Why Manchester United Desperately Need A New Man At Right-Back

Louis Van Gaal

With Manchester United strengthening considerably in the summer and a lot of defensive reinforcements complimenting the buy of the attacking players, there was a feeling that the Red Devils have done it’s business and done it well. However apart from the apparently glaring fact that Manchester United has not really bought anyone to replace either of Rio Ferdinand or Nemanja Vidic (Marcos Rojo is not exactly what you call a like for like replacement), there is also the fact that the Manchester club looks extremely vulnerable on the right hand side of the defence.

While there has been an understandable hue and cry for not replacing Vidic and Ferdinand properly, in contrast not much has been uttered about the fact that Manchester United looks unexpectedly bare when it comes to the right back position. When you consider that there are 3 options in the left back position who can slot in there effortlessly (Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo and also Daley Blind) the start in contrast with the right back position becomes even more revealing.

While Rafael is a fine promising player, he is not a world beater by any stretch of the imagination and the players at the right back position starts and ends with him. In the case of an injury to Rafael (which is not only possible but extremely likely given Rafael’s history) it will be the winger Antonio Valencia who will have to fill in for him. Although Valencia has done the job in the past, atleast at that time he was covered by two of the best defenders in the Premier League (Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand). However given the situation of extreme flush in the Manchester United defence, no United fan would even want to contemplate the defence becoming even more makeshift by Antonio Valencia filling in at right back.

Now let us consider the fact that last season the current (and only) right back Rafael only played 19 matches. If we want to go back to the 2012-13 season, the situation is marginally better as the Brazilian played 28 matches. When you consider that the current right back at Manchester United has only about played 50% of the matches last season, and you can understand how much the Manchester United hierarchy has left this issue to chance. It is grossly negligent that there is no cover for the Brazilian, especially when everyone knows how much he is prone to missing matches with injuries.


Also apart from the injury history that Rafael carries, he is not exactly the man you would hope for to be the right back at a big club like Manchester United. Let us consider this piece of statistic for instance: He has won just 52% of all duels against opposing players last season out of which he was successful in stopping take ons by the opposition players only 46% of the time. For a wing back whose primary job is to stop the wingers going past him, that is indeed a pretty bad piece of statistic.

All in all Manchester United needs an upgrade on Rafael ASAP and failing that atleast cover for the Brazilian because if history has shown us anything, Manchester United will need it.

Stats via squawka

Written by Dinesh V

Co-founder of Soccersouls. Living a start-up life 24/7
Follow @dineshintwit

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