What to expect from a new centre back pair?

A-man

Full Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2017
Messages
4,479
I seem to be one of few who am happy with our CB pair, and there are many who want to upgrade them by replacing Lindelof. Some even want him to leave the club. Fans’ favourites to replace seem to be Koundé, Varane, Botman or Torres.
There are many things to discuss, but if we just look at the goals conceded, what do you guys expect to improve? Set pieces, open play?

Here are the goals conceded from the 26 PL matches Lindelof- Maguire started as CB pair this season:

Total goals240.92/game
Open play120.46/game
Setpieces70.27/game
Penalty30.12/game
Own goal10.04/game
Counter10.04/game

The bulk of goals are open play and setpieces.

They have conceded 12 goals or 0.46 goals/game in open play. How much would that improve with a new CB?

They have conceded 0.27 goals/game from setpieces. How much do you expect that improve if we replace Lindelof?

(I hope my stats are correct...)
 

Bastian

Full Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2015
Messages
13,060
- High line
- Recovery pace
- Twice the competency in aerial duels
- Better organisation for set pieces
- Someone to sort out AWBs terrible positioning and remote-control him a bit
- More goals scored from set pieces
- Resulting in a collective overall improvement with more balance to the team
 

Okey

Full Member
Joined
May 11, 2017
Messages
1,731
Clean sheets. However they achieve them. Concede the least in the league next season and we're golden, whatever the CBs are called.
 

Bastian

Full Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2015
Messages
13,060
Clean sheets. However they achieve them. Concede the least in the league next season and we're golden, whatever the CBs are called.
We had 8 nil nil draws this season.
 

A-man

Full Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2017
Messages
4,479
- High line
- Recovery pace
- Twice the competency in aerial duels
- Better organisation for set pieces
- Someone to sort out AWBs terrible positioning and remote-control him a bit
- More goals scored from set pieces
- Resulting in a collective overall improvement with more balance to the team
That’s quite some expectations. Who do you want to sign to fulfil all that?
Do you expect less goals conceded in open play as well and if so, how many?

I personally think we can improve a lot on setpieces, but I don’t think a new CB will
improve us more than marginally, maybe one or two goals. I think this is an organisation problem that needs to be sorted out from the coaches.
When it comes to open play, there is not some much room for improvement. Maybe some goals but not much.
Yeah but we conceded over 40 goals for the season. My point still holds.
24 goals in 27 matches with Lindelof and Maguire.
20 goals in 11 matches with other CB constellations.
 

Crashoutcassius

Full Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2013
Messages
8,547
Location
playa del carmen
As many have said, an improvement in cm probably improves our open play defence more than a CB. A cb probably helps us from set plays and also for depth if the first choice aren't available. Clearly from open play lindelof has done fine the last few years
 

711

Verified Bird Expert
Scout
Joined
Dec 10, 2007
Messages
21,614
Location
Don't Sign Old Players
24 goals in 27 matches with Lindelof and Maguire.
20 goals in 11 matches with other CB constellations.
Good stats. Yeah, it would be good to have better CBs, but realistically we aren't going to sign more than two 50m+ players, and we have higher priorities than centre backs.
 

Paul_Scholes18

Full Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2014
Messages
11,102
I feel we got unrealistic goals sometimes. I feel as in general our defending has been fine. Creativity though is our bigger problem and it feels like we need our star players to perform too much. We struggle to find ways to create without a Bruno in form.
I think we should still buy a central defender without spending big and blocking attacking players to get.
 

simonhch

Horrible boss
Joined
Aug 17, 2010
Messages
11,912
Location
Sartorial Guru
Supports
Urban Combat Preparedness
First was that we conceded something like 11 goals in our first three matches when we'd had no preseason. This badly skewed the numbers for the season. Our defensive record after those first three games was undeniably excellent. The thing is, defending isn't just indicative of the back four, it's indicative of how the whole team functions. How much you have to rely on the midfield is also dependent on the competency of your defenders. The better the are, the more you can commit forwards and rely on one on one defending. It is also worth considering that in many games, due to the profile of our CBs, neither of whom are abundant with pace, we had to play a naturally deeper line, which stretches the team out and makes fluid passing more challenging.

