Manchester United’s mini defensive contribution problem

Manchester United’s mini defensive contribution problem

As with all José Mourinho’s teams, Manchester United fans haven’t been this divided in a while, Some even have monikers they refer to others by. Some are addressed by Martial FC, some, Mourinho apologists, others, plastic fans. One thing is clear and cant be ruled out, the club is loved by billions of people worldwide and enjoys the biggest fan base in the world. Simply put, United fans -which ever faction you have been grouped into- only want what’s best for the club.

Speaking of which, people are torn in between classing this season as progress or just another season in the “banter era” like some call the phase of mediocrity in the club’s history. Which brings us to the man at the helm of Manchester United football affairs and the belief he has spread across the fan base, “players have to keep defensive discipline and defensive contributions/work ethic determines if you are good enough for the team or not”. Some of the players to bear the brunt of his wrath/axe and the fans merciless, venomous tirades have been Anthony Martial, Henrik Mkhitaryan, Luke Shaw, more defensively down the spine.

Is defensive contributions really the problem?

Manchester United are currently languishing 17points behind Manchester City albeit in second place [the position, not point haul, is the reason some say progress and slate others with a different opinion]. Is the reason for this gulf down to lack of defensive contributions from forward players who ended mostly facing the axe? My answer is NO.

Let’s break it down:

Manchester United already have a solid goal conceded aggregate [largely down to the massive heroics of their goalkeeper David De Gea who was voted player of the season for a 4th time in 5 years].

-United are currently 5th in the goals scored ranking only better than Chelsea out of the big six teams [having scored 5 more], and have barely better than half of City’s goals [102 to United’s 67].

-United have the least shots in the top six teams (about 100 shots behind the Arsenal team supposedly in “Crisis” and JUST 20 shots above Crystal Palace).

-United’s top striker, Romelu Lukaku has barely had half the shots [82] on goal numbers of players like Harry Kane [178], Mo’ Salah [140], and in turn has just 15goals to his name (his own poorest EPL return in 4 years).

I can go on, but not to bore you with numbers. United’s problem CLEARLY is attacking contributions and not defensive contributions like a lot of the fanbase will have you believe. If that is the case, why are fans demanding the attacking players track back and “help out in defense” other than go out more and be adventurous? Have more shots at the opponents, create more chances and ensure your attacking outlet’s primary brief is to go out and wreck havoc? Why are fans on the obviously disillusioned bandwagon that players who attack more than they defend should be vilified? Why are they on about “defensive contributions”? Isnt an attacker’s primary job to attack? Create chances for you? Make you pin you try to outscore your opponents?

The future looks bleak with the current mindset being sunken into the fans and they are beginning to believe it. Look at the board, you are not scoring enough, creating enough, threatening teams enough.

 

United’s problems, I say….is attacking.

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