Man Utd verdict: David de Gea has received plenty of criticism.. but Victor Lindelof is a bigger problem for Red Devils
DAVID DE GEA has been peppered with criticism this week.
Gary Neville said that "questions need to be asked" of Manchester United's No1.
But, while Dean Henderson's return from Sheffield United was always bound to prompt this discussion, the goalkeeper position is far from being the Red Devils' biggest issue at the back.
That unwanted distinction would have to go to Victor Lindelof, particularly on today's evidence against West Brom.
The Swede set the tone for his season in United's opening game, when at least partly to blame for all three of Crystal Palace's goals at Old Trafford in the shock 3-1 defeat back in September.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's fire power up front has seen his side challenge at the top of the league, with no team having scored more than the Red Devils' 50 top flight goals to date.
But poor defending has been the Achilles' heel as United have started to drift away in the title race, having conceded more goals than Leicester, Chelsea, West Ham, Everton, Aston Villa, Tottenham, Arsenal and even Burnley – and more than double leaders Manchester City.
Harry Maguire has by no means been an innocent party, as last weekend's last-gasp Everton equaliser showed, as well as his own mishap involving Mbaye Diagne in today's game.
But replacing Lindelof has to be the priority.
The 26-year-old has established himself as Maguire's regular partner at the heart of the United defence, but has time and time again shown his weakness in the air and tendency to be bullied by physical strikers.
And if that wasn't already on the mind of Solskjaer and Co, the first 90 seconds at The Hawthorns will have provided a timely reminder.
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When Conor Gallagher curled in an inviting delivery from the right flank in the vague direction of Lindelof and 6ft 4in January signing Diagne, there was only ever going to be one winner.
The bustling, bruising centre-forward wrestled past his marker, like a desperate boyfriend trying to grab his local corner shop's last bouquet of flowers this morning, to bullet a header past the helpless De Gea.
This moment set the tone for the entire match, as Lindelof tried desperately to compensate for his dreadful start.
Over and over again Diagne peeled onto the hapless defender, with decent success.
United lost out on rumoured target Dayot Upamecano to Bayern Munich this weekend, but there are still a number of other centre-backs on their radar for the summer.
And the window can't come soon enough for the hordes of furious United fans, as they see a rare post-Sir Alex Ferguson title challenge begin to peter out on account of their poor defence.
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