Tag Archives: victor lindelof

Deserved: Two reasons why Man Utd are right to extend centre-backs stay

Swedish outlet Sportbladet reports new contract for Victor Lindelof, taking him to 2025 with Man Utd.

The partnership between Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire in Man Utd’s 4-0 victory over Chelsea was something Red Devils haven’t seen in years. Their defensive solidarity allows for the Reds to play the ball out from the back. The team can now attack with confidence as they trust the defensive barracks behind them.

Maguire signed a contract with Man Utd until 2025, with the option of extending a further year. Victor Lindelof, according to reports, is also being offered a contract until 2025. Coincidence? I think not.

The Football Manc Cave bring you 2 reasons why Victor Lindelof signing a new contract is essential to Man Utd’s future…

The perfect match

Maguire and Lindelof against Chelsea

Since Lindelof’s arrival at Man Utd, he has been playing alongside Chris Smalling and Phil Jones on the majority of occasions. Two defenders who were completely dropped from the squad on the opening day this season.

Partnered with Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof’s deficiency (aerial dominance) is covered.

Maguire acts as the rock of the defence, whilst Lindelof is slightly more nimble and can pull off last-ditch tackles and keep up with pacey attackers.

The way the newly wedded partners Maguire and Lindelof behaved, conducted and commanded the game against Chelsea was nothing short of outstanding. Solskjaer has landed himself one of the best defences in the league, especially with Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the mix.

Do one, Barca!

Reports over summer suggested Barcelona were interested in Victor Lindelof. Upon his arrival, the Swede struggled with the physicality of the Premier League. At this time, he would have been a perfect fit for Barcelona.

Lindelof’s quality suggests that he still is. However, the ‘Iceman’ has worked on his physicality, as well as aerial dominance and other areas he lacked in. This made him the first choice centre back for both Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Although the defender is not seen in the limelight, shouting and raving about his love for the club, his determination to improve himself and his weakness demonstrates that he is the perfect fit for Man Utd.

Making him all the more likely to see a renewed contract as a reward, and not as a hurdle in stepping up to a bigger European club.

Solskjaer has instilled a fighting team spirit. Soon, the squad will be drilled in winning everything, every time, just like the old days.

His management kept Paul Pogba committed to the club, so keeping Lindelof should be a breeze.

Two qualities Maguire will finally bring to Man Utd’s backline

Harry Maguire has completed his long-awaited move to Old Trafford. Here is how one man from Sheffield can fix Manchester United.

Harry Maguire has become the world’s most expensive defender after joining Man Utd from Leicester for a reported fee of £80million.

Fans of the great Red Devils have been keen on bringing in a new defender for many years, particularly after the frequent injuries of Eric Bailly.

Maguire was in the spotlight during England’s 2018 World Cup in Russia. The centre-half pitched in with goals and assists in a competition which brought the nation together over the love of football, making a name for himself on the biggest stage.

Regardless of the huge price tag, public interviews and interactions with Harry Maguire show him to be a very humble and hard-working professional. Solskjaer has added a great character to his dressing-room. But what has he added to what we see on the pitch?

Ball playing centre-half

Manchester United struggle immensely with bringing the ball out from the back. The only top-quality defender in the side, Victor Lindelof, has begun to do this more often since the arrival of Solskjaer, to great effect.

However, pre-season taught us that Rojo, Smalling and Jones are incapable of playing from the back. Often running into trouble and losing the ball.

By having Harry Maguire in the squad, there will be two defenders able to carry the ball forward, preventing the fear of leaving a weakness alone at the back. Maguire completed 17 ‘take-ons’ last season. This is more than any other centre back in the Premier League.

So, not only is Maguire capable of bringing the ball into the midfield, he is one of the best at it.

Aerial wins

Solskjaer’s defence falls apart from set-pieces. They are completely lost when it comes to handling aerial threats in their own box.

This is where the ex-Leicester City man steps in. According to the following statistic from a football statistician who is frequently seen on MUTV, “Harry Maguire won 73% of his duels in the Premier League last season, Virgil van Dijk (76%) was the only CB with a better success rate (minimum 2000 minutes played).”

Therefore, David De Gea will have two fantastic defenders in front of him. Capable of dealing with a multitude of threats.

With Harry Maguire’s aerial abilities and desire to transition the ball into midfield, you can expect this Man Utd side to concede fewer and score more. A great signing for Manchester United.

Look forward to it Man Utd fans. How many stoppage-time headers will Maguire score this season?

Man Utd injury forces Woodward’s transfer hand

Eric Bailly is injured once again, but there may be some silver lining to this sad story for Man United.

Man Utd’s Ivorian defender Eric Bailly suffered a knee injury in their pre-season match again Spurs. In an attempt to block the goal from a cutting-inside Son Heung-min, Bailly found himself hitting the ground on several occasions in a matter of second, due to the South Korean ‘fake shooting’ inside the box. The attack amounted to nothing, but Bailly’s season could have been over in that moment.