I think ultimately the purpose of getting a new CB is not that our current pair are poor, it's that while they are serviceable, they are not naturally complimentary. Having a partner for Maguire who is quicker, enables us to play a much higher line, the benefits of which can be felt throughout the whole team, from midfield to attack. Lindelof, while a good defender, is one that has to be protected by the system.
 
Last edited:

bosskeano

New Member
Newbie
Joined
Dec 8, 2020
Messages
482
We need a more dominate CB in the air but the pace to help cover, which Lindelof or Bailly offer very little of that.

We need a CB that is comfortable on the ball, preferably left footed, and willing to carry the ball out of the defense instead of passing it into a crowded midfield and stitching up his midfield player.

Lastly, a big of a nasty streak to him where he doesn't mind putting the boot to someone at midfield to stop a counter instead of backing off every time
 

Bastian

Full Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2015
Messages
13,060
Yeah but we conceded over 40 goals for the season. My point still holds.
No arguments on that front, I just think we're not as good in attack as we thought, maybe mid-season, we were.

That’s quite some expectations. Who do you want to sign to fulfil all that?
Do you expect less goals conceded in open play as well and if so, how many?

I personally think we can improve a lot on setpieces, but I don’t think a new CB will
improve us more than marginally, maybe one or two goals. I think this is an organisation problem that needs to be sorted out from the coaches.
When it comes to open play, there is not some much room for improvement. Maybe some goals but not much.
With Varane you can play a higher line, he has the recovery pace, he's a lot better in the air than Lindelof (and Bailly for that matter), I think he'd definitely improve the overall balance of the team. I think Shaw has benefitted from having Maguire next to him, stability and someone who talks. I don't know whether Varane would have a positive effect on AWB, but it would be a very nice bonus. I also think he presents more danger in attack than Lindelof. Basically, I think he's an improvement on Lindelof in every aspect and he allows us more tactical flexibility.
 

Carl

has permanently erect nipples
Joined
Mar 6, 2008
Messages
43,097
We do need an upgrade on CB, but in terms of priority it's way down the list. We'll be rolling with Maguire and Lindelof next season and the only way we won't be is if someone internal makes moves.
 

Rightnr

Full Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2015
Messages
3,759
We are not getting a decent CB. Expect the Spanish Lindelof Pau Torres to roll into town and us to look just as bad this season from set pieces.
 

A-man

Full Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2017
Messages
4,479
Good stats. Yeah, it would be good to have better CBs, but realistically we aren't going to sign more than two 50m+ players, and we have higher priorities than centre backs.
I think those stats show how vulnerable we are when we don’t play with our first CN pair. We could obviously use an upgrade of Lindelof, but someone at the same level would be enough. Most of our goals were conceded when one or two of the two main CB didn’t play.

I feel we got unrealistic goals sometimes. I feel as in general our defending has been fine. Creativity though is our bigger problem and it feels like we need our star players to perform too much. We struggle to find ways to create without a Bruno in form.
I think we should still buy a central defender without spending big and blocking attacking players to get.
This is also my feeling. Not that we can’t improve with new and bette to players, but it’s not like everything from defence to attack will be solved with a new top CB.


With Varane you can play a higher line, he has the recovery pace, he's a lot better in the air than Lindelof (and Bailly for that matter), I think he'd definitely improve the overall balance of the team. I think Shaw has benefitted from having Maguire next to him, stability and someone who talks. I don't know whether Varane would have a positive effect on AWB, but it would be a very nice bonus. I also think he presents more danger in attack than Lindelof. Basically, I think he's an improvement on Lindelof in every aspect and he allows us more tactical flexibility.
Varane is a great player, even one of the best in the world, who most likely would improve us. If we can get him for a good price we must go for it. However we shouldn’t be naive and think he would improve us in every aspect.. One benefit is he’s faster, but I don’t think that automatically will compensate for Maguire and allow us to play a high line. The complimentary CB of Maguire will always need to fall back at times, not alway push and maintain the line. Also, I am not sure a high line is working well with our midfield. They lose possession often and are not so creative. The Villareal game is a good example. I also wouldn’t say Varane offers more in the attack. He’s scored roughly 3 goals per 100 games in his career and doesn’t have the same good passing foot as Lindelof who also offers assists.
 

