Former Tottenham midfielder Jermaine Jenas believes Louis van Gaal has concerns over a number of his defensive options, and suggests his team selection against Arsenal shows that, as reported by the Express.
The Dutchman seems unwilling to rely on the likes of Phil Jones or Paddy McNair, and instead has been sticking with Chris Smalling and Daley Blind. Jenas claims he is still unclear of what his best defensive line is, and is continually experimenting. He says something is clearly amiss in training, and suggests that van Gaal has seen something which suggests the former pair aren’t up to standard.
“Every team is lacking the consistency that you need to win the league,” he told the BBC (via the Express).
“The team closest to that is Manchester United, which is why they have made huge steps this season.
“If Ashley Young does line-up at right-back then he will have an interesting afternoon against Alexis Sanchez, he is Arsenal’s best player.
“With McNair and Jones on the bench, there must be something happening in training that is making van Gaal not feel they are ready to start in defence.”
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You can’t really blame the manager for sticking with his best centre-back pairing, especially for a game of this magnitude. Arsene Wenger has come in for some criticism in the past for his lack of rotation, but when he has rotated this season the effects have often been disastrous – David Ospina in the Champions League for example.
If Jenas is correct about the United boss being unclear about his best back line then that’s fantastic news for us. Hopefully things are a bit up in the air in the opposition’s dressing room, and the uncertainty works to our benefit.
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The game is still likely to prove hugely difficult though, and we need to be at our best if we are hoping to get anything out of this game.