Arsenal legend criticises United's defensive system - 'It demands too much'

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown says Louis van Gaal is asking too much of his Manchester United defenders.

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has suggested the defensive system Louis van Gaal is using at Manchester United is too demanding for the current crop of Old Trafford players.

United were beaten by Swansea City in their opening Premier League game of the season over the weekend and Keown has suggested that the three at the back method van Gaal prefers to use asks too much of his players.

“The formation that Louis van Gaal started with against Swansea — three central defenders and two wing backs — is a hard enough system for seasoned professionals to get right, let alone a group of youngsters, including a few making their debuts at Old Trafford,” wrote Keown for the Daily Mail.

“I’ve always felt it demands too much of the wing backs, who have to cover so much ground. If their positioning is not spot on, then the central defenders have to react and cover the danger, but this can result in your team shape being dragged from side to side. And that’s exactly what happened to United on Saturday.”

There was Premier League experience in United’s defence against the Swans because Chris Smalling and Phil Jones can no longer be considered new boys when it comes to top flight football in England.

Tyler Blackett is also a player that LvG seems to have taken to and he needed protection from the more experienced players in the first team as he doesn’t have that level of knowledge to make the right decisions when things go pear shaped.

It’s important to remember three things; this was the first game of the season, United only play once per week this season and there are still two weeks left to go in the summer transfer window.

It’s impossible to judge a team after one game and the extra time United will have in training this season should help them to fine tune their defensive system and eradicate errors from their game.

It is a surprise United haven’t already bought defensive reinforcements but it’s still a possibility and they have the resources to pull off some big deals before the window shuts until winter.

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