AgentP

Full Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2013
Messages
4,877
Location
Chennai
We need a defender with pace, decent aerial ability and good one-on-one defending skills. I would like us to play with a higher line from next season. For that, we need a sweeper keeper which Henderson can do at a decent level. Then, we need atleast one of our defenders to have good pace on them. If we play that way, our defenders will be expected to be better in one-on-one situations. It's not just about getting a better defender. Getting a defender with the above qualities will let us play a certain style of football that we haven't been able to so far.
 

A-man

Full Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2017
Messages
4,479
Yet another thread of excuses
Instead of pointless comments, give your view on it. What would you expect in terms of conceded goals in open play and from set pieces?

Would a new CB decrease conceded goals in open play to lower than 0.46 per game?
As written,
Maguire + Lindelof 24 goals conceded in 26 games which is ratio in between Chelsea and City

Other combos of CBs gave 20 goals in 12 matches which is the same as Sheffield United.
 

criticalanalysis

Full Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2015
Messages
3,036
Instead of pointless comments, give your view on it. What would you expect in terms of conceded goals in open play and from set pieces?

Would a new CB decrease conceded goals in open play to lower than 0.46 per game?
As written,
Maguire + Lindelof 24 goals conceded in 26 games which is ratio in between Chelsea and City

Other combos of CBs gave 20 goals in 12 matches which is the same as Sheffield United.
You're asking the wrong question with a narrative that doesn't make sense. It's almost as if you're suggesting our defensive record exists in a vacuum due to Lindelof and Maguire.

@Bastian and @simonhch's posts are the perfect response to what a better centre back could do for the team. It still wouldn't fix fundamental issues (like movement on/off the ball, set pieces and breaking down teams etc), which is purely down to coaching but on a one-to-one individual level, a different profile of player would improve us.

You're too fixated on 'goals conceded' and crediting the centre back parternership as if they're the sole factor for this stat. You'll readily complain about our centre midfield losing posession (despite someone like Fred having a very high interaction rate on the ball with high passing stats) and not being creative enough but do you honestly believe our goals conceded would be the same if it was Fred, Pogba and Bruno in a three all season i.e no McT or when Pogba is tasked on the left?

A better or different defender may not 'improve' our defence but they don't have to because we are a solid defensive team regardless. Maguire, Shaw, AWB, Fred and the hard working nature of Bruno/Cavani is a very strong spine. The idea is that we don't to rely that much on those mentioned for zonal and transitional defensive work, so that we can play a bit more expansively and exploit our individual quality.

@simonhch said it best:

Lindelof, while a good defender, is one that has to be protected by the system.
Lindelof will not jeopardise his positioning and takes the safest risk option by not engaging in individual duels or try to stop attacks closer to source. Tactics or not, that's just his playing style and nature. This means we have to fall back much quicker as a team so we don't get exposed in transition. This whole 'Maguire needs covering and we need someone as the last man' like it's some specialised task is ridiculous. It's defending 101 and any capable defender should be working in tandem in a partnership. Lindelof is the 'best' and most experienced out of all our current centre backs not named Maguire in this but he's not at an elite level or masterful in this respect. The suggestion that we may 'lose' this quality or that we should be fearful a new centre back may be worse at this (Varane, a multiple Champions League, World Cup and La Liga winner no less) is terribly convenient to elevate Lindelof.

The expectation is not that we suddenly have peak Vidic and Rio. The expectation is that we move up the field 5-10 yards collectively and that we don't spend that much effort doing vertical tracking back (box to box) because a stronger defender can close down threats better. I would say the same about passing as well, who I'm sure many would agree that whilst Lindelof has technique, doesn't show enough in terms of impetus and drive.

