Manchester United: Makeshift Back Four Will Have to Improve for Club to Succeed

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistAugust 20, 2012

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 20:  Nemanja Vidic (R) and Paul Scholes of Manchester United have words after conceding the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park on August 20, 2012 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Manchester United's biggest weakness was exploited in many ways by Everton on Monday night.

The Red Devils lost 1-0 to their hosts at Goodison Park but it could have been much worse for last season's EPL runner-up.

Due to many injuries to the back four, Sir Alex Ferguson was forced to start a makeshift defense for the first match of the EPL season.

The starters in front of goalkeeper David De Gea were Antonio Valencia, Nemanja Vidic, Michael Carrick and Patrice Evra.

Both Vidic and Evra are regulars in the United starting 11 but Carrick and Valencia were out of position from their regular spots in midfield.

Valencia has proved he can hold his own at right back but with Carrick at center-back, Ferguson took a risk that failed greatly.

Carrick was the man who was marking Everton's Marouane Fellaini in the 57th minute when the towering Belgian scored the winning goal for the home side.

The England international looked out of place all night and Fellaini had a field day leaping over all of United's defenders.

In the future, to avoid other opposing forwards from dominating the aerial attack, Ferguson must remove Carrick from the back four and try out something else.

The problem that Ferguson runs into with that solution is that he has no other defender to put into the lineup to relieve Carrick.

Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Rio Ferdinand, four of Ferguson's options to start at center-back, are all injured.

The Red Devils manager knows what he will get out of those four players when he puts them in the starting lineup, but based on monday's showing, putting Carrick in the lineup in that position is more than a questionable choice at this point.

The one man that the club can rely on in the center of defense right now is Vidic, who was out with a knee injury for most of last season. Vidic will hopefully be back in top form after he gets a few more matches to back into the swing of things.

United fans will be relieved that the makeshift back four will not have to face a challenge from a top EPL side until the end of September when the club visits Liverpool and then hosts Tottenham.

Before those two matches, Fulham, Southampton and Wigan are the next clubs on the fixture list.

By the time the Liverpool match comes around on September 23rd, Evans should be back in uniform, and there is a slight chance Ferdinand could be back around that time as well.

As for the immediate future, Ferguson will still be forced to employ Carrick alongside Vidic and hope that his performances will improve against weaker opposition.


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