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1 Glaring Weakness for Every Premier League Contender

Dusan LucicCorrespondent IIDecember 19, 2012

1 Glaring Weakness for Every Premier League Contender

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    By now, the fans have already figured out that only three teams—Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea—will be able to challenge for the Premier League title this season.

    However, that doesn't mean the EPL will be boring and hard to watch.

    On the contrary, this could be one of the most interesting seasons in recent history, since all three title contenders have glaring weaknesses that can easily be exploited by the opposition.

    Continue reading and find out what weaknesses plague the best teams in the Premier League.

Manchester United

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    It really isn't hard to notice Manchester United's greatest weakness at the moment—their defence, which conceded 24 goals in the league so far, negatively stands out as the main area the Red Devils need to improve.

    With Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones having injury problems, the back four of Rafael, Jonny Evans, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra has at times put in worryingly indifferent displays that have already cost United points in the league.

    Here's a player-by-player analysis of United's defence:

    David de Gea is an outstanding goalkeeper. However, the 22-year-old still hasn't ensured his place in the starting XI despite his recent run of fantastic performances—the Spaniard has to improve at catching crosses and has to stop conceding easily avoidable goals.

    Rafael has evolved rapidly since the start of the season, has already made the right-back spot his own and is probably the best United defender at the moment. If he can continue this rapid progress, the United full-back could perhaps be the greatest right-back in the world in a few years' time.

    Meanwhile, Evra continues to perform well on a regular basis despite his age, but it is clear the Red Devils will need a long-term solution to the left-back spot.

    Alexander Büttner is an interesting alternative, but the former Vitesse man has seldom experience at the top level.

    Furthermore, it is as obvious as ever that Evra is not the leader United need in the defence.

    Evans is another United defender who performs decently, but, just like everyone else, the Northern Irishman has plenty of room to evolve. For instance, Evans needs to work on his discipline and stop making those needless fouls.

    It is obvious Ferdinand's days are long behind him. The once-great defender has started becoming a liability in defence, with his teammates having to bail him out on several occasions.

    No longer are his reflexes as sharp and his movement as brisk as they once used to be.

    It seems like United's defence is playing fantastically, but it is far from the truth.

    Each player is great individually, but once they are combined they create one of the most unstable defences in the Premier League.

    Why?

    Nobody can tell for sure, but Sir Alex's constant experimenting with the squad is doing them little good, and the fans will be happy to see Vidic return fully fit.

    Once he completes his recovery, United could possibly have the greatest defence in the league, but until that happens Sir Alex needs to sort his defenders out.

Manchester City

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    It's hard to point out a single weakness that plagues the Premier League champions, since the Manchester Blues haven't been exactly fabulous in any of the areas that made them champions last year.

    Joe Hart has put in some incredible performances, but they have been quickly forgotten after a string of poor displays marred by devastating blunders that have cost City dearly. Needless to say, Roberto Mancini will need his goalkeeper on top form to be able to challenge for the league.

    The defence hasn't been great either with even seasoned veterans Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott making silly mistakes and failing to stifle some of the least potent attacks in the league. Matija Nastasic has been a real revelation for Mancini, but the Serbian international is still too inexperienced and immature to lead the defence.

    In the midfield, new signings failed to impress and City are now playing with pretty much the same midfield they had last year. Yaya Toure and David Silva have continued playing on the highest level, while Samir Nasri and James Milner haven't really impressed anyone with their performances.

    The team now relies heavily on Silva to create chances and it has resulted in some anonymous displays from the Spaniard.

    Carlos Tevez started the season brightly but fell out of form lately, and Sergio Aguero is slowly becoming City's Luis Suarez, rescuing the team with the all-important goals on numerous occasions.

    The immature and the ineffective Mario Balotelli appears to have lost it in Manchester—it will be a wonder if he manages to see out his contract with the club.

    All in all, Manchester City will need to change their approach toward games in order to challenge the Red Devils in the league.

Chelsea

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    Fernando Torres is the man that encapsulates Chelsea's main worries: finishing and scoring goals.

    The Blues have scored 28 times in the league so far—the joint-worst (Everton is the other team) for a team in the top six.

    Combine that with the fact that Chelsea have perhaps the two best playmakers in the league in Juan Mata and Eden Hazard, and the conclusion is easy—the Blues' strike force is almost nonexistent and miserable.

    Daniel Sturridge has fell out of favour long before Rafael Benitez came to the club, and it appears he'll be joining Liverpool in January (via Daily Mail).

    Meanwhile, Torres has shown signs of improvement since reuniting with Benitez, but it is clear the Spaniard's best days are behind him.

    The former Liverpool man did score 10 times already, but, once you put it into perspective, the achievement is relatively meaningless—Torres' conversion rate is too poor for a world-class forward Chelsea so desperately need.

    Obviously, what the Blues lack is a lethal finisher and Benitez will have to focus on signing one in January if he wants to have even the slightest chance of winning the Premier League.

    Falcao would be a massive signing—the one that could eventually bring the title to Stamford Bridge—but questions remain whether the Colombian will want to move to a club that is going through a small crisis.

     

    Don't forget to check out:

    Should Chelsea focus on Europa League?

    Should Spurs focus on Europa League?

    Should Liverpool focus on Europa League?

    Teams Gunners will want to avoid in UCL KO stage

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