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The centre-back partnership of Maguire and Evans shows Manchester United are a mess

Manchester United have endured a difficult start to the 2023/24 campaign, accumulating six points from a possible 12.

They fought well against Arsenal but eventually came up short due to two late goals from the Gunners.

Erik ten Hag has repeatedly stressed that he needs a sizeable squad to win titles. He wants every position to have two good players to avoid a crisis.

Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez are United’s first-choice centre-back pair.

They have developed a robust partnership at the back and were instrumental to Man United’s success in the previous campaign.

Varane was ruled out for the game at the Emirates Stadium due to an injury and could be out for a few weeks.

Victor Lindelof took his place and paired up with Martinez. In the space of 17 minutes, both players were forced to come off injured. 

Their replacements? Harry Maguire and Jonny Evans.

Man United’s centre-back depth is a mirage

Maguire lost his starting spot last season and was stripped of the club captaincy a few weeks back, while United handed a one-year contract to Evans this summer.

United were ready to cut their losses on Maguire by offloading him. They even accepted a proposal from West Ham, but the player turned down the move.

Evans played for Leicester City last season, one of the three clubs relegated from the English top flight.

The Red Devils sold him to West Bromwich Albion eight years ago because he was not good enough to be a regular starter.

He will add experience and could be an asset in the dressing room. However, he is a liability on the pitch. 

No other top club came in search of his signature. Even Saudi Pro League clubs did not show any interest in signing him.

Unfortunately, Man United are stuck with two defenders who are unwanted.

Varane’s injury record is poor, and he is bound to miss a significant chunk of games.

Man United failed to acknowledge that this summer. They should have brought in a defender who could replace the Frenchman when required.

Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea all have great depth in defence.

The Red Devils claim they have five centre-backs who are regular internationals. However, two of them do not add value to the team and curtail the style of play.

Maguire and Evans walking off against Arsenal in 2023 was a sight no one would have imagined. Only Man United could have done it. It’s not good enough.

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