Having used seven different defensive starting line ups this season alone – without even counting the number of switches Louis van Gaal has been forced into making mid game due to injury or red cards – it comes as little shock that their solidity and stability has suffered as a result of this.
Of course there have been villains in the piece. Culprits who should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves and who would be lucky to get in the Manchester United reserve sides in seasons gone by.
Chris Smalling was proclaimed ‘stupid’ by his own manager. Phil Jones is constantly injured and Jonny Evans is no better.
As with every story, there might be villains but with that comes a hero – and United have found theirs in the form of goalkeeper David De Gea who has shone brighter than the lights the star Nicklas Bendtner thinks exists above his head at all times.
Once maligned and criticised, he has become the star of the United side – no small task when the likes of Wayne Rooney and Angel Di Maria are at the club.
De Gea has improved tenfold and has become on the most consistent player that United have, saving them time and time again.
Now whilst mere mortals might become a little bit frustrated carrying an entire team on their back (see Alexis Sanchez’ face if further illustration is needed) De Gea seems to credit the issues in defence with his improvement in form.
According to the Spaniard, at least one good thing has come from the nightmare start, as he claimed: ‘As a keeper it’s important to form a good understanding with your back four and become familiar with each other’s positions on the pitch.
‘It’s difficult when the players aren’t there but you have to adapt and concentrate on your job.
‘The experience has definitely helped me improve.’
Now whilst we think this is an admirable way to look at the shaky back four and the lack of protection in front of it, we think that De Gea needs some serious protection going forward – and for his side to pull their socks up and put in half the effort he does – then they might just make the top four come May.
Fail to do so and they could well see their star man leave for pastures new – and there is a rather big club in the white half of Madrid who would be happy to help him do that.
Manchester United fans. Can you take this as a positive from the worst start you have had to a season since 1986? Let us know your thoughts below or tweet us @LaFootyettes.