Of all the top four teams in English Premier League, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur have the worst defensive record in the league. Both the teams have conceded 13 goals so far, and both are missing several key defenders in their first team at the moment due to injury.
Manchester United were without Chris Smalling and Phil Jones at the start of the season while injury to defensive lynchpin and skipper Nemanja Vidic has given Sir Alex Ferguson virtually no options to deal with at the heart of defence. The Scot is only left with veteran Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans as the two fit defenders while midfielder Michael Carrick has been used in the role of a central defender in few matches to cover up the frailties.
The team is looking shaky at the back and all Ferguson can hope is quick recovery of some of his centre backs. Good news for him is, Smalling is nearly back to full fitness and might feature against Arsenal in the weekend. Jones has started light training too and is not far away from making a comeback.
“We will try to push Chris on quickly,” the Red Devils manager said as quoted in The Times. “I don’t think he will make Wednesday’s game [against Chelsea], but I am sure he will be ready for the following week. There was some hope both he and Phil would be back for this busy schedule. Phil still has some running to do. The good news is they are not far away.”
Well, the manager himself has no answer as to why his team is leaking in so many goals. Evans has been in good goal scoring form in recent few weeks but it is the defending part that he needs to work on. The 24-year-old is a highly talented player and was one of the best performers for the club in the last season. May be, collectively the defensive set up are not doing enough which is putting the team into trouble while defending.
Against Chelsea in the Capital One Cup, United will have no other options rather to field an inexperienced side, especially at the back. Michael Keane and Scott Wootton probably will share the defensive duties, as United will be looking to rest their only two fit defenders for the game against Arsenal this weekend. There is no guarantee that the return of Smalling or Jones will ease the problem of conceding goals, but at least it will give the United boss some options to choose from.