Is it me or does he not seem as short anymore, seems to be coping well aerially. Started in Ajax academy as a CB so understands the role well. His excellent reading of the game is helping him massively though.
Tell you what though, i've been impressed by him strength wise at times. Has held his own when in duels. Think his intelligence might help him here though in knowing when and when not to get involved with the physical stuff. Positioning seems to be cancelling out pace issues mostly.
Only Monk so far has worked our CB partnership out, play 2 strikers directly against them. It's easy for Smalling to just concentrate on the striker while Blind defends the space. When I saw the Liverpool team sheet yesterday, expected Ings and Benteke to play as a front 2 with Firmino behind, 3 players playing in their best positions. I think they could have done more against us if they'd done this, Benteke better with a partner and Ings caused our defence loads of problems last season at OT in a front 2.
I guess in a way that is to be expected? He's not a natural centre back and was playing with yet another new partner...
That added with the fact that Rojo doesn't fully convince me and Varela is still young and I'm not surprised he wasn't great. But at the same time as one of our experienced players you'd want him to take the lead and guide the youngsters.