, but he’s a steep drop from Bailly IMHO. What I’d like to see is Lindelof getting some starts over Maguire, who would benefit immensely from getting a break here and there. Maybe a Maguire/Bailly partnership and a Lindelof/Tuanzebe partnership? With Mengi waiting in the wings. I could live with that.
Thanks for the kind words.
I think all three of our CBs need to play with Maguire, becasue of his dominance in the air. I would like to rest him when we play teams who play on the ground. This is also the reason why I think it is danegrous to look for someone to compliment Maguire. We need another one who is good in he air imo.
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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Defenders will not be perfect all the time and that’s why you need to cover each other too. Bailly compliments Maguire while Maguire compliments Bailly, thus both can cover each other. Lindelof doesn’t compliment either of them. I have said it before in the title race thread that our title race this season is not depending on our attack but depending on whether those two can be used together for the rest of the season (Maguire & Bailly). Unfortunately one of them can’t stay fit that the manager doesn’t even trust him enough. Bailly profile of centre back without injury prone is needed. Quick, can play aggressive, strong, brave, commit to defend with your body and in additional of good positioning & ball playing ability.
 

Leroy The Red

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Much better since that atrocious Everton game. I think Maguire and Shaw have stepped up in particular to make it better. Lindelof seems to have developed something of a spine too.
 

croadyman

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Much better since that atrocious Everton game. I think Maguire and Shaw have stepped up in particular to make it better. Lindelof seems to have developed something of a spine too.
Just a shame it took a combination of heartbreak against them and a lax attitude at WBA for us to defend better
 

TMDaines

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City and Chelsea are kind of ridiculous defensively at the moment, but we’re as good as anyone else in the world. We’re back to keepers doing nothing or having only a single save to make a difference.
 

A-man

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In our 10 last matches we have kept 7 clean sheets. In all 3 matches where we conceded goals, we have conceded corner goals.

Leicester 3 goals conceded, 1 Corner goal
Milan, 1 goal conceded, it was corner goal
Newcastle 1 goal conceded, it was corner goal.

That means we have only conceded goals from open play in 1 match from our last 10 matches.

We have only conceded 2 goals in open play the last 10 matches and 1 of those 2 goals came from Fred’s poor pass.

It is a very solid defence but the team need to improve defending corners.
 

croadyman

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In our 10 last matches we have kept 7 clean sheets. In all 3 matches where we conceded goals, we have conceded corner goals.

Leicester 3 goals conceded, 1 Corner goal
Milan, 1 goal conceded, it was corner goal
Newcastle 1 goal conceded, it was corner goal.

That means we have only conceded goals from open play in 1 match from our last 10 matches.

We have only conceded 2 goals in open play the last 10 matches and 1 of those 2 goals came from Fred’s poor pass.

It is a very solid defence but the team need to improve defending corners.
Yeah we are a shambles on set pieces and yet still the penny hasn't dropped for our coaches
 

sullydnl

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Does there exist such a snazzy graph for centre backs? I.e. tackles and aerial duels won, longer passing accuracy, even dribbles made?
Not that I've seen. Just this one for PL midfielders:

 

Bastian

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Not that I've seen. Just this one for midfielders:

Interesting, still. Cheers. How long ago is this from, on the one hand it's got Eze and Harrison, but then it's got Naby Keita who pretty much seems to have retired by signing for Liverpool.
 

sullydnl

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Interesting, still. Cheers. How long ago is this from, on the one hand it's got Eze and Harrison, but then it's got Naby Keita who pretty much seems to have retired by signing for Liverpool.
Just league games in the 20/21 season, where Keita has made 9 appearances.

It's not as good as the goalkeeper table really. Isn't even labelled properly.
 

Bastian

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Just league games in the 20/21 season, where Keita has made 9 appearances.

It's not as good as the goalkeeper table really. Isn't even labelled properly.
Yeah, that one seems more solid, and one would expect Allison and Neuer to overall be statistically the best goalkeepers. At least it "confirmed" my opinions on quite a few. This is more fluid.
 

sullydnl

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Thats weird. How is Mac Allister in there when he averages 1.5 tackles per 90 mins? Thats joint 6th in his team
The stats themselves are from Statsbomb via Fbref too so I'd say they're correct, so it must be the "per 100 opponent touches" part that's skewing it somehow? That and the limited appearances (15) I guess.
 

#07

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No matter who plays we are vulnerable when the ball is crossed into the box, open play or set play it doesn't matter.
 

Kag

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Lindelof is a waste of skin at centre half.

