Manchester United - What Can We Expect From United - The Defence
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What Can We Expect From United - The Defence

So the big kick-off is looming and the team is in acceptable shape. But how acceptable it is, actually? We'll have a look at it, starting with the defence.

The defence, which is easily the most settled part of the team, even though there are question marks over the right-back and the goalkeeper positions. But the concerns are far from serious, if I'm honest.

In goal, Edwin van der Sar is getting older but he's still top-class and equal to anyone in the league, even to Petr Cech who was never the same after the incident at Reading. Much was made of Ben Foster's shaky showing at the Community Shield but we all know he's got the talent while Tomasz Kuszczak is a reliable understudy, even though I wouldn't like him in goal for a prolonged period of time.

At right-back, we have John O'Shea, Wes Brown, Gary Neville and Rafael da Silva. That's a lot, isn't it? Well, yes, but still it's a position of concern. O'Shea is rather limited, lacks pace and offers very little in attack. Brown is injury-prone, Neville's past it while Rafael has huge potential but he has a lot to learn about defending. I guess Brown will be the first choice if he remains fit.

Centre-back? The strongest part of the team is the Vidic-Ferdinand pairing. Jonny Evans is a brilliant backup, a future first choice - we have great hopes for him. Brown and O'Shea can both provide cover for this position and there is young Craig Cathcart as well even though he's likely to be loaned out again.

At left-back, Evra is brilliant, still in his prime. But we've got little cover for him: either O'Shea's got to do it, which is not the best solution - in addition to his limitations listed above, he's also right-footed which is not the best for a left-back. Fabio da Silva is the same as his brother: huge prospect but with plenty to learn. Oh, and it would be good if he could complete a competitive game without getting injured, something he hasn't quite managed yet.

As I said, all in all we are quite well off in terms of the defence. This was the strongest part of the team last season, they gave a stability which was the real bedrock of our third consecutive title. We can confidently expect more of the same this season.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday August 14 2009

Time: 11:22AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Yeah, If we can get Brown, Rio, Vidic and Evra out in the majority of games, we'll be keeping alot of clean sheets next season. So far though, things aren't looking good as they seem to be dropping like flies - AGAIN!!! I honestly think that if we can get our starting back five lined up with Valencia and Hargreaves in front of them by February, we will be looking at another run of clean sheets until the end of the season.
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14/08/2009 11:58:00

I'd say left back is more of an issue than right back. Approaching March last season Evra started to look jaded, and we need someone to come in who is reliable if he gets injured or knackered. Agree with you about the Da Silva twins but I think Neville will still be useful for certain games and totally agree with you about Brown. Kuscack isn't as bad as some people make out, if he had put that performance in on Sunday there would have been anarchy amongst United fans. As it is Fosters played sporadically due to his injury problems and Sunday leaves a lot to be desired as it was his first game for United against a top side. Its becoming extremely frustrating that we seem to get the bulk of our injuries in defence this has been happening for 4 years now. If Evra does get injured there is nobody in the squad who can reliably both defend and attack.
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14/08/2009 12:14:00

United's defence is their biggest strength but their least endearing feature. Camel Gob will be very busy this season, but he is good enough to shore up most of the gaps. If he gets injured you are fried bread.
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15/08/2009 05:16:00


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