United Under The Microscope - Defenders
The days of having four titans at the back is well and truly over at United
Where To Even Begin?
When people talk about the downfall of Manchester United, the defence is usually given the brunt of attention. For good reason too. A team that has in recent memory boasted warriors such as Stam, Ferdinand, Neville, Vidic and Evra now seems incapable of letting go of Smalling, Jones and Young.
To put it into context, roughly ten years ago Manchester United were telling Gerard Pique that he was surplus to requirements at Old Trafford.
Despite widespread condemnation from fans and pundits alike however, the obviously not good enough trio of Ashley Young, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have all managed to survive five different managers in Manchester, with all of them showing an alarming amount of faith in each of them.
The simple question is why? Why would a club and a series of managers not look to shift some of the biggest lumps of deadwood that would be found in a struggling mid table side?
The obvious answer is the price. Over the last few years, Manchester United's spending has eclipsed the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham (all three of which have been massively more successful than United) with the forward line drawing the most amount of attention. To put it bluntly, the decision makers at United have created a lopsided team; with nearly dozens of overpaid, expensive flops leading the line and average and underperforming players having to fill in defence.
To a degree, it really isn't these players' fault. You do get a genuine feeling of wanting the club to do well from these individuals, it's just clear that they lack anything approaching the necessary quality to perform for an aspirational team.
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer certainly has his work cut out for him in improving these boys in the heart of the defence, and it's understandable why so many United fans are doubtful it'll be anything other than more of the same after seeing these regulars for nearly ten years now.
However, if there's one thing the past United teams has proven is that a solid defence can be the bedrock for success.