Manchester United Football Club were on a great little run of form before play was halted due to the global pandemic that’s stealing all the headlines right now.
That said, nothing is more important than human life, hence why it was the right decision to stop all footballing activities. Although we can’t play the beautiful game right now, we can still talk about it. The Red Devils feel like a team on the up, a club getting better as the season has progressed – which is great to see.
Amongst the biggest improvements recently has been defending. Since Harry Maguire was handed the captain’s armband, the Reds have been doing a far better job at keeping the ball out of the net.
The fine-tuning that is being done on the training ground is seemingly paying off, with Maguire outlining one key area where United have drastically improved in a recent interview:
“One thing we’ve shored up on is defending set plays. If you look at our record before the run of clean sheets, defending set plays we were up there with one of the worst in the league.” Maguire told Sky Sports.
“If you can’t defend set plays and you’re not scoring at the other end through them you’re not going to stand a chance of reaching where you want to go, it’s such a big part of the game now.”
At the end of the day, defending free-kicks and corners should be your bread and butter. However, over the last few seasons, United have massively struggled in that department.
Now United have a real leader and organiser back there, it’s no surprise to see the Old Trafford club really kick it up a notch in that regard. At the highest level, football is about fine margins and stopping those sloppy goals going in will easily win you a handful of games throughout the course of a long season.
When the Reds splashed £80m on Maguire over the summer, many weren’t best-pleased with the fee paid. However, you’re not just paying for a top-quality defender. You’re paying for his leadership, experience and ability to take control of a whole defence. Slabhead has done that excellently over the last few months and he’s taken his individual game up a notch since being given that armband. Seriously, all credit to him for that.