Part two: defenders
In the first five months of the Premier League season, there seems to be a word that has gone hand-in-hand with the Manchester United defence – injuries.
The main stream of their wonderful success last season was the central defensive partnership of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, but the two have failed to play even a handful of games together so far this season. Vidic sat out the opening two months of the season with calf trouble before being ruled out until the summer with knee damage, while Ferdinand’s loss of form and niggling back have kept the two apart.
In recent weeks, however, Ferdinand has regained the kind of form that made him one of the best defenders in the world and his experience has been vital in Vidic’s absence. Chris Smalling continues to impress at full-back, while the Da Silva twins have endured an injury-plagued season thus far and have therefore seen little action.
Jonny Evans has also been solid enough but will sit out the next few weeks through injury, while there are continued question marks over Patrice Evra’s form. The French full-back is a threat in attack but has continually been caught out in defence this season and has not enjoyed his best season thus far.
A special mention must go to Phil Jones, the £16.5m capture from Blackburn Rovers has been simply outstanding so far this season and in my mind, will certainly go on to become not only Manchester United’s captain, but England’s as well.
Youngster watch: Zeki Fryers