Bailly’s knee injury has been a recurring problem since he joined from Villareal in 2016. According to Man Utd fans, Bailly is regarded as their second-best centre-back, behind the recently in-form Victor Lindelof.

In the three years that Bailly has been at Old Trafford, he has only made 50 Premier League appearances. This is an average of less than 17 PL appearances per season. There is no doubt about his talent, but his injuries make him too unreliable for a team trying to win trophies again.

The silver lining

Man Utd has been in talks with Leicester City’s Harry Maguire. In typical Man Utd fashion, the deal has been prolonged in an attempt to lower the price as much as possible.

Ed Woodward’s slow negotiations have caused great frustration to the fans over recent years, but especially this summer. However, with Man Utd’s second-best centre-back being spotted in Manchester with a cast on his leg, Woodward may ‘be forced to meet Leicester’s £80million asking price for Harry Maguire’, according to the Mirror.

With Maguire in the squad, the missing piece of Man Utd (a solid defence) will finally be complete. As Solskjaer’s attack during pre-season looks almost complete.

2 strengths, 2 weakness that will get Man Utd a top-four finish in the league

Solskjaer’s rebuild of Manchester United looks promising as Man Utd win their first two games of pre-season.

Manchester United have begun their pre-season tour with two victories. The Reds beat Perth Glory 2-0 and then went on to crush Leeds United 4-0. Though being lower-tier clubs than Man Utd, fans saw glimpses of what Solskjaer is instilling into his squad.

The coaching staff have vigorously trained the boys, even having double sessions on several occasions.

Solskjaer will have a full pre-season under his belt, and it looks as though the Red Devils are on their way to being fully prepared for the 18/19 campaign.

Here are 2 strengths this Manchester United squad have that can place them in the top four…

High Intensity

The high pressing has been notable in the two pre-season games so far. This is something we haven’t seen for years. Previous managers took a defence-first approach which made pressing high up the field almost impossible for the players.

In the Premier League, a high level of intensity and constant pressure is a key ingredient to success.

Back on the saddle

Solskjaer has mentioned a rebuild on several occasions, and also revealed that each player will start with a clean slate. After a full break and a full pre-season, we could see a totally different Manchester United next season.

The disappointment of last season and the seasons before should spur the Reds on as their closest rivals both grabbed silverware at the end of last season.

Manchester United are far from having a world-class team who can be aiming for several trophies each season. The following weaknesses at Man Utd could destroy the dream of the reds having a great season for the first time in six years.

Defensive clown show

This could be entirely fixed by bringing in Harry Maguire. Manchester United need a solid defender who can protect the Reds from conceding as many set pieces as they have in recent years. The purchase of Aaron Wan-Bissaka has already massively improved the defence.

Chris Smalling struggles on the ball, and Phil Jones is extremely unreliable. Eric Bailly is prone to injury and Marcos Rojo is prone to red cards. Axel Tuanzebe may not yet be in contention to start for Man Utd. This leaves Man Utd with one reliable and high-quality defender; Victor Lindelof.

Slow negotiations

An unfortunate weakness with the Manchester United board. The Reds are terrible at securing transfers and a long time to negotiate with other clubs in order to spend as little money as possible.

This could mean that Man Utd don’t get the players they require to rebuild the Man Utd squad. Which would mean they are in for a very difficult season.

Man Utd could challenge for trophies next year with this starting 11 after making 3 more signings

Solskjaer is keen on signing Bruno Fernandes and two other players this summer to Manchester United.

It’s understood that Man Utd are now ready to secure a deal with Sporting Lisbon’s Portuguese superstar Bruno Fernandes, according to the Independent.

According to circulating reports Bruno Fernandes, Harry Maguire and Sean Longstaff are the most likely to sign for Man Utd this summer.

With these three signings, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would completely transform this team.

Last season, Man Utd finish sixth in the Premier League, the position Jose Mourinho left them in after being fired from his position in December 2018. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer won 12 of his first 15 games in charge, including the famous win over PSG in the Champions League.

However, possibly due to fitness or the difficulties of changing tactics and approach mid-season, Solskjaer’s Man Utd finished the league off with a terrible run of form and failed to secure a top-four finish despite putting themselves back into the race for it.

The new, old Manchester United

Pre-season games and training this summer have proven that Man Utd are focused on high-pressing from the front. We also saw glimpses of close controlled link-up play. Very pleasing to the eye. It showed the levels of intensity we saw in the glory of Man Utd.

