In the battle of the two out-of-favour Manchester United defenders, Victor Lindelof comfortably came out on top against Matteo Darmian on Monday night.
Lindelof was a pillar of solid granite at the back for a Swedish side who kept a clean sheet at the San Siro to qualify for the 2018 World Cup ahead of their Italian opponents. Azzurri defender Matteo Darmian, on the other hand, was as guilty as any of his countrymen for not turning up on the night.
The versatile defender lined up on the left of Gian Piero Ventura’s 3-5-2 system and delivered a lesson in how not to fulfil a modern wing-back role.
Darmian was hugely disappointing in the final third, attempting an endless amount of heart-hearted and hopeful crosses that were mopped up with ease by a grateful Swedish backline. In total, the former Torino man put the ball in the visitor’s box on five occasions but only found a man in blue once.
When you consider some of the top class full-backs Italy have boasted over the years, Darmian’s selection in both legs despite his lack of game time at Man United rather sums up the talent drain engulfing Italian football.
Italy will be absent from a World Cup for the first time in 60 years. But, as one United fan points out, that at least gives the Premier League giants more time to find a buyer for their ill-fitting full-back.
Watching Italy vs Sweden and I think it's fair to say that Darmian is the worst player on the pitch. For both sides...
— Khalid (@KhalidMUFC) November 13, 2017
So far so good on the international break— When The Seagulls Follow The Trawler (@whentheseaguIIs) November 14, 2017
Jones & Darmian picking up knocks
2 less pieces of deadwood stinking the squad up for a while#MUFC
Gotta say lindelof looked very good over both legs. Darmian on the other hand couldn't cross his legs— scott parkes (@sparkesy999) November 13, 2017
At least we have a whole summer to get rid of darmian now #mufc— Tom (@Tomlanger1993) November 13, 2017
Darmian is the first ever Italian defender that doesn't look like he can defend— Muhammad Obaid (@Obaid_MUFC) November 14, 2017