Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has suggested the side’s back four will need extra protection against Chelsea this weekend.
United head into Sunday’s game off the back of a 2-2 draw away at West Brom with Louis van Gaal under intense pressure to put three points on the board and get United consolidated in the top four.
United have the joint worst defensive record in English football’s top flight and Neville is worried that they could be exploited, suggesting Michael Carrick should return to the starting line-up.
“I’d like to see Michael Carrick come back into the team and offer some protection to that defence.”
Carrick was on the bench last night against West Brom after missing the start of the season through injury.
It would be a risk for van Gaal to use him from the start against Chelsea because he will be rusty and because Chelsea will look to target his lack of game time as a potential weakness they can take advantage of.
United have seriously lacked grit and experience in the middle of the team and while Daley Blind has improved things in that area, another injection of the same will be important for a game of this magnitude.
Carrick and Blind could provide a solid base in midfield, with more creative players like Ander Herrera or Juan Mata along with Angel Di Maria off to either side providing a bit of forward thinking and extra width.
It’s a difficult game for van Gaal to judge because on the one hand, he’ll have the same fear as Neville about the side being too open against the clear Premier League leaders.
However, on the other hand, he’ll always face that pressure from the fans for the side to play aggressive and attacking football when they face any team at Old Trafford and Sunday is no exception.