Manchester United’s defense has been a subject of troll and criticism since the start of the season. Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans and Phil Jones were taught to be successors of United’s defense and step into the boots of Vidic and Ferdinand. At least, Sir Alex Ferguson had this idea.
After early horrifying defensive signs against Leicester City, Swansea city and MK Dons, the especially inexperienced backline of Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans and Phil Jones and young upcoming academy graduates like Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett were a subject of criticism. No one from the footballing world, not even United fans, knew how Louis van Gaal managed this team.
Rubbishing all the trolls and fears, the young back line of Marcos Rojo, Smalling, Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Paddy McNair has come out in flying colours. Manchester United has conceded 31 goals this season, as compared to 40 last season at this stage of the league. David de Gea has been the man behind the defense and has been the difference in many matches but a lot of credit goes to the Manchester United back line. The defense has grown a lot and defenders like Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have been one of the most improved players. The summer signings of Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind have quickly settled and have become key members of Louis van Gaal’s philosophy. To add to the delight for Manchester United fans, the emergence of Paddy McNair from under-21 ranks has been quite commendable. Not among the best defenders in the league, this young & inexperienced backline is the third best defense in the league right now and the partnership of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling has produced a 100% win result. A large amount of credit for this goes to Louis van Gaal.
The defense, though not so convincing, has been good enough and has been an unseen and major reason for the team’s solid position after a dismal season for the strikers. Where United will finish is yet to be seen. But the defenders continue to impress.