This great quote from Sir Alex Ferguson rings truer today than ever. Manchester United put one of the best attacks in Europe out on the pitch. Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao, Wayne Rooney, and Robin Van Persie are all world class players. Last weekend against Leicester City, a match that most United supporters would much rather forget, the attack looked incredible. United scored two quick goals and added another in the 57th minute to make the score 3-1. Following that, it was a disaster at the King Power Stadium.
That all stemmed from weak defence. It doesn’t matter whether the referee made some bad calls, because a penalty is, most of the time, a result of a failed mark. Phil Jones was injured in the match, which brought out Chris Smalling. Pairing him along with Marcos Rojo, Tyler Blackett, and Rafael in the back four spelled disaster for the defence. This Saturday against West Ham may not turn out to be any better. Blackett received a red card in the Leicester match, which means that he is suspended, and Smalling, Jones, and Jonny Evans are out with injury. This leaves the remaining defence consisting of Rafael and Rojo. So what will Louis van Gaal do with the defence on Saturday?
van Gaal has already confirmed that Luke Shaw will make his official debut at left back. Shaw was brought to Manchester earlier this year for 30 million pounds. He was named in Bleacher Report’s most exciting teenagers in world football at number 10.
…there is no doubt that [Shaw] is going to be the best left back in the world.
– Jonny Evans on Luke Shaw
There were some questions in the friendlies about his conditioning, since he was originally expected to play wing-back in van Gaal’s 3-5-2. Now though, the manager has decided to make the switch to a 4-4-2 diamond shape which has seemingly worked a lot better, and allows everyone to play at their natural positions.
Since Marcos Rojo is moving inside to centre back to make room for Shaw, that still leaves one more spot in the defence. There have been rumours all week about who would fill that spot, from Michael Carrick to Darren Fletcher, but we finally may have our answer. It now seems as if a youngster from United’s academy will be set to make his first-team debut. The possible debutants are Tom Thorpe and Paddy McNair. Both have been recalled from the academy to be on the squad for the clash against West Ham. One of them are bound to make their debut at Old Trafford, and like many United debuts before, supporters can only hope that it is a magical one.
United had targeted a few defencive players in this most recent transfer window, the most notable being Mats Hummels, but the transfer market is a fickle thing. The Reds ended up signing an incredibly dangerous attack instead of replacing Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, and Patrice Evra in the back field.
The “defencive crisis” at Manchester United means that the back four will be very inexperienced, and that the attack needs to definitely win this game for the Red Devils.
It will be exciting to see a young debutant on Saturday, and hopefully supporters will see another world-class performance from Angel Di Maria, and maybe witness Falcao’s first goal in a Manchester United shirt.
Do you believe that the Red Devil’s can win against an impoved West Ham team? Which academy player will make his United debut on Saturday? Let us know in the comment box!