Gareth Southgate England
English Premier League

Man United dropped points yet again in the Premier League, this time being held to a 1-1 draw by West Brom, away from home. And this draw means Man United are now seven points behind leaders Manchester City and Guardiola’s side still have a game in hand.

The United forwards have been playing in full tilt for most of the season but it’s the backline that has started to show some cracks in recent weeks. And according to pundit Garry Neville, the centre-back pairing of Harry Maguire and Lindelof along with David De Gea are stopping Solskjaer’s men from seriously contending for the Premier League title.

“If you look back at the best centre-back pairings in the Premier League Manchester United have had – the relationship between them and the goalkeeper is critical if you are to win the Premier League,” Neville said, as per GMS.

“If you look at Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, they had a midfield in front of them of Paul Scholes, Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs and Cristiano Ronaldo. There’s not really a defender amongst them.

“When you look at this pair now of Lindelof and Maguire, you could put the 1.8 points per game down to the fact they’re playing in a weaker team, but they concede a goal a game. Even with Fred and Scott McTominay in front of them. They’ve got two defensive midfielders sat right in front of them and they don’t move.

“The key thing is that only one of the last 20 Premier League champions have conceded at least one goal per game. That tells you about these three of De Gea, Lindelof and Maguire. To win titles, that triangle of goalkeeper and two centre-backs need to be as solid as a rock.

“They need to be dominant and these three aren’t dominant. The goalkeeper’s not dominant at the moment, even though I thought he did OK on Sunday, and the two centre-backs are not dominant. They concede too many goals and if you concede one or more goals per game, you’re not going to win a Premier League. Manchester United have to look at that.”

Maguire and Lindelof have both looked shaky multiple times this season and these two do not look commanding at all. Man United have managed to keep only six clean sheets in the Premier League this season when Victor Lindelof has started in central defence alongside Harry Maguire.

Eric Bailly has done reasonably whenever he’s started in defence but the Ivorian defender just cannot keep himself fit over long periods of time.

There’s no denying that Solskjaer needs to bring in a top-class defender in the summer if his side are to get anywhere near the Premier League title and maybe that is why Man United are trying so hard to sign Sergio Ramos.

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