Balance The Key At Man Utd… And They Lack It!

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A lot was made of Manchester United’s huge summer spending spree. But as Angel Di Maria, Daley Blind, Ander Herrera and Radamel Falcao all arrived to much acclaim, many of us were pointing out a new centre-back was needed if United were to be fully equipped for the rigours of the Premier League.

Louis van Gaal’s men looked good in their 4-0 crushing victory over QPR. They started well against new-boys Leicester City scoring twice in the first sixteen minutes and seemed to have reclaimed their strut. But within a minute of the second strike they conceded a goal. The defence was once again weak and not fully committed.

Di Maria, Wayne Rooney and all the other attacking players continued to impress going forward and a third United goal was found just twelve minutes into the second half. That should have been game over.

But alas Leicester kept trying to go and attack the United end and the inexperienced duo of Chris Smalling and Tyler Blackett never looked composed or ready for the challenge. Daley Blind was soon swamped without much help from his teammates in midfield.

City’s second (a Dave Nugent penalty) was unjust as Leicester’s Jamie Vardy fouled Rafael in the build up. But as soon as it became clear that the United right-back wasn’t getting the refs call he was too hasty in his return challenge. Surely by now the Brazilian knows not to go all out to get at an attacker from behind in the penalty area. His naivety sums up Man Utd’s defending so far this season.

The ‘Red Devils’ totally caved in after that penalty. Two minutes later the Championship winners equalised. United again looked soft in the centre of defence and failed numerous times to clear the danger. Veteran Esteban Cambiasso scored neatly from the edge of the box and send the home fans into dreamland.

As United then went in search of the winner they left more space at the back and that was a mistake. Their defence isn’t strong enough or has the experience to be trusted in such a situation. They went missing and Leicester played a nice ball through the middle and Vardy went through and slotted home.

They Premiership novices didn’t sit back and hold on. They once again spotted United’s weakness and got in behind again. Tyler Blackett showed he isn’t ready for such a huge role in this Manchester United team. He hacked down Vardy and got sent off. City had another pen and they once again took their chance.

This wasn’t a freak result. For over a year now United have been poor at the back. They knew experienced duo Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand were leaving, yet didn’t bring in an experienced head who can talk the younger players through a game and close up shop when they have a lead.

People often say that offence is the best form of defence. It isn’t always true. United twice had a two goal lead and still through away the game, losing 5-3. That is pathetic. Leicester had great fight in their play and saw Man Utd’s weaknesses and capitalised on them. They deserved the win, even though they had a lucky call from the referee.

Blackett isn’t ready for full-time first team football. When Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans have been at their best at Old Trafford they’ve always had leaders beside them holding their hand.

Manchester United need a ball winning leader at the back, today proved that big time!

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