The plonkers who think he’s any good are as bad as the plonkers in Liverpool who used to try and pretend that Skrtel and Agger were any good. They were largely shite and so is Lindelof. Fella can’t even get into position to head the bloody ball.
 

charlenefan

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No matter who plays we are vulnerable when the ball is crossed into the box, open play or set play it doesn't matter.
no excuse for Shaw not busting a gut to stop the cross and obviously AWB completely oblivious to Welbeck:rolleyes:
 

11101

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AWB is often caught out positionally but we have four redundant players because of our awful setup. Welbeck came in from wide unopposed because we set up to pack the middle. Doesnt matter who the individual defenders are.
 

#07

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Lindelof is a waste of skin at centre half.

The plonkers who think he’s any good are as bad as the plonkers in Liverpool who used to try and pretend that Skrtel and Agger were any good. They were largely shite and so is Lindelof. Fella can’t even get into position to head the bloody ball.
The fact we have fans who will defend him, even after the Europa League semi final, shows we've fully transformed into what Liverpool used to be.
 

mrniceguy

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so... i am new and i can't post on the match thread yet....

first half was horrendous. Doesnt help the commentators were always buttering up the Brighton players..

so, it is 0330hrs in my country. should i continue to watch or just go to sleep?

United are making me depressed......
 

TrustInOle

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We are better defensively, we just desperately need to find better organisation on set pieces. I love AWB but his positional sense is starting to stick out like a thorn, hope he can improve with more experience.
 

Ekeke

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no excuse for Shaw not busting a gut to stop the cross and obviously AWB completely oblivious to Welbeck:rolleyes:
If Lindelof doesnt misjudge the cross its irrelevant, but yes its AWB's mistake too. Lots of fullbacks will be beaten by a 6 foot striker in the air though. Not many CBs will be content with not dealing with a cross though, thats one of the things they're there for. Nobody plays a fullback for how well they defend a cross
 

lysglimt

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We struggle defensively at times - but at the same time - remove those first 3 games we played this season where we clearly weren't fit to play - and only City are better defensively than us - it's not all bad.

After 3 games we had a goal difference of 5-11 - in the next 27 games our goal difference has been 53-22 which is really good.

But the main problem imo is central midfield - Bruno and Pogba are useless as defenders. Notice how they never can put pressure on opponents - and a good midfielder simply glides past them.
 

Ekeke

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We struggle defensively at times - but at the same time - remove those first 3 games we played this season where we clearly weren't fit to play - and only City are better defensively than us - it's not all bad.

After 3 games we had a goal difference of 5-11 - in the next 27 games our goal difference has been 53-22 which is really good.

But the main problem imo is central midfield - Bruno and Pogba are useless as defenders. Notice how they never can put pressure on opponents - and a good midfielder simply glides past them.
Bruno makes loads of presses. You arent going to get much better from an attacker
 

eire-red

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I think our defence can definitely still improve, but I'm just going to say that since the acquisitions of AWB and Maguire, we're on for back to back Top 4 finishes. Bruno is a massive contributor to that as well of course.

We've conceded a lot of goals stupidly this season, but in the modern game, possession and control of the ball is the best form of defence. I think our defence often gets punished for our lack of control in midfield.

I seen a lot of debate about Brighton's goal last night and the positioning of AWB and Lindelof. The quality of the ball was really good, sometimes a cross is really hard to defend. But what we've seen more of this season is the sloppiness of how we conceded possession in midfield, and the slowness of the reaction to losing the ball.

Our defence hasn't been fully fixed, but I think a huge part of modern football is defending and controlling games as a team. I don't think the burden of improvement in our defensive record doesn't fall solely at the feet of our back 4. They've largely been our most consistent performers this season.

Our attack has functioned poorly for a lot of the season, but we're sitting second in the league after such a difficult start. Can we win the league with this back 4? Probably not to be honest. But I genuienly think priority this summer has to be adding another top notch attacker, and a deeper midfielder that can really control the game from deep. Ndidi and Neves are two that spring to mind for me.

I don't see any quality additions to our back 4 available in the market that would overtake the incremental benefits that strengthening our midfield and attack would bring. Summer 2022 could be where we go all out for a CB as the missing piece to push us over the line.
 

cyril C

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no excuse for Shaw not busting a gut to stop the cross and obviously AWB completely oblivious to Welbeck:rolleyes:
Lindelof and AWB were at fault. But if finger need to point at the original sin, it should be Pogba, for a careless pass straight to the opposition.
 

charlenefan

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Lindelof and AWB were at fault. But if finger need to point at the original sin, it should be Pogba, for a careless pass straight to the opposition.
So Shaw's blameless then?