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Manchester United VS Southampton
Rio Ferdinand is still an elite defender, even if he gets exposed from time to time. He’s good in the air, and he has enough athleticism to keep up with the quickest strikers.
Nemanja Vidic, on the other hand, is still trying to recover from injury. He hasn’t looked terrible, but he’s nowhere near the form he was in before his knee injury. It will take him another couple weeks before he regains that form, which is trouble for United’s back line.
Accordingly, for Manchester United’s defense to be successful, they need better play from their holding midfielders.
Tom Cleverley has been poor moving forward, and he is not very good at winning the ball. His tackles are weak, and it’s simply not a part of his game. Unless he improves his form, the 23-year-old needs to get off the pitch.
As for Michael Carrick, he fits the mold of what United need, but he hasn’t responded so far. I thought he played fine against Southampton, but they also allowed two goals so he probably wasn’t as good as it appeared.
Anderson and Ryan Giggs can also play in the centre of the park, but they won’t solve the defensive problems. Until the midfield strengthens up, United are going to be in big trouble. Given their relatively weak group in the Champions League, the Red Devils will have some time to figure things out.
But the solutions need to happen sooner rather than later.