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Season Review : Error-prone Defence

Maguire and Lindelof

Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof

Manchester United had a decent season in regards to defence. Solid and steady but they were the creators of their own problems. Lot of individual defensive errors and De Gea’s miserable season adds to it. United ranked 3rd in terms of goals conceded just behind 2nd placed City by a goal. However, as many would agree the defensive side of the Premier League has been quite poor this season and fans hoped the defence to be better. The main highlight of United’s defence has been the lack of pace of the centre backs and being caught off guard against pacey opponents.

On the brighter side, Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been tremendous for United defensively. He cemented his authority on the right side of defence and was arguably one of the best right backs in the league. New signing Maguire captained the side after the departure of Ashley Young to Inter Milan. He had a mix season. Lindelof was good too but lacked pace. Shaw too was good and his link up play with Rashford was spot on but lacked the final ball at times. With his first full season as manager, Ole would certainly look to strengthen his side in the near future and a pacey centre back looks important.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka : 8/10

A good start to his United career, bossed up the right back and pocketed Sterling in the Manchester Derby. To be honest since his arrival he has matured a lot. His attacking side of the game has improved and not to mention he already was a tremendous 1 v 1 defender. I could hardly name anyone who went past him this season, such was his defending skills. He has simply been a rock at the back. With 4 assissts to his name this season and his young age, there’s still scope for improvement. He even earned an England call up this season and everybody could see the potential in him. Let’s just hope he could take home the positives from this season and work on being more of an attacking threat.

aaron wan-bissaka
Aaron Wan-Bissaka with the ball

Harry Maguire : 7/10

Manchester United signed Harry Maguire for a whooping £80million give or take making him the most expensive defender in the world. Again, people would debate that United overpaid for him which isn’t quite wrong too. English players seem to be overpriced in the Premier League but having said that he wasn’t bad either. He transformed our defence and took us to conceding 36 goals only to the 54 goals conceded the previous season.

He featured in all of the Premier League games for Manchester United and kept 13 clean sheets in total. Maguire even contributed to 3 goals and 3 assissts for the team in all competitions. His ball carrying ability, aerial presence and passing are his strengths whereas he lacks pace. With a pacey counterpart he could thrive in the United defence but people might argue that the same could be true for Lindelof as well. Ultimately it is upto Ole to work it out and how he sees fit.

Harry Maguire vs sheffield utd
Harry Maguire

Victor Lindelof : 7/10

To give Victor Lindelof a rating any lower or higher than Maguire wouldn’t be fair. They pretty much had the same sort of season and were excellent against some of the opponents but again lacked pace. He appeared 47 times for us in all competitions and kept 19 clean sheets. He is good in 1 v 1 situations but again lacks real pace. His aerial ability isn’t the best either. Even though Lindelof is a great defender, we need a world class centre back to take our game to the next level. With Champions League approaching next season, it won’t be easy without depth in defence.

Victor Lindelof
Victor Lindelof looks for a pass

Luke Shaw : 7/10

Many people would hate me for giving him a 7 out of 10 but hear me out. Luke Shaw was in and out of the team but against Wolves, he stepped up and showed his A-game. He kept Adama Traore, one of the most feared wingers in Premier League, in his pocket. He even played a left sided centre back role against City and Chelsea in which he thrived, winning both the games. In the 18 match unbeaten run, he only missed 61 minutes because of injury. His link up play with the attacking three, especially Rashford, was brilliant.

Its a shame that he got injured against Southampton on the later part of the season again and missed the remaining fixtures. Shaw had a good season and when fit, he’s one of the top 5 left backs in the league. He averaged a 87.5% passing accuracy and after his injury, his importance in the left side was evident. Hope so he could remain fit the next season and show us the real Shaw we’ve been waiting to see.

Luke shaw
Shaw smiling.

Brandon Williams : 7/10

Williams has been really good for us this season. He has been a good cover for Shaw. He’s hungry, ferocious and pacey. He was quick to adjust to the first team even though he was right footed. He made 17 appearances in the Premier league and scored the first goal in the comeback against Shieffield United. He’s only 20 now and surely looks a player with lots of potential for the future.

Brandon Williams
Brandon Williams

Eric Bailly : 5.5/10

Eric has his chances limited due to the arrival of Harry Maguire. He also has been injured pretty much for more than half of the season. He made only 11 appearances this season which isn’t enough to be honest. His best performance this season was against Chelsea probably where he blocked Kovacic’s shot which was through on goal. He actually didn’t have much of a season and injuries are ruining his career at the moment.

Phil Jones : 4/10

Well a rating of 4 out of 10 is average for him and for a player who has played little over 5 games in a season. Clearly a deadwood at the club for so many years and its time for him to move on and play out the rest of his career. He even shockingly scored a goal against Tranmere in the FA Cup but that’s all he’s done.

Timoty Fosu-Mensah : 6/10

He appeared only 6 times for us this season. Injury ridden season. Nothing flashy or bad around him, he just doesn’t feature much. Injuries ruining his career and affecting the playtime a young lad should get.

Diogo Dalot : 5/10

Seems like he isn’t one of Ole’s favourites because there’s nothing wrong with him. A young lad who’s decent in attacking but poor in defence. Only 21 years of age, should have recieved more game time but maybe he isn’t in Ole’s plans for the future. He should look for clubs so that he could build up a future. Kinda sad to let a young player with potential to be a decent right back go but that’s probably the most likely outcome.

Axel Tuanzebe : 6/10

A United academy graduate and a player for the future. Only 8 appearances for him this season due to a long injury. Hope so he could recover quick and well for the new season. He was even named captain for United in the Europa League for a match. Loads of potential and hopefully Ole will get the best out of him.

Tuanzebe captains United in Europa League

Conclusion

Manchester United has a decent enough defence but with that being said lacks pace. Pace is really essential in the modern game against pacey wingers and strikers. With a world class centre back, United could take their defence to the title contenders level. Also, their is a lot of potenital for the youngsters to emerge and appear more in the first team next season. The likes of Williams, Tuanzebe, Fosu-Mensah should follow on the footsteps of the past United greats and cement their place in the first team in the near future.

What do you think who would be ideal for United to add in their defence?

Also read : Season Review : The Lethal Attackers

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