This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
After a resounding 4-0 win over Chelsea in the opening Premier League game of the season, much of the talk understandably has revolved around Manchester United’s new signings and forwards. But one man who quietly went about his job with consummate ease and has earned little of the limelight, is Victor Lindelof.
The Sweden international was just as imperious as summer signing Harry Maguire in the centre of United’s defence, and radiated a sense of calm and poise. The 25-year-old looked defensively strong against Chelsea’s mobile front-line, and was assured on the ball whenever the Blues looked to press.
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The Red Devils conceded 54 goals in the Premier League last season, but on Sunday, looked like anything but their usual creaky selves. Maguire’s display was certainly impressive, and it helped bring the best out of Lindelof too.
Indeed, speaking on Sky Sports, former United boss Jose Mourinho said: “You can be very dangerous in attack but if you feel that a mistake is around the corner it takes your confidence away and you don’t play as well.
“When you feel there is something that allows you to play you are much more confident. As I always said Lindelof can be a very good player. With Maguire it can be a very good partnership.”
Despite splashing out a world-record £80m for Maguire, United still boast an abundance of centre-back options. Since arriving from Benfica, Lindelof hasn’t exactly set the world alight at Old Trafford and it has been no surprise to see him struggle to nail down a spot in the first-team. But his display against Chelsea showed he could be the perfect compliment to United’s new signing. He was quick, strong in the tackle and calm on the ball. Everything that United arguably lacked last season.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side need stability at the back, and giving Lindelof an extended run in the team to see if he can partner Maguire in the long-term seems like a no-brainer. At 6 foot 2, the Swede has all the attributes to create a formidable partnership with United’s £80m man.