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Football News: Manchester United Can't Improve Until Injured Players Return

Manchester United Can't Improve Until Injured Players Return

Last season Manchester United's defence was pretty settled, Shaw, Martinez and Varane started 95% of the games. With Dalot starting between August and February, and AWB starting most of the games between February and June.

We had a settled defence with two quality CB's, and unsurprisingly our defending was a massive improvement on the previous season.

Fast forward to this season and I think the three stalwarts of our defence from last season have only started 1 game together. Martinez came back from his injury too soon and just wasn't ready. Varane has picked up a few more niggles early on this season and Shaw has unfortunately been injured. Add to that Malacia has been injured the whole season, Dalot had a niggle to start the season and AWB is now out. Is it any wonder that defensively we have looked all at sea.

Maguire, Lindelof and an aging Jonny Evans have been almost ever presences in our defence, while at fullback we have had to keep chopping and changing with Dalot, Reguilon and Amrabat all having to play stints at LB, while Lindelof has had to step in at RB on occasion.

That sort of defensive chaos alone would be enough to destabilise most teams. Yet most teams have players in their squad with characteristics that suit the overalls playing philosophy of the squad. Unfortunately, at United due to horrific mismanagement of our recruitment, we do not have a squad of players with skill sets that suit a specific way of playing.

However, that injury nightmare hasn't happened in a bubble, but in conjunction with several other exasperating situations combining with it.

We have a new goalkeeper to try and settle in and who needs to build up an understanding with his defenders, but unfortunately, his defence is a merry-go-round of changing players.

While we have also seen the decline of Casemiro this season. He was immense last year, at times he held our midfield together on his own. Yet towards the end of last season his level started to drop slightly. This season he has been poor, and that has seen our midfield fall apart. Players brought in to strengthen the midfield (Mount and Amrabat) have been injured themselves for large parts of the season so far.

While Eriksen has also seen his ability to impact the match for the whole 90 minutes decline as well. The combination of our two best midfielders from last season as well as our new midfielders struggling to get on the pitch due to injuries has resulted in our midfield being dysfunctional and providing little to no cover in front of our weakened defence.

These two issues (injuries in defence, and decline of Casemiro) have had a massive knock on effect to our attack. Both putting more pressure on them to score while simultaneously providing them with fewer chances and chances of lower quality.

Again our attack is also having to make adjustments to find the right balance with our new striker (who himself has had to slowly be introduced due to injury) as well as having to find a solution to our attack being lopsided due to the numerous issues with just about every player who could play on the right.

The injuries and loss of form / decline of key players has been the biggest factors in our poor start to the season and unless we can get players back from injury and get our best players back into form then there really is nothing tactically that can be done to significantly improve things.

The saying goes that you can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear. Unfortunately, our manager is expected to somehow turn out great performances and results with players like Maguire, Lindelof, McTominay and Martial all playing regularly due to his best options being unavailable.

Written by Shappy October 26 2023 13:58:05


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