Smalling and Jones are still our best CB pairing

Tyrion

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Feels wonderful that this is no longer the case.
I know. Aside from Bailly (who's debatable), Maguire must be the first time we've bought a centre back who's a definite first team starter in a decade. In that time, Smalling and Jones have barely been good enough while we added loads of other players who were barely good enough.
 

simonhch

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SO glad that these two are now nowhere near the starting XI. Role to play for Jones as a squad player, but Smalling's days are probably numbered. The man, honestly, just can't play football. Yeah, he's a decent "pure" defender, but that's just not enough any more. Glad to see Tuanzebe has leapfrogged him in the pecking order. Ole running a true meritocracy I see.
 

Judas

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I know. Aside from Bailly (who's debatable), Maguire must be the first time we've bought a centre back who's a definite first team starter in a decade. In that time, Smalling and Jones have barely been good enough while we added loads of other players who were barely good enough.
Maguire has already put in a better performance than Bailly ever has. They're really not in the same league.
 

NinjaZombie

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Looking at the way Maguire and Lindelof were playing in possession, you wonder how Smalling will fit in. He'll get the odd game or two but if everyone pressed him the way Chelsea did today, we're guaranteed to be frustrated at the amount of times we cede possession.
 

Eoin McMahon

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Why couldn't it have turned out the way it was meant to be. Remember watching the two of them as the starting CB pairing for the England U21s and thinking we have our CB positions sorted for the next 10 years and so do England, ah well injuries always seem to have a say don't they. Jones was some player back then, a lot of people forget he was only 19 when we signed him and was competing with Rio and Vidic for CB from the start. I'll always remember Fergie saying, after a game that Jones was MOTM maybe a season or 2 after Jones had signed, how he could become Man Utd's greatest ever player. Nobody says something like that lightly especially not Ferguson.

Everytime I see the lad play I always remember that quote and its sad to see how injuries have ruined him and it's funny how quick people are to forget and how fast they jump on the bandwagon of hate and mockery of the likes of Jones, Smalling and even Young. Yes they are not good enough for Man Utd anymore and at most squad players but these are 3 of the last players from the Ferguson era, have won the league, know the club inside out and played hundreds of games and did their best and for that they have my respect. I feel all United fans should try to do the same.
 

don grahamleone

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Say what you will about Maguire and Lindelof in the center, as good as they were Wan-Bissaka made a bigger difference in my mind. The man shut down left side attacks in a way that made it a non-option for them. Pulisic had enough speed to give him some trouble, but it never materialize because the man can flat out defend one-on-one.
 

MadDogg

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I know Smalling fans won't give up easily on the fact their player was overrated by them and very upgradeable. They will resist for a bit, but by half of the season you'll give up I'm sure.
The majority of Smalling 'fans' kept saying that he was better than the others we had and that it was harder to replace him than the Smalling 'haters' were making out. Both of which are true, considering we tried to replace him numerous times over the years only for the players to fail, and it looks like it's taken a world record signing to finally do it. Obviously there was the odd fan who went overboard (mostly Ekeke), but the majority were quite sensible about it.
 

Eoin McMahon

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The majority of Smalling 'fans' kept saying that he was better than the others we had and that it was harder to replace him than the Smalling 'haters' were making out. Both of which are true, considering we tried to replace him numerous times over the years only for the players to fail, and it looks like it's taken a world record signing to finally do it. Obviously there was the odd fan who went overboard (mostly Ekeke), but the majority were quite sensible about it.
To be fair I think it has to be them two seasons under LVG where he was actually top class for us, no injuries and was ever present for them two seasons and rightly so, when Mourinho came in and he fell apart completely and has rarely shown that form he had before. Crazy to think he's due a testimonial in 5 months. You just know that there will be a run of games at some point in the season where Jones and Smalling will start together due to injuries and the sense of deja vu I've gotten for 10 years seeing that happen will strike again.
 

