Keeping a clean sheet is usually a good indication of a team’s defense playing well and doing their job correctly, but for Manchester United against Burnley, that was only half the story. United did indeed keep a clean sheet, but the defenders still let the team down when it comes to their jobs when in possession of the ball.
United boss, Louis van Gaal, decided to stick with his 3-5-2 formation and even loaded the attack with creative players like new signing Angel di Maria, Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, but considering the attacking talent that United had in their team, they didn’t create anywhere near enough danger for the Burnley defense to worry about.
Playing the way that United do now, their attacks are built from the back, well, they’re supposed to be built from the back. The problem for United is that their back four can’t pass a ball five yards between them and everything breaks down before it’s even got going. The back three against Burnley consisted of Phil Jones, Johnny Evans and Tyler Blackett and between them they either gave the ball away when in possession, or simply kicked it long for the Burnley defense to deal with easily enough.
It took United’s best attackers out of the game and they were unable to build too many attacks because the foundations were too weak to build upon. It is clear that the Red Devils have a lot of attacking talent in the team, but if they do not receive the service and the ball in the right areas, then they cannot be the threat that they are in the team to be.
United will obviously make more new signings before Monday’s transfer deadline, but some defenders who are calm, composed and have good passing ability must be right at the top of the van Gaal wishlist. Already Marcus Rojo has been signed, and Daley Blind is rumored to be an imminent signing, and they are upgrades on what United already have, but more defenders will still be necessary if United are to not only begin to build a new team, but just to simply provide sufficient service for the creative players this season.