Daley Blind got lucky against Tottenham last weekend. Had his defensive partner Chris Smalling not been on top form it could have been a very different story for the versatile Manchester United defender and his manager Louis van Gaal.
Harry Kane tried his best to sit on the Dutch international and wait for service to come his way, but time and again the imperious Smalling was there to help out the makeshift centre-back.
Smalling deservedly picked up the Man of the Match award for helping United end their Premier League opener with a clean sheet, while Blind must have gone home breathing a huge sigh of relief that his deficiencies weren’t ruthlessly exposed in front of a 76,000-strong crowd at Old Trafford.
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Blind is comfortable in possession and always looks for the safe option - which, for a centre-back, is a relatively useful trait to possess - but he’s not a central defender by any stretch of the imagination.
The 25-year-old is 5ft 11in tall - which is obviously no height for a centre-back - he can’t head the ball, he’s not blessed with the most physical of frames, while his positional sense is questionable.
Blind could cost United against Villa
There were times against Spurs when he was drawn towards the ball - like he is when playing in defensive midfield - and this left gaping holes in the back four which a better team than Tottenham could have exposed on the day.
This could be a problem for Manchester United when they take on Aston Villa at Villa Park on Friday night - although it’s the Dutchman’s lack of aerial prowess that ought to be the biggest concern for Van Gaal.
Rudy Gestede is a monster
Villa took all three points from their opening match against newly-promoted Bournemouth thanks to a thumping header from summer signing Rudy Gestede.
The Benin international who scored headed goals for fun at Blackburn Rovers last season is 6ft 4in tall and, according to the Telegraph, won six headers in 31 minutes after coming off the bench at Dean Court last Saturday.
Villa boss Tim Sherwood will be licking his lips at the prospect of Gestede going up against Blind - and what if this time Smalling isn’t able to bail out his vulnerable teammate?
Marcos Rojo should start with Smalling
To avoid running the risk of losing the match, Van Gaal must partner Smalling with another proven central defender.
Marcos Rojo dropped a little hint earlier this afternoon that he might be given the nod, but Manchester United fans are learning to expect the unexpected with Van Gaal.
Manchester United fans: should Louis van Gaal start Daley Blind against Aston Villa? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!
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