Oldyella

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Say what you will about Maguire and Lindelof in the center, as good as they were Wan-Bissaka made a bigger difference in my mind. The man shut down left side attacks in a way that made it a non-option for them. Pulisic had enough speed to give him some trouble, but it never materialize because the man can flat out defend one-on-one.
Yeah, the last couple of seasons has seen our right hand CB constantly having to cover their own position as well as the RB.
 

Ekeke

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Say what you will about Maguire and Lindelof in the center, as good as they were Wan-Bissaka made a bigger difference in my mind. The man shut down left side attacks in a way that made it a non-option for them. Pulisic had enough speed to give him some trouble, but it never materialize because the man can flat out defend one-on-one.
Correct. He had one part where he and Lindelof both got sucked in on an aerial ball, Lindelof had a bad header straight to Emerson iirc and Emerson hit the bar. We were lucky to get away with that among other things. But other than that Wan-Bissaka was our best defender by far
 

Ekeke

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The majority of Smalling 'fans' kept saying that he was better than the others we had and that it was harder to replace him than the Smalling 'haters' were making out. Both of which are true, considering we tried to replace him numerous times over the years only for the players to fail, and it looks like it's taken a world record signing to finally do it. Obviously there was the odd fan who went overboard (mostly Ekeke), but the majority were quite sensible about it.
Actually you just summed up exactly what I was saying the entire time. That Smalling isnt a "top class CB" but he's the best we had and has never had a "top class CB" next to him while he's been a first choice. That there have been a million suggestions for grass is greener CB upgrades, but it would actually be very very expensive to replace him with someone who defends as well as he does.

We've played 1 game against a weak Chelsea side who should have scored at least 1 goal, but we survived with a clean sheet by the skin of our teeth. Even if this is the end of Smalling starting, and Maguire + Lindelof build on this and do better from this point on than the Chelsea match - it cost £80 million, a record for a CB to replace Smalling.

Lets see where we're at after 15-20 matches, not 1 match where we could easily have conceded.
 

acrebo

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Actually you just summed up exactly what I was saying the entire time. That Smalling isnt a "top class CB" but he's the best we had and has never had a "top class CB" next to him while he's been a first choice. That there have been a million suggestions for grass is greener CB upgrades, but it would actually be very very expensive to replace him with someone who defends as well as he does.

We've played 1 game against a weak Chelsea side who should have scored at least 1 goal, but we survived with a clean sheet by the skin of our teeth. Even if this is the end of Smalling starting, and Maguire + Lindelof build on this and do better from this point on than the Chelsea match - it cost £80 million, a record for a CB to replace Smalling.

Lets see where we're at after 15-20 matches, not 1 match where we could easily have conceded.
I agree with the sentiment, but that works both ways.

We could easily have conceded but it's the first game with half a new defence, as well as the main CB having recently joined and barely trained with his teammates. The defence will get A LOT better over the next 15/20 matches whilst there will no doubt be errors in communication (as well as Shaw continuing to forget he's a LB).

Defensively Smalling is fine but the whole style of play is different with him at the back. He can't play out from the back which results in hoofball / hospital passing which, in turn, invites further pressure. Being able to play around 3/4 pressing opposition forwards immediately gives us more time on the ball and greater ability to pick the correct pass forward.
 

decorativeed

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SO glad that these two are now nowhere near the starting XI. Role to play for Jones as a squad player, but Smalling's days are probably numbered. The man, honestly, just can't play football. Yeah, he's a decent "pure" defender, but that's just not enough any more. Glad to see Tuanzebe has leapfrogged him in the pecking order. Ole running a true meritocracy I see.
I see it completely the opposite way around. Smalling has been 10 times the player for us that Jones has been. I think the only issue with him coming into this season is the introduction of VAR. He's incapable of defending a set piece without pulling a shirt or two, so he's a penalty waiting to happen. It's probably the end of the road for him here, and hopefully the end of the conveyor belt into the rendering pot for donkey Jones.
 

thegregster

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The one thing Smalling had was height and was better in the air than the rest. Plus he was our best goalscoring CB. Now with Maguire we have that and much more.

I expect us to move on Rojo and Smalling.