In the upcoming season, Solskjaer could have one of the best squads in England. But he needs three more signings to do it. Should Man Utd succeed in their transfer endeavours, their starting eleven next season could look like this…

Manchester United would have their most solid defence since Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic and Evra. Harry Maguire would act as an aerial winning defender, whilst Lindelof acts as a ball-playing defender.

The midfield could be one of the best in the Premier League, with Bruno Fernandes playing as an attacking midfielder getting goals and assists. With Longstaff doing what he does best by making incredibly accurate long balls. Pogba can push slightly higher up the pitch now that Longstaff is holding the midfield and there is a more trustworthy defence behind him. McTominay could feature heavily as he can adopt any of those three roles.

Up top, we have the blistering pace of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Daniel James, who can all smoothly transition around the front three positions.

With a squad of this quality, we could be shocked by Manchester United this season.

What Man Utd’s predicted 11 against Leeds Utd could look like

After their 2-0 victory over Perth Glory, Manchester United need to up their game to beat Leeds United on Wednesday.

In the first pre-season game, Solskjaer’s men showed us what they have been working on in the training ground. We saw an incredibly high pressing attack against a Perth defence that often had at least nine or ten players behind the ball.

The link-up play and close control was reminiscent of the incredible winning streak Man United had when Solskjaer first took over. New signings Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka had fantastic debuts, lifting the spirits of the fanbase.

However, Solskjaer opted for two completely different eleven men to feature in each half of the game. This means we still have to see how the Reds fare in a competitive 90 minutes, something Leeds United will certainly offer.

How the lineup against Leeds should look

With the Premier League looming, Solskjaer will be keen on figuring out his strongest eleven. Resulting in a starting eleven that could resemble this…

Manchester United would do well to toy with the idea of having two forward men, both capable of drifting out wide. This would give Jesse Lingard space to move further up the field as he performs best in the number 10 role, adapting to a second striker position when forwards drag defenders out wide.

How the formation can be adapted

This formation is easily transformed into Man Utd’s main formation 4-3-3, and by introducing some exciting substitutions, it would look like this…

A forward three of blistering pace, in front of the creative genius Paul Pogba, who sits alongside high-pressing Lingard, guarded by golden-boy Scott McTominay.

Axel Tuanzebe could replace Victor Lindelof as the ball-playing defender as Man United lack options other than Chris Smalling to provide an aerial threat. At least, until Harry Maguire joins the ranks as reports surface of the transfer being close to completion.

These line ups portray both the quality and versatility of Solskjaer’s set up.

Leeds United placed third in the Championship last season. Narrowly missing out on promotion in the playoffs. Therefore, Leeds can provide a similar type of test that many Premier League level teams will in the upcoming season.

Should Manchester United fail to dominate the match, it could provide a scary insight into what the Red Devils will perform like in Premier League.

Two reasons why Maguire is the answer to Man Utd’s defensive puzzle

Harry Maguire is set to leave the foxes. The Football Manc Cave has two reasons why Leicester City’s loss is Manchester United’s gain.

Harry Maguire is rumoured to be having his medical at Manchester United today, according to Express.

However, ‘Maguire to Man Utd’ is a phrase we have heard for well over a year. The Red Devils’ boardroom failed to secure the deal when Jose Mourinho demanded an improved defence over twelve months ago.

There are obvious reasons why both Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have desperately sought the services of Harry Maguire.

Here are two of them…

Aerial Protection

Last season, the Englishman scored three goals for Leicester City. A figure that matches his financial competitor Virgil Van Dijk. The Dutchman of Liverpool won 75% of his aerial duels, whilst Maguire won 78%. This statistic is music to Man Utd fans’ ears. With their defensive line having been bullied by dominant attackers since the likes of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand was protecting the man between the sticks.

Victor Lindelof proved to be Manchester United’s best ball-playing defender, whilst his partner Chris Smalling proved to be a hindrance. The Swede’s one fault, aerial dominance, could be patched up by sticking him alongside World Cup hero Harry Maguire.

Stop passing it backwards!

The Leicester City defender had a passing range of 86% last season, compared to Virgil Van Dijk’s 90%. However, placing Maguire in a better squad could see this statistic soar.

With two defenders that can successfully play the ball out of their own box, we would see a tremendous improvement in the way the Reds move the ball up the field. This will impact both slow build-ups, as well as the old-school counter-attacking football Man Utd, is famed for.

In the recent pre-season game Man Utd vs Perth Glory, new signing Aaron Wan-Bissaka made a fantastic debut, completing 4/4 tackles in his 45 minutes. Next season we may see him partnered with Luke Shaw at full back, with Maguire and Lindelof in between. This would be the most solid Man Utd defence in the last 10 years.

Barcelona eyes up Man Utd centre back, 2 reasons why he has to stay

Manchester United’s Victor Lindelof finds himself on Barcelona’s radar this summer according to the Mundo Deportivo.

