Everybody knew Manchester United were going to score on a regular basis. And that the team’s attacking line had enough potential to be one of the best in the English Premier League this season. After all, that has been one of the main reasons why they sit near the top of the standings after six matches.
However, few expected Manchester United’s defence to be THIS GOOD. And their stout performances have been one of the keys for the team in the current term.
Through six league games this season, United have only conceded two goals – and both came during the 2-2 draw against Stoke City. They are undefeated so far, and have kept five clean sheets already. They have the best defence in the league together with Manchester City, as The Citizens have also conceded just two times as well. But United’s defensive success has extended to other competitions as well.
United played just one game in the Champions League and won 3-0 against FC Basel. And in the Carabao Cup they allowed just one goal in their impressive 4-1 victory over Burton Albion. If we count all competitions, United’s balance has been impressive. 24 goals scored and just three conceded in an eight-game span.
Like stated above, everybody knew United were going to be a scoring force. The presence of Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and others practically assured that even before the season started. But the defensive performances have been quite good. And one of the main reasons why it has been like that it’s because Jose Mourinho found stability on the defensive end.
Who Are Manchester United’s Heroes On Defence?
David De Gea is the goalkeeper in both the Premier League and the Champions League. And the Spaniard has confirmed once again that he is one of the best shot-stoppers in the world. His form this season has been quite impressive, allowing just two goals and keeping six clean sheets in seven matches. No other keeper in the world started the year on such a good form.
The flanks are covered by Antonio Valencia and Daley Blind on the right and left, respectively. Valencia used to be a winger back in the day. But he has done a good job to transform his game. In fact, the Ecuador international has emerged as one of the best right-backs in the world. He was recently included on a 50-player list to determine the Team Of The Year by FIFA. Blind is not a natural on the left side, but he gets the job done. And while he doesn’t wow anyone with his performances, it is not a secret that he has been improving game after game.
The centre-back duo has changed at times. But it seems Eric Bailly and Phil Jones are Mourinho’s first choices. Bailly has emerged as one of the best young defenders in the Premier League, and has enough potential to become one of the best defenders since the Nemanja Vidic-Rio Ferdinand days. He is composed on the ball, mature beyond his years, and positions himself excellent on the pitch. He is the undisputed leader of the team’s defensive line.
Jones is not exactly a world-class player, and in fact United could certainly use an upgrade instead of him. But the England international gets the job done either way. And he complements quite well with Bailly, so that’s certainly a plus.
Can The Defence Keep It Up?
The defence will need to maintain this stellar form during most of the season if United want to mount a title challenge. And while they are likely to come back down to earth sooner than later, there is no question the defensive is on top form at the moment.
And that’s one of the biggest reasons why Manchester United started the season as one of the hottest teams in Europe during the 2017-18 season.