We may even move on one of Bailly and Jones.
 

jackal&hyde

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Actually you just summed up exactly what I was saying the entire time. That Smalling isnt a "top class CB" but he's the best we had and has never had a "top class CB" next to him while he's been a first choice. That there have been a million suggestions for grass is greener CB upgrades, but it would actually be very very expensive to replace him with someone who defends as well as he does.

We've played 1 game against a weak Chelsea side who should have scored at least 1 goal, but we survived with a clean sheet by the skin of our teeth. Even if this is the end of Smalling starting, and Maguire + Lindelof build on this and do better from this point on than the Chelsea match - it cost £80 million, a record for a CB to replace Smalling.

Lets see where we're at after 15-20 matches, not 1 match where we could easily have conceded.
It's a logical misstep to say that the only way to improve on Smalling is to spend 80 mil. We did that because Maguire is one of the best defenders in the league. Smalling got behind Lindelof, Maguire and Tuanzebe by all accounts. Still a decent 4th choice though.
 

Turnip

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The majority of Smalling 'fans' kept saying that he was better than the others we had and that it was harder to replace him than the Smalling 'haters' were making out. Both of which are true, considering we tried to replace him numerous times over the years only for the players to fail, and it looks like it's taken a world record signing to finally do it. Obviously there was the odd fan who went overboard (mostly Ekeke), but the majority were quite sensible about it.
I personally still rate Smalling, his biggest issue is how uncomfortable he looks with the ball under pressure, and with how much pressing there is in today's game that is a major flaw that will lead to conceding goals. I think a few years ago he'd have been fine. Cant say that Maguire isn't an improvement in pretty much every department except for haircut though.
 

Ekeke

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It's a logical misstep to say that the only way to improve on Smalling is to spend 80 mil. We did that because Maguire is one of the best defenders in the league. Smalling got behind Lindelof, Maguire and Tuanzebe by all accounts. Still a decent 4th choice though.
If that was the case we wouldnt have bought Maguire, we'd have Tuanzabe and Lindelof to play instead of him
 

Bwuk

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When pressed Lindelof and Maguire weren’t phased yesterday. Smalling would of shat himself.

Honestly people who see something in Smalling are kidding themselves on. He doesn’t suit the modern style of play teams are adapting too.
 

Ekeke

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I agree with the sentiment, but that works both ways.

We could easily have conceded but it's the first game with half a new defence, as well as the main CB having recently joined and barely trained with his teammates. The defence will get A LOT better over the next 15/20 matches whilst there will no doubt be errors in communication (as well as Shaw continuing to forget he's a LB).

Defensively Smalling is fine but the whole style of play is different with him at the back. He can't play out from the back which results in hoofball / hospital passing which, in turn, invites further pressure. Being able to play around 3/4 pressing opposition forwards immediately gives us more time on the ball and greater ability to pick the correct pass forward.
Theres no doubt whatsoever that we're instantly better playing the ball out of the back with Maguire instead of Smalling.

My only concern is whether we will defend as well as when Smalling is playing at his best, like the season before last. At the very least the competition should force Smalling to play at his best like that, because he didnt last season.
 

mitchmouse

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I'm happy to see Smalling and Jones playing together again - just as long as it's not in United shirts. Nightmare individually and even worse together
 

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Looking at the way Maguire and Lindelof were playing in possession, you wonder how Smalling will fit in. He'll get the odd game or two but if everyone pressed him the way Chelsea did today, we're guaranteed to be frustrated at the amount of times we cede possession.
Yeah that’s what I was thinking too. I do rate Smalling but if we’re determined to play it out for the back then he’ll be useless. He would never have coped today. I can see why he got fewest minutes out of all CBs in pre season.
 

KennyBurner

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When pressed Lindelof and Maguire weren’t phased yesterday. Smalling would of shat himself.

Honestly people who see something in Smalling are kidding themselves on. He doesn’t suit the modern style of play teams are adapting too.
That was the only problem I had with smalling. Players like him and Ashley young make passing with composure seem impossible. We were the only big team who didn’t feel comfortable passing it from the back. Yesterday was the first time I ever saw De gea pass it to a defender when their striker was sitting 10 meters away. Can you believe it? I need more of it even if we did give up loads of chances and we’re extre sloppy. The more they get used to it the better they will get.
 

