Examining the leak - Pakistan Today

Examining the leak

Gary Neville, former Manchester United great and one of the better pundits going around these days memorably remarked that it was as if he was “controlled by a 10 year old in the crowd on a Playstation.” This was last year and the player in question was Chelsea centre back David Luiz. Things have not gotten drastically better for Luiz since then but it would appear that the Defenders Union in a show of support have all decided to underperform this season.
Chelsea after a good start have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last six Premier League games and have conceded 11 goals for the season which incidentally is 4 less than what they conceded in Jose Mourinho’s remarkable first season. League leaders United conceded two or more goals only six times last season. They have notched up that unwanted feat already with less than a dozen games played. Noisy neighbours and champions City have been indifferent at the back as well despite having the best defensive record this season while Arsenal’s strong defensive show in the early fixtures once again proved to be a false dawn as old mistakes have reared their ugly head since then. The malaise has not been restricted to just the defenders though with some of the goal keeping equally bad. Reina’s form has been steadily declining for the last couple of seasons and the worrying trend has continued this season as well. At the moment he may be missing out due to injury but given Jones’s fine form between the sticks, the Spaniard may find himself deprived of game time even after finding fitness. Fellow Spaniard David De Gea has improved but is still some way from being the finished article and till then will continue to make the odd mistake here and there. Similarly England number one Joe Hart is some way ahead of his competitors and was a major factor in City claiming their first Premiership crown but he has not quite hit the same heights this season.
The defensive frailties could be attributed to various reasons. Chelsea it seems is trying to shun their former image of an effective yet boring football team by adopting a more enterprising approach. Both Manchester clubs have tinkered with their formation and in United’s case the absence of key personnel at the back has not helped. Arsenal is well Arsenal and having to make do with your third choice goal keeper can never be easy. Liverpool have been quite lacklustre these last few years but have generally defended well but the arrival of Rodgers has meant an increased emphasis on possession which has produced mistakes at the back most notably from Skrtel. The performances have picked up slightly but the team will take time to settle into their new style.
It goes without saying that scoring goals are vital and it is them that actually win you the match but almost all great teams build from the back. Teams that have won the league in the past have not only scored goals but have for the most part defended resolutely. The perfect balance between attack and defence has yet to be struck by any of the teams. Arsenal’s Capital One Cap match against Reading provided a score line that was more fitting for a tennis match and while it would have definitely been a spectacle for neutrals and fans one cannot imagine managers enjoying such games too much.



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