After a poor start to the season, Manchester United are now back on track with two consecutive away wins over Burnley and Watford. The United defence has looked solid in the past two games, after letting in three against both Brighton and Spurs a few weeks ago. It was rumoured throughout the summer that Jose Mourinho wanted to bring in a new center-half as he wasn’t happy with the options available to him in the position.
Since United failed to get a defender in, the Man Utd manager has experimented with different combinations between Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling. After starting the season with a Bailly-Lindelof pairing, the 55-year-old Portuguese had opted to start with Smalling in United’s past three games.
Watford had a 100% record in the league this season coming into the game against United and their front pairing of Troy Deeney and Andre Gray had troubled every defence they had come up against so far. However, Smalling who started the game alongside Lindelof, put in a faultless performance and kept Watord’s front two quiet all game.
The 28-year-old was not only phenomenal defensively but also scored at the other end by brilliantly controlling the ball with his chest and volleying it into the top corner, after Fellaini won the initial header from a United corner.
Smalling’s performance even secured him a place in German football website DAZN’s best eleven of the week. DAZN produce a combined team of the week from the top 5 leagues in Europe, namely the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1, and Smalling was the only player from the Premier League to be named in the team apart from Eden Hazard who scored a hat-trick for Chelsea against Cardiff.
Check out DAZN’s team of the week below:
Few Man Utd fans would have believed that this was a possibility a few weeks ago but the English defender undoubtedly deserves it on the back of his recent performances. So, after weeks of chopping and changing has Mourinho finally found his best center-half pairing in Smalling and Lindelof? Man Utd fans will certainly be hoping so.
Image via Twitter