Bwuk

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That was the only problem I had with smalling. Players like him and Ashley young make passing with composure seem impossible. We were the only big team who didn’t feel comfortable passing it from the back. Yesterday was the first time I ever saw De gea pass it to a defender when their striker was sitting 10 meters away. Can you believe it? I need more of it even if we did give up loads of chances and we’re extre sloppy. The more they get used to it the better they will get.
Exactly. No doubt a mistake will happen and the usual clowns will come in and say Smalling etc should be starting, but we have to commit to this style of play. It’s the way forward.
 

thesheriffjw

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When pressed Lindelof and Maguire weren’t phased yesterday. Smalling would of shat himself.

Honestly people who see something in Smalling are kidding themselves on. He doesn’t suit the modern style of play teams are adapting too.
I said on here last season that smalling was shocking with the ball and someone (cannot remember who) put up some youtube clips trying to say otherwise.

The ball is a hot potato for smalling
 

Sandikan

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It was always an odd thread title, as despite both having been here between 7-8 years, they've not played a huge amount of games together.

They've always looked a dodgy combo together. However, both have had a lot of good games with someone else.

You can see Maguire is a big improvement on both for sure.
 

Based Adnan

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Was trying to imagine Smalling trying to do the 1 touch passing Lindelof and Maguire were doing yesterday as we played out of the back. It's not happening and he's not good enough as a pure defender to warrant us changing our playstyle just to fit him in the team. Should have let him go to Everton.
 

romufc

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There was one pass from Maguire that he played across goal to Lindelof which looked very dodgie, but the way Lindelof just first timed it to Pogba was brilliant.

How many times would we see that ball end up in the back of our net or the stands if smalling was playing?

Once these two start trusting each other, Smalling will find it difficult to get in the team.
 

RedPed

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This thread certainly did not age very well at all. Not even being in the squad yesterday was a clear statement on Smalling's future at United, especially after what Solskjaer said in his pre-match presser. He didn't even get a single minute in the last two friendlies.

It gave me such a warm feeling inside seeing that bench yesterday. I'm hoping that the Smalling apologists can finally accept it and move on. They must be hurting though. Ooh I'm feeling so smug right now. :D

Hopefully Everton will be back for him in January. Or Jones/Rojo.
 

Bastian

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Was trying to imagine Smalling trying to do the 1 touch passing Lindelof and Maguire were doing yesterday as we played out of the back. It's not happening and he's not good enough as a pure defender to warrant us changing our playstyle just to fit him in the team. Should have let him go to Everton.
Think he’ll be decent as forth choice. We should be selling unwanted players, not loaning them out.
 

Based Adnan

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Think he’ll be decent as forth choice. We should be selling unwanted players, not loaning them out.
What other fourth choice CB does have a team have to completely change its playstyle to accommodate for? With Chris Smalling we can't build from the back like we did yesterday. City or Barca would never dream of having a player as limited as Smalling even as backup because it'd have too big of an effect on their playstyle should he ever have to play.

Thankfully Ole seems to rate Axel and Jones (who I also dislike but at least he can pass decently) over Smalling.
 

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Let’s just hope next season our defensive options in the centre are

Maguire
Lindelof
Tuanzebe
Another signing

Smalling and Jones should be nowhere near even been selected for the bench as there days at this level have long left them by.
 

AshRK

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The fact that Ole completely dropped Smalling says a lot about how much he rates him. I also feel had Bailly not got injured, Smalling may have been sold. Again, he is not a bad defender but I do understand why Ole does not prefer him just like why Southgate does not prefer him. Smalling's ball playing ability is really bad and if you want your team to play from the back then no matter how good he is as a defender he has to be sacrificed. It's the same argument with Lukaku, lukaku as a goal scorer is not bad, in fact better than Rashford but for Ole's philosophy to work we had to play without Lukaku. Lindelof may make a mistake or two but I would be surprised id Ole drops him or replaces him with Smalling. Axel is the guy to replace Lindelof if he needs replacing.