Why are we treating Lindelof like he's Rio reincarnate and a massive individual contributing factor to our team and that it's very difficult to replace him? It's really bizzare.
 
Last edited:

cyril C

Full Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2017
Messages
2,048
Why Lindelof or Bailly must be sold because we are looking for a new CB?

When all available, I am sure Ole or any fan, will have a clear idea on who will be our best pairing. But in a season of 50 games, you will always need reliable and decent 3rd choice CB plus a few more. Rio-Vidic-VDS would never be reliable, without the support of Brown, Evans and JOS.

The shear problem of our current CB(s), is that there is inadequate competition on places. Players like Bailly thinks he should be the automatic choice as soon as he can start walking. Get rid of Rojo and Jones, and fund a decent new CB. If, players like Tuanzebe or Bailly think they need more game time, and demand to move on, so be it.
 

hobbers

Full Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2013
Messages
11,329
Our defence is shit. Worst at defending set pieces in the league, worst at the basics in other words.

We play two fairly untalented high energy sitting midfielders to compensate for how slow and scared our defence is.

Lindelof is diabolical in the air. He may as well be the player on the front or far post on corners for how much use he usually is.
 

A-man

Full Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2017
Messages
4,479
You're asking the wrong question with a narrative that doesn't make sense. It's almost as if you're suggesting our defensive record exists in a vacuum due to Lindelof and Maguire.

@Bastian and @simonhch's posts are the perfect response to what a better centre back could do for the team. It still wouldn't fix fundamental issues (like movement on/off the ball, set pieces and breaking down teams etc), which is purely down to coaching but on a one-to-one individual level, a different profile of player would improve us.

You're too fixated on 'goals conceded' and crediting the centre back parternership as if they're the sole factor for this stat. You'll readily complain about our centre midfield losing posession (despite someone like Fred having a very high interaction rate on the ball with high passing stats) and not being creative enough but do you honestly believe our goals conceded would be the same if it was Fred, Pogba and Bruno in a three all season i.e no McT or when Pogba is tasked on the left?

A better or different defender may not 'improve' our defence but they don't have to because we are a solid defensive team regardless. Maguire, Shaw, AWB, Fred and the hard working nature of Bruno/Cavani is a very strong spine. The idea is that we don't to rely that much on those mentioned for zonal and transitional defensive work, so that we can play a bit more expansively and exploit our individual quality.

@simonhch said it best:



Lindelof will not jeopardise his positioning and takes the safest risk option by not engaging in individual duels or try to stop attacks closer to source. Tactics or not, that's just his playing style and nature. This means we have to fall back much quicker as a team so we don't get exposed in transition. This whole 'Maguire needs covering and we need someone as the last man' like it's some specialised task is ridiculous. It's defending 101 and any capable defender should be working in tandem in a partnership. Lindelof is the 'best' and most experienced out of all our current centre backs not named Maguire in this but he's not at an elite level or masterful in this respect. The suggestion that we may 'lose' this quality or that we should be fearful a new centre back may be worse at this (Varane, a multiple Champions League, World Cup and La Liga winner no less) is terribly convenient to elevate Lindelof.

The expectation is not that we suddenly have peak Vidic and Rio. The expectation is that we move up the field 5-10 yards collectively and that we don't spend that much effort doing vertical tracking back (box to box) because a stronger defender can close down threats better. I would say the same about passing as well, who I'm sure many would agree that whilst Lindelof has technique, doesn't show enough in terms of impetus and drive.

Why are we treating Lindelof like he's Rio reincarnate and a massive individual contributing factor to our team and that it's very difficult to replace him? It's really bizzare.
I never said anything about a vacuum. But we concede few goals with our first CB pair, especially in open play. Obviously there are other tasks than defending for a CB, but still it is important. This is also a common reason why people want an upgrade; because they believe our defence is poor. It’s when we concede goals people want to upgrade.

