Not only the City motto but probably Eddie Howe’s as well. He probably loved us grinding out the Everton win more than the Brentford one.
In 10 months, Howe and his staff have turned United’s defence from a laughing stock to the best. Read that again, our defence is the best in the Premier League.
Whisper it, but the unthinkable is happening before our eyes. The Achilles heel of the club since time began is now not only very, very good but our best asset. Who would have thought it?
I know I get that the whole team plays its part in clean sheets but when the team scores, the defence don’t get credited do they? So it’s time to let the defensive lads have their day in the sun.
United only conceded 33 goals in 34 games when they won the Championship in 1904-05 and after eleven games in 2022 this seasons squad have conceded exactly the same after 11 games in that season which remains a club record. It’s an unbelievable stat for a club which has a deep rooted association with not only poor defensive players but poor defensive displays.
The Everton game was a master-class at how to defend a lead. United were not great in that second half but I trusted that defence to win the game. Everton were blunt in attack and Pickford did persist in kicking the ball down the throat of a defender who statistically never loses a header, but at no point did the Toon look like conceding.
Pope. Burn. Botman. Schar. Trippier. There’s a t -shirt right there. Like Lennon. McCartney. Harrison. Starr. What a line up.
Last season Newcastle pulled themselves clear with defensive performances in games where we had limited possession, we got results with organisation, making the pitch seem very narrow for a frustrated opponent (Villa at home) and by throwing themselves in tackles and sheer single mindedness (Leeds away).
Howe had laid the foundations at the end of the season. Krafth and Schar were unrecognisable from the dark days of Bruce. Targett had given United the coolness and steadiness we have always needed.
Trippier cruelly didn’t play much, but when he did, the contrast was stark. We always had the players capable of scoring lets sort it out at the back. Only Tottenham and Man City blew us away and in the last half of the season. Those two scored a combined 80 goals in the last 15 games. With those foundations add a bit of quality and you reap what you sow
How many times have we said though? Boumsong was supposed to be the final piece of the jigsaw, Marcelino, even Darren Peacock who is very unlucky to be mentioned in the same sentence as the other two, but you get what I’m saying.
Botman was worth waiting for. Simply he’s a class act. He wins everything. He is massive; he’s a dream defender from any generation. He would have been equally at home when defenders were defenders and he’s only 22. You can see why Paolo Maldini fancied him, he was arguably the greatest and knows a thing or two about defenders. Even at £35m he already looks a snip.
Trippier is the best full back I’ve ever seen play in black and white. In his 17 games, he’s been captain, coach, manager, babysitter and judge and jury all in one. His shithouse levels are high as well.
Magnificent. Think him taking out De Bruyne or having a word with Gordon after his dive. When did we ever have a player like that?
At £12m, you would think that’s the bargain of the year but no that’s our goalkeeper. God knows how much United actually put down for Pope, but we ‘Klarna’ him to the point of no return.
I was a big fan of Dubravka and I didn’t realise we needed another keeper. Not for the first time I was wrong. He’s been the upgrade we needed and the back four clearly trust him. A massive thing.
Pope and Botman clearly have brought the best out of Schar as well. He was always talented but at crucial times in games I would go as far to say he was a liability. Those days are long gone.
His rehabilitation to becoming not only a top class defender who defends (hard for Schar) but someone who goes forward with the ball and bypasses lines with his passing. We have no one like him and like at least a dozen other players he’s went from the scrapheap to being wholly irreplaceable.
Burn was irreplaceable last year. A cult figure for his boyhood club and a figurehead for United’s blood sweat and tears infused survival.
Some people thought that might be about the extent of it and even now we all say he will get caught out at some point, he hasn’t. He’s not a full back and he doesn’t pretend to be, but the plain fact is that Howe has to find space in the team for Burn. He’s admitted as much and you can see why. Why not have two big bastards at the back instead of one and why compromise on Burn when you obviously prefer Schar in the middle. That’s Howe in a nutshell.
Even the backup players have come in and done a job, Lascelles has done nothing wrong when called upon and Targett has just become a victim of being injured at the wrong time.
This is all new to me. Not watching the last few minutes of a game through my fingers and expecting the worst.
I love the defence at the minute and though don’t rule out a capitulation at some point, this is a defence to be proud of and with no disrespect to Aitken, McCombie, Carr and McCracken in the class of 1905,
This lot could end up being the best ever. As far as shocks since the takeover goes, that one would be unrivalled.