Football has changed dramatically since the 1990’s. Whilst United have always prided themselves on their attacking football, the mentality that said you may score three but we will score four has gone.

We won the league by 18 points in the 1999-2000 season and conceded a massive 45 goals, an average of 1.2 goals per game. In our double winning year of 2007-2008 we conceded just 22 goals, an average of 0.6 goals per game.

Manchester United have now conceded as many goals as they had done all of last season, which is obviously having implications on our title challenge.

So, what’s going on?

Manuel Almunia – 22 out of 27
William Gallas – 26 out of 27
Thomas Vermalen – 27 out of 27
Total – 75 out of 81
All three together – 21 out of 27 (78%)
Goals conceded – 30

Petr Cech – 26 out of 27
John Terry – 27 out of 27
Ricardo Carvalho – 20 out of 27
Total – 73 out of 81
All three together – 19 out of 27 (70%)
Goals conceded – 22

Manchester United
Edwin Van der Sar – 11 out of 27
Rio Ferdinand – 6 out of 27
Nemanja Vidic – 13 out of 27
Total – 30 out of 81
All three together – 1 out of 27 (4%)
Goals conceded – 24

Manchester United 08-09
Edwin van der Sar – 25 out of first 27
Nemanja Vidic – 26 out of first 27
Rio Ferdinand – 21 out of first 27
Total – 72 out of 81
All three together – 18 out of 27 (67%)
Goals conceded – 12

This isn’t an excuse, merely some sort of an explanation for our more troubling defensive record this season. Given that we’ve had our first choice central defenders and goalkeeper available for just 4% of the season, whilst Chelsea have had theirs for 70%, it gives contest to the greater number of defeats we have suffered. Even just slightly better luck with our defensive injuries could see us top of the league, let alone a defensive injuries record that matched Chelsea’s.

Injuries are a part of football so this isn’t excusing our defensive form, rather an attempt to give a bit of clarity which could serve to soften the blow of our current position in the table.

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