The whole he “has to be protected by the system” is obviously not true. We play the same way with other CBs. We don’t really have many options. Just because McFred are poor with the ball doesn’t mean they some kind of superstars defensively. Many big teams have even better defensive power in midfield. It is strange when people say we need to protect Lindelof, when in reality the only thing discussed is how we can protect Maguire with a fast CB.
 

Red_toad

Full Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2010
Messages
9,000
Location
DownUnder
I'd expect the two players to compliment each other better. The two we have are a tad too similar and share some similar weaknesses. We could do with a more aggressive, faster defender who's good in the air to partner Harry in my opinion.
 

r3idy

Correctly predicted France to win World Cup 2018
Joined
Jul 7, 2012
Messages
777
Location
Near Old Trafford
Our defence is shit. Worst at defending set pieces in the league, worst at the basics in other words.

We play two fairly untalented high energy sitting midfielders to compensate for how slow and scared our defence is.

Lindelof is diabolical in the air. He may as well be the player on the front or far post on corners for how much use he usually is.
Hyperbole much ?

The addition of a faster and more assertive CB and a very good holding midfielder that complements Pogba / Bruno will be a massive upgrade for the whole team dynamic. We would be better suited to defend higher up the pitch as a whole team, not just the defensive back four.

Given Inter are now in default for the payment of Lukaku, quite happily take Brozovic off their hands to be single centre mid / deepest centre mid. He has all the qualities of a GOOD defensive midfielder and can recycle the ball quickly.
 

golden_blunder

Site admin. Manchester United fan
Staff
Joined
Jun 1, 2000
Messages
101,268
Location
Dublin, Ireland
I never said anything about a vacuum. But we concede few goals with our first CB pair, especially in open play. Obviously there are other tasks than defending for a CB, but still it is important. This is also a common reason why people want an upgrade; because they believe our defence is poor. It’s when we concede goals people want to upgrade.

The whole he “has to be protected by the system” is obviously not true. We play the same way with other CBs. We don’t really have many options. Just because McFred are poor with the ball doesn’t mean they some kind of superstars defensively. Many big teams have even better defensive power in midfield. It is strange when people say we need to protect Lindelof, when in reality the only thing discussed is how we can protect Maguire with a fast CB.
No one is talking about protecting maguire, we are talking about complimenting him with a proper defender who will have a bit of pace. However that’s not to say that Maguire has ever been done for pace due to his positioning
 

golden_blunder

Site admin. Manchester United fan
Staff
Joined
Jun 1, 2000
Messages
101,268
Location
Dublin, Ireland
I just do t know how many threads we need to discuss the same things “look guys we only conceded x so therefore Lindelof must ge good”
Bs, we saw in the final how his individual errors cost the club. Why are we protecting one player? Because he’s the same nationality? It doesn’t make sense
 

A-man

Full Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2017
Messages
4,479
I just do t know how many threads we need to discuss the same things “look guys we only conceded x so therefore Lindelof must ge good”
Bs, we saw in the final how his individual errors cost the club. Why are we protecting one player? Because he’s the same nationality? It doesn’t make sense
You can just leave the thread, simple as that. You don’t need to take every opportunity you can to shit on Lindelof. That’s is your own choice.
You think using the resultat from the whole season for evaluation is BS, but think one goal in one match tells more?

This thread was about: how much do you expect the defensive output to improve with a new CB.
 

golden_blunder

Site admin. Manchester United fan
Staff
Joined
Jun 1, 2000
Messages
101,268
Location
Dublin, Ireland
To answer your question; I expect it to improve significantly when we upgrade the team weak link. Other defenders will become more confident, the stronger defence will allow our attacking side to flourish more. Less individual mistakes from one person will surely reflect better in metrics as well
 

R0nald0

Full Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2006
Messages
749
Location
Under a rug on top of a mountain under the stars.
Stats are looking at this through just one lens. Our goals conceded were horrendous and so we had to employ a very defensive mindset with 2 holding midfileders plus a right back who is defensive too. The reason for our goals conceded being low is because we compensated for poor centre backs with a more defensive philosophy. My hope is that a great partner for Maguire and an excellent defensive midfielder will allow Pogba to play in central midfield in a similar 4-1-4-1 formation that City employ
 

podurban2

Full Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2010
Messages
5,370
Location
Stockholm
I just do t know how many threads we need to discuss the same things “look guys we only conceded x so therefore Lindelof must ge good”
Bs, we saw in the final how his individual errors cost the club. Why are we protecting one player? Because he’s the same nationality? It doesn’t make sense
Who is defending him because of having the same nationality?
 