Nightmares are becoming reality for Manchester United fans. Hasan Cetinkaya, Victor Lindelof’s agent, said that “Lindelof is in the orbit of a great European club, but leaving United depends on the English club.”

Barcelona has recently signed Frenkie De Jong, who happens to be under the same agent as Lindelof. According to Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona has made several enquiries about Lindelof, being shown the ‘not for sale’ sign on each occasion.

The Man Utd centre-back partnership had been chopped and changed throughout the season, as both managers looked to find their best defensive set-up, both concluding that a better defender needs to be signed for the club.

In recent weeks, Manchester United have been linked with Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti, as the reds fight for a new, solid centre-half who they hoped would partner up with Lindelof.

However, it is highly suggested that the most likely outcome will be Harry Maguire to Manchester United, and Umtiti may see himself at PSG involving a swap deal for Neymar, Barca Blaugranes reports.

Most Manchester United would much rather see Lindelof remain at the club for many years. Here is why…

The only top quality centre back

Lindelof was by far the fan favourite defender last season. After scrutiny over the quality of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, and the injury-prone Eric Bailly. The ‘Ice-Man’ Victor Lindelof showed great improvement throughout the campaign and shone under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Jose Mourinho.

Lonely Lindelof needs a long-term partner

Manchester United fans were delighted to hear that Victor Lindelof would finally have a defensive partner who can competently guard David De Gea between the sticks. Unfortunately for them, Barcelona would be a huge upgrade on Manchester United. Should Lindelof push for a move away, and have Maguire step in to replace him, there would still be only one competent defender surrounded other defenders who are not fit to be challenging for titles in the top tier of English football.

Manchester United’s rebuild should be entirely based on an improved defence, something Jose Mourinho fought for since 2017.

Man Utd make an increased offer for Maguire: What 2 abilities would he bring to Man Utd

Manchester United have outbid Manchester City in the race for Harry Maguire

Reports suggest that Man Utd have put a £70million bid in for Leicester City’s centre-back Harry Maguire, putting them a few feet forward ahead of their rivals in the battle for the 26-year-old’s signature.

Rumours regarding Maguire’s future have been ongoing for the past year, but have been appearing realistic in recent weeks. With the two potential suitors being narrowed down to the two Manchester teams; City and United.

In respect to their situation of each club, it is obvious that Manchester United are more in need of the services of Harry Maguire. Last season, Manchester City conceded only 23 goals whereas Manchester United conceded 54.

Apart from Maguire undoubtedly improving the defence and allowing Manchester United to concede fewer goals, here are two major impacts Harry Maguire would have at Old Trafford…

Aerial duels

Manchester United currently rely on Chris Smalling to attack the ball with his head, his current aerial duel success rate in the Premier League stands at 63%, as opposed to Harry Maguire’s 68%. Victor Lindelof has become a fan favourite after asserting himself in the starting 11 over last season, and having Maguire next to him can make up for his slight lack in aerial ability.

Playing from the back

Last season in the Premier League, Lindelof was United’s ball playing defender, making an average of 50 passes per match, 10 more than Chris Smalling. Harry Maguire however, averaged 56.

By having Lindelof who can pass, recover and has much better-tackling statistics than his partner Smalling, next to Harry Maguire who made 191 accurate long balls last season. Manchester United can do what they do best and recover the ball in their own half and send their pacey forwards off for the counter-attack.

THE LOWDOWN: Who is Kalidou Koulibaly and What Can He Bring to Man United

Kalidou Koulibaly has established himself as one of the best centre-backs around in recent season with his impressive performances with Napoli.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs major defensive reinforcements this summer, as it’s been widely reported on. A defensive pairing of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones doesn’t frighten many attackers, and success is built from the back with a decent foundation – As well the Norwegian knows.

In what is going to be a defining window at Old Trafford, a high class and strong defender is going to be high on the priority list.

Looking across Europe, in what is going to be a tight market, they’re not going to be many that are much better than the Senegalese international. With Napoli knowing this and slapping a reported record fee of 150m on his head, despite his 63m rating by Transfermarkt.

The 27-year-old has a strong passing game amongst other attributes, which would be perfect for Solskjaer’s plan of turning defence into attack with his own brand of attacking football. Carlo Ancelotti recently described the defender as one of the best in the world, so his talent is there for all to see and is no wonder United are trying to get him signed up as soon as possible.

He would also come with a wealth of experience under his belt having played Champions League football and featured in a very exciting Napoli side in Serie A.

The Red Devils can not gamble on a defender with potential, they have that already in Victor Lindelof. Solskjaer needs a player that can bring the Swede on, potentially pairing him up with Koulibaly who is entering his peak years could be a stroke of genius if Ole can pull it off.

Man United fans, what do you make of Koulibaly – would he welcomed addition to Old Trafford?

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