Question marks were initially raised over Blind’s inclusion in van Gaal’s defensive line-up, with many believing that the Dutchman’s lack of physical prowess and experience in the role would preclude his chances of being a long term option in that position alongside Smalling.
But in the midst of Marco’s Rojo’s fitness and Phil Jones‘ injury, Smalling and Blind have started all of Man United’s games so far this season, forming an increasingly ominous defensive core.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Carrager praised United’s newfound firmness at centre-back.
“They’ve looked a very good partnership, even though there were question marks over Blind playing there. They’ve looked strong and secure.”
United’s superb defensive record somewhat belies the widespread concern voiced during the summer. Many insisted that van Gaal’s failure to sign a centre-back could preclude United’s title chances; but as of yet, this hasn’t proven to be accurate.
After five games, United’s defence has only shipped one solitary goal, which is something unseen at Old Trafford since 2005.
Morgan Schneiderlin‘s effervescent cover in defensive midfield, alongside the consistent assuredness of fullbacks Matteo Darmian and Luke Shaw, has augmented United’s defensive stability, subsequently helping Smalling and Blind flourish as a pair.