Can Manchester United cope without their key man?

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With news ever updating about the severity of the injury to Nemanja Vidic, it appears that Manchester United may be losing another star performer to the injury plagued sidelines for a vast majority of the season. Vidic has been a solid, experienced head at the back for Man United over many seasons, arguably their most consistent performer, and, when fit, there is not a striker around that would like to go face to face with him, especially on a dark night.

However with this loss, it appears that a reshape on this already out of sorts side must occur, with one of the younger defenders stepping up to the mark, as United attempt to find the form of a few months ago. It seems that with injuries to the likes of Cleverley, Hernandez and now Vidic, the test of United’s strength in depth will be tested to the max, as fans all around the world wait to see if the red side of Manchester will crumble under the ever increasing pressure this year.

The season started with great promise, as Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Tom Cleverley appeared to rejuvenate what was turning into an aging United side. Suddenly United had pace once more, and the balance they showed seemed to suggest the gap between them and Barcelona was finally closing. Rooney and Welbeck were performing admirably upfront together, and the 8-2 thrasing of Arsenal appeared to suggest a bright future for The Red Devil’s diehard fans. However injuries hit Man United, and hit them hard. Welbeck was the first to go, as he was just cementing a place in the first team. Cleverley then became injured, as he again was starting to prove himself as a player of great potential. Now with Ferdinand far from his best after recovering from injury, and Rooney playing out of position every now and then to compensate for the lack of quality in midfield. Crisis talks are not far off the horizon.

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Vidic has been a rock for United when he has played this season, allowing fans and players alike to feel safe and secure knowing that defensive quality is far from lacking, sparking one fan to suggest that it doesn’t matter who is playing alongside him, with him in the team, defensive capabilities are high. So who will replace him? Talk of Jonny Evans filling his role is the obvious replacement. Evans, the Northern Ireland international, has plenty of experience, as he would so regularly fill in when Ferdinand or Vidic, or, as was so often the case, both, would be sidelined via injury last year.

Unfortunately, with Smalling and Jones showing such class and ability defensively so far this year, his name has become a bit of a distant memory. Furthermore, without an experienced head beside him I feel his quality may be lacking somewhat for a Premier League Winning team. Evans, although consistently given 10 out of 10 for effort, he lacks the height or strength to allow fans and players alike to feel truly safe around him.

The next option is playing Chris Smalling centrally, as his ‘favourite’ position would most probably be centre half. He has performed excellently at right back so far this season, and although his height is not typical of the 5ft 9 standardised full back, his pace more than makes up for it. I have no doubt that he will return to the centre half position at some point in the future, however now would perhaps not be the time.

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