The 7 year search for a centre back pairing

Itsallinthemind

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2018
Messages
307
#2
Good thread. It does almost beggar belief that a club of our size hasn’t been able to sort this out. It’s just amateurish.
 

IDFD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2017
Messages
2,644
Age
31
#3
I honestly think if Fergie had stayed the Evans/Jones Evans/Smalling partnership would look fantastic.
 

jsp

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2012
Messages
6,940
#4
I think Evans would still be around but I think he'd have binned Jones and or Smalling by now as he'd know they're not good enough. I don't think he ever really believed in either of them which is why whenever the pressure was on in a big game he went back to Rio & Vidic. I think the potential was there in Jones to be a really top player but injuries killed him and I don't think that's ever been down to management it's just bad luck like Wilshere his body can't handle the riggors of the pro game.

I do wonder how much coaching and player development is going on at Utd these days as it's hard to find many players who've come to the club and improved in the last few years. I think a lot of that is down to the individual players staying behind practising your skills working one to one with coaches etc but also are the managers opening their eyes to new ideas to improve them.
 

Mr C

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2017
Messages
1,856
#5
To me it says the quality we have come used to if we think Evanss is one of best recent options.

It's a tough position to get right though
 

jsp

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2012
Messages
6,940
#6
I think Utd have tried to sign players to develop at centre back rather than the proven product.

Rio when we signed him was hitting his prime after the 2002 world cup he still continued to improve but he was very well advanced in his development as was Vidic clubs all over Europe were watching him and he was ready to step up.

Utd have been buying players 20-23 with very little experience and more importantly we haven't continued the development of these players apart from Smalling who I think has improved. The only experienced CB who came in was Rojo but he'd not really proven himself at the highest level he'd done well in Russia & Portugal which are good leagues but not great leagues.

We've took gambles on players we hoped to develop Smalling, Jones, Bailly & Lindelof into world class players that didn't/hasn't happened there's still time for Bailly/Lindelof but they're just not progressing for whatever reason.

If you gamble on potential you risk buying twice and developing a centre back is tough because he needs to play which means you have to accept they'll make mistakes but as a manager can you afford that risk when you don't have a high scoring team?
 

IDFD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2017
Messages
2,644
Age
31
#7
Writing on the other thread about what players would improve under certain managers. Where do our back 4/CB's partnerships rank in the league?

Would you take Smalling/Lindelof over:

Alderwierald/Vertonghen
Stones/Laporte
Luis/Rudiger
Koscielney/Mustafi
Van Dijk/Gomes
Evans/Maguire
Mina/Keane
Tarkowski/Mee

I don't think you can make a strong case over any of them. Putting us 9th in the league. It's obvious where we are lacking. We can make an argument the squad should be finishing in the top 4 but that's always going to be hard to do with the 9th best CB pairing and your CEO refusing to sanction a signing.
 

Ben Townsend

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2018
Messages
71
Age
26
#8
Writing on the other thread about what players would improve under certain managers. Where do our back 4/CB's partnerships rank in the league?

Would you take Smalling/Lindelof over:

Alderwierald/Vertonghen
Stones/Laporte
Luis/Rudiger
Koscielney/Mustafi
Van Dijk/Gomes
Evans/Maguire
Mina/Keane
Tarkowski/Mee

I don't think you can make a strong case over any of them. Putting us 9th in the league. It's obvious where we are lacking. We can make an argument the squad should be finishing in the top 4 but that's always going to be hard to do with the 9th best CB pairing and your CEO refusing to sanction a signing.
@IDFD Interesting way of looking at things.
 

jsp

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2012
Messages
6,940
#10
@IDFD

Would you take Smalling/Lindelof over:

Alderwierald/Vertonghen ~ No
Stones/LaPorte ~ No
Luis/Rudiger ~ No
Koscielney/Mustafi ~ Yes
Van Dijk/Gomes ~ No
Evans/Maguire ~ Yes
Mina/Keane ~ Yes
Tarkowski/Mee ~ Yes

I think you're over selling the Leicester, Everton & Burnley defences and the stats are pretty damning on the Chelsea defence but it's a valid point our centre back pairing isn't good enough but really it's an entire team problem here.

If you compare our starting midfields and attacks to our rivals I don't think we really come out on top in many of those comparisons now it could be argued that on pure talent we have better players but the pairings don't work and the balance isn't right.

I mean how many of our players could you say improve the starting XI of our big 5 rivals? I think De Gea & Pogba would walk into any team but after that I don't think there's anyone who our rivals would look at and go that guy is better than what we have in that position.

Mourinho had a point when he said this team punched above it's weight finishing a distant 2nd to City last year some used it to defend him but really I don't think he built on that first season he didn't really solve any of the problems we had in that first season and new cracks emerged that are causing bigger problems this season. Mainly the defence that was protected by super Dave is really cracking up this season as Dave has had a little dip in form and no improvements were made in the summer.
 

IDFD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2017
Messages
2,644
Age
31
#11
Evans/Maguire are both better than our best defender.
Tarkowski has recently been called up to the England team ahead of Smalling and Mee is as good as Lindelof in the Prem at this moment in time
I don’t even think the Everton one is that debatable.

Our CB’s certainly don’t walk in to any of those sides with ease.
 

boothstownred

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2011
Messages
4,403
#12
There seems to be a misconception that as soon as we buy a cb or 2 we will suddenly attack like brazil. Personally I see deficiencies throughout the team. Yes if we defend better and stop conceding bad goals we will have a few more points which keeps us interested longer but I really don't see it improving our attacking play. Jose still will employ the same tactics but apart from martial on a good day we don't have too many game changers.
 

jsp

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2012
Messages
6,940
#13
I think centre backs work as pairs 2 average players can make a good pair as they work together and compliment each other but take them out of that pair and they can look terrible. I think Utd have average quality players but they haven't really stumbled upon a pairing that compliment and bring the best out of each other which is why we are where we are. Evans had a great career rebuilding spell at West Brom up until last season when he was part of a team that were relegated and I think that was partly down to him declining as a force and he's struggled to break into that Leicester team.

Smalling isn't left out of the England squad because of his ability to defend as a straight up defender he's as good as anything England have but Southgate wants his two centre backs to be able to play out from the back. Smalling has had enough chances and failed under other managers he'd rather give chances to younger players who fit his playing style.

Lindelöf just won the Swedish player of the year award for 2018... I know it baffled me to but he's a bit of a rock for them.

I think to some extent you have to look at what our rivals have done in the market since Mourinho arrived.

Chelsea ~ Luiz £34m & Rudiger £30m
City ~ LaPorte £50m & Stones £50m
Liverpool ~ Van Dijk £70m
Spurs ~ Sanches £40m.
Arsenal ~ Mustafi £35m
Utd ~ Bailly £30m & Lindelöf £30m

These are the big money signings made by our rivals in an attempt to improve the defence in the last 2 seasons.

I personally think Utd have bought cheap twice and gambled on development without having that senior player to guide them through the tough times and in Bailly we seem to have another guy who either picks up a lot of injuries or isn't prepared to play through the pain barrier.
 
Top