A-man

Full Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2017
Messages
4,479
To answer your question; I expect it to improve significantly when we upgrade the team weak link. Other defenders will become more confident, the stronger defence will allow our attacking side to flourish more. Less individual mistakes from one person will surely reflect better in metrics as well
I personally think the biggest improvement would be that we get one more relatable CB. Even if you don’t share the opinion that our first CB pair is competent, I believe we are very vulnerable when any of the two is out. That’s supported by metrics. Only 2 lost games at the start of the season for example, and 8 draws of which 6 are clean sheets. It’s the other matches with other CB constellations that are more urgent to improve.
 

roonster09

Hercule Poirot of the scouting world
Scout
Joined
May 10, 2009
Messages
28,273
Good OP @A-man

On the topic, I don't know the exact numbers or set the exact numbers for the improvement. Defensive is more than just CBs, so we can't always just go with CB pairing.

For me CB is a priority position after CM/RW. Not that Lindelof had poor season but we need better CB to play alongside Maguire. Lindelof should be 3rd choice CB which isn't bad at all, he can play 30 games easily.
 

villain

Hates Beyoncé
Joined
Apr 22, 2014
Messages
12,784
A partner to Maguire who: 1 - isn't soft as shit, or 2 - isn't an injury prone mad man.

Someone who is dominant enough to step up in times when Maguire is injured or resting.
Someone who instills confidence that they won't shit the bed and make mistakes that lead to chances created every time they're singled out by the opposition.
 

A-man

Full Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2017
Messages
4,479
Good OP @A-man

On the topic, I don't know the exact numbers or set the exact numbers for the improvement. Defensive is more than just CBs, so we can't always just go with CB pairing.

For me CB is a priority position after CM/RW. Not that Lindelof had poor season but we need better CB to play alongside Maguire. Lindelof should be 3rd choice CB which isn't bad at all, he can play 30 games easily.
Absolutely and agree with most of it, however there must at the same time be some kind of expectations and goals that can be measured. If we sign a 50+ million and 250 k/week CB it means we chose to not strengthen other areas. For it to be worth it we must at least improve defensively

I think the lowest hanging fruits are 1. to improve at setpieces which is a coaching issue imo, and 2. to improve the defence in the matches where Maguire and Lindelof don’t start.

To do that it would be “enough” with one more CB at the similar level, who has showed he can handle PL, and save the big money for a CM and a RW, or a striker depending on opportunities. But that’s just my opinion.
 

ThinkTank@Cafe

Full Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2019
Messages
1,549
Location
Kazakhstan
Here the stats from EPL website:
https://www.premierleague.com/clubs/12/Manchester-United/stats?se=363


Goals conceded: 44
Goals conceded per match: 1.16
Errors leading to goals: 6
Goals from set pieces (OP stat only for Mag-Lindelof): 7

I expect a return of minus 10 from a new CB.
GA from setpieces: down to 2-3 (4-5 goals improvement)
Errors leading to goal down to 2 (4 goals improvement)
GA from open play: minus 2-3 goals: improvement in overall defensive stability.

As per EPL, we conceded only one goal from a counter. This stat challenges a popular opinion at the Cafe that Maguire’s speed is a big issue. No, it’s not. Lindelof weaknesses is a much bigger issue.

I would consider Botman from Lille as a partner for Maguire instead of older, more injury prone and expensive (wages) Varane.

10 GA improvement will be worth at least 10 pts improvement in league table.

Buying a new CB is a safe investment with high return. 10 pts for £50 million investment. Don’t get me wrong, buying a RW or DM is very important, but a new CB is a must this season.