Manchester United’s centre back pairing of Chris Smalling and Daley Blind has been instrumental to keeping 3 clean sheets in 3 Premier League games. So far, the 0 goals conceded has been the best aspect of United’s game, given the obvious attacking issues.
The Englishman and the Dutchman work very well together but not like a traditional centre back pairing of two big markers, ready to block and scatter any incoming ball.
In the United defensive duo, Smalling takes on the traditional centre half role: marking up the lead striker; putting in big tackles; winning aerial balls and; removing the ball from the area.
Blind almost plays the role of a sweeper, anything that Smalling can’t get to, Blind covers, he’ll also cover for either fall back when needed. The versatile Dutchman reads the game so well, and will positively distribute any stray balls from within the box.
In essence, Blind does covers the box whilst Smalling is the enforcer, there to bully strikers away from goal scoring opportunities.
Smalling has told reporters that he loves his current role as the bully. With Blind not being as strong or physical, he welcomes his tussles with the opposition’s strikers. The Englishman said:
“I feel like I bullied quite a few players in matches in the past but hopefully I can get the consistency where it can be on show every week now.”
Chris continued by saying that he’s enjoyed playing alongside Daley Blind, and hopes that his role leads to a more consistent role in the starting line up:
“I feel like I am playing well and I am enjoying my football. I feel comfortable playing with Daley. It is good to keep playing each game knowing that there are not too many changes at the moment because we are doing well.”
Smalling has started every game alongside Blind this season and have been two of the teams top performers.