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Ranking the best Man Utd centre-backs this season

Manchester United are having an underwhelming season in the Premier League.

They face the daunting task of achieving a top-four finish to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

The Red Devils are in sixth position, 11 points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa.

Their only hope of silverware is the FA Cup. They face Liverpool in the quarter-finals, who would love to ensure that Man United have a trophyless campaign.

United have been unlucky with injuries this season, especially in defence.

Almost every defender in the squad has had a spell on the sidelines due to injuries this term, which has impacted United’s results.

With that in mind, we rank United’s centre-backs based on their performances this season.

#5 Victor Lindelof

The Sweden international has been a fine squad player for United over the years. He is an able deputy and produces solid performances when given a chance.

Unfortunately, Erik ten Hag has recently used Lindelof as a left-back due to injuries to Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia.

The 29-year-old has looked extremely uncomfortable and barely offers any support in the final third.

In fairness, it would be harsh to expect Lindelof to perform well as a full-back. 

Injuries have played their part, as have poor decisions from Man United, including cutting short Sergio Reguilon’s loan deal. 

#4 Lisandro Martinez

Martinez is undoubtedly United’s best defender. However, injuries have curtailed his game-time this season.

The Argentine has featured ten times for the club. He had a spell on the sidelines from September to ­mid-­January due to a foot injury.  

He made his much-awaited comeback against Tottenham Hotspur. Martinez’s inclusion improved Man United’s ability to play out from the back.

His return was short-lived, as he sustained collateral ligament damage in his right knee in his fourth game back. He is expected to be out until April.

#3 Jonny Evans

Evans is the surprise of the season!

The decision to hand the 36-year-old a one-year deal at the beginning of the campaign raised many eyebrows. However, getting Evans on board has proved to be a shrewd call. 

He has played 23 games already for the Red Devils, which is a far greater number than anyone would have predicted when he was signed.

The veteran has been fine with his ball distribution and has often been like a commander to other defenders.

#2 Harry Maguire

It has been a season of turnaround for Harry Maguire.

He was on the verge of leaving Old Trafford last summer but opted to stay and prove his worth.

Maguire has shown great ability on the ball and has been resilient in defence.

He still makes odd errors in games that prove costly, but his performances have notably improved. 

His fine displays saw him being named the Premier League’s Player of the Month for November 2023.

Ten Hag also backed Maguire to start ahead of Raphael Varane for the right centre-back role and he vindicated his selection.

#1 Raphael Varane

It was a tough call between Maguire and Varane, but the Frenchman is number one on the list.

Injuries to Martinez have affected Varane as they formed a robust partnership last season.

With Maguire’s resurgence, Ten Hag has primarily used Varane as the left centre-back.

The Athletic revealed in February that Varane is the most two-footed passer in the Premier League this season.

The former Real Madrid star produced a defensive masterclass against Manchester City.

He was proactive with his tackles and interceptions and kept Erling Braut Haaland in his pocket.

Varane’s current deal with Man United expires in June, but the club must keep him for at least one more season.