Football

LVG needs defensive solidarity, not more attacking creativity

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Over the past few days rumours have surfaced suggesting that Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is undecided between several creative midfielders he would like to bring to the club. Roma's Kevin Strootman, Juventus' Arturo Vidal and even former Red Paul Pogba are all mentioned in recent newspapers. The very notion that another midfielder needs to be brought to Old Trafford is laughable.

The club currently boasts seven first team, out and out midfielders. The attacking aces of Angel Di Maria, Juan Mata and Adnan Januzaj as well as the more defensive players Daley Blind, Marouane Fellaini, Michael Carrick and Ander Herrera. Not only this but Wayne Rooney has also featured in a deeper role in recent weeks.

Summer signings

LVG bought three of these players himself in the summer, and now he wants to bring in yet another midfielder. The average age of these seven is roughly 25, and only Michael Carrick is over 30 years old, clearly showing that there are plenty of seasons in the engine room of the team. Perhaps the former Holland boss should be focusing on his defense which evidently needs much more work. 

LVG adopted the 'three at the back' system early on in his Manchester United career, morphing wingers Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia into 'wing-backs' with increased defensive responsibility. In the 13 games where Manchester United have played this way they have conceded only 9 goals and achieved 5 clean sheets. On the other hand, a conventional four man back line has been deployed on 17 occasions by LVG and this has resulted in the leaking of 20 goals leading to an average of around 1.2 goals a game.

The stats speak for themselves in which is the most effective defensive tactic, however this is not the whole story because the simple fact is some of Manchester United's defenders are not good enough. 

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Phil Jones is a very versatile and strong defender but is more than capable of a sudden error which could prove costly. Inconsistency plauge Chris Smalling who is dominant one game and a passenger the next, similarly Johnny Evans is enjoying his longest spell in the first team but his nervous and sloppy passing has lead to more than one goal this season so far.

New signing Marcos Rojo looks a very exciting talent but injury has caused a stuttering beginning to his career in Manchester which is much the same story for Luke Shaw. Brazilian full back Rafael has unquestionable attacking ability particularly his ability to cross the ball accurately, however he has not managed to force his way into the right wing back role with Antonio Valencia playing so well. 

Defence

In summary, instead of another midfielder, it is in fact a defender or two that LVG should be looking for: perhaps finally bringing Mats Hummels to Old Trafford as Borussia Dortmund struggle to stay in the Bundesliga.

At least one central defender is needed and additionally a full back with more experience, preferably someone who is used to playing in the wing back style formations, such as many of the Serie A clubs. Southampton and England right back Nathaniel Clyne might also be a target due to his many outstanding performances in the Premier League so far this season. 

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Topics:
Football
Paul Pogba
Premier League
Juan Mata
Arturo Vidal
Wayne Rooney
Robin Van Persie
Manchester United
Louis van Gaal
